Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Being Tough

I have no idea why I was ever labeled as tough, but somehow, sometime, I was. Was it because I was out-spoken? Quiet?  Sullen? Grumpy? Cheerful? I have no clue. (I've been all those things.) Maybe you're one of the tough ones too. In a social situation where there's a choice between who will get hurt, and who won't, do you usually get chosen for the hurt feelings? Does it make you feel this big?

Yeah. You know if you're one of us. And I'm not trying to whine. Being tough rarely jumps up and bites me these days. In 7th grade? You betcha. During those dating years long ago, a boy who I know liked me a lot decided to take someone else to a big event. Why? It always seemed that I was a safe person to hurt. Even my own dear mother, a few years ago, was seriously shocked to discover that I was intimidated by some people. Who did she think I was? Superwoman? Even God -- when He was handing out troubles, He apparently thought I was good for a heavy load of them. Sigh. He does have the right, I know, but other people?

That's one of the many things that I adore about Adam; he has never made this horribly invalid assumption. He knows that just because I'm vocal and assertive and seem rather thick-skinned, that's absolutely no reason to assume that I don't have feelings like everyone else. He is oh-so lovingly sensitive to my feelings, and like I said, I adore him for it.

It happened again recently, and it rather took me off my guard. For some bizarre reason, someone assumed that it was safer to hurt my feelings than hurt someone else's. I don't think this kind of thing is mean-spirited or intentional. It's just a rather odd -- and I realized today, fascinating -- part of social life. Some of you probably haven't a clue what I'm talking about. Some of you do, from experience. I think we should all ask ourselves: do we label some others as "tough," and therefore safer to offend?  Don't believe it. Being quiet and sweet doesn't mean someone has more tender feelings, and being loud and vocal in no way means someone has emotions like a crocodile hide. Just food for thought.


  1. MK. I am really shocked at this. Are you ok? Now onviously I only know you throguh your blog etc but it seems to me that this voice I hear is that of a woman of God, whatever that may sound like to human ears.

  2. Losing count of how many spelling mistakes I've made in your comment boxes tonight alone...

  3. Oh, Mags, I'm fine. How can I not be fine with you as a friend? You keep me smiling. No, this post isn't really about anything happening NOW, so much as thoughts about how people relate to each other, and the assumptions they make. And ... I need your spelling mistakes b/c I don't get to hear your lovely accent, which I know I would enjoy.

  4. Hmmmm. Hurt feelings will never do.
    So sorry that you were offended. Adam's a champ!

  5. Hi, girls -- if you read this, I did alter the last paragraph a little. Adam said I may have unduly alarmed my readers. I was not primarily noting any recent event in my life, but more ruminating on a social evil that I was only subliminally aware of, and suddenly it leaped into my brain as a reality, and worth analyzing. I hope that makes sense.

  6. It all makes sense and, unfortunately, I've been both on the receiving end and the giving end. Although, on the giving end was by error, exhaustion and not paying attention.
    When Dave died, a long time (40+ years) "friend" contacted me to say, "I'm not a liberal and have moved on from being your friend..."
    Oh Really? Like it was any big surprise she's become intolerant of others who do not hold her views and therefore stupid as well.
    For me, I don't mind so much; she was, pretty much, dead weight over the years and a taker, not a giver. Not even a taker *and* a giver, simply a taker.
    For Dave, I hated it and could have smacked her into next Monday. He often wondered why she never sent so much as a card or e-mail. For that, she's a despicable human being.
    Harsh words? Not really because I'm thinking a lot worse.

  7. I know what you are talking about. This is often true of my entire family (husband, me, kids). We have to "take the hit" so to speak. People say whatever they like to us, while we just nod and go on our way without returning insult for insult. One good thing is you learn that your world (and your selfhood) doesn't crumble at the first sign of adversity. At least, I hope my kids learn that.


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