Thank You for A Heart of Armor and Tinsel
I was a gangly, awkward kid with screaming red hair. I was too tall, had skinny legs, big feet, and no command over my growing body.
I could find a way to trip over a piece of lint.
Yep, if there was a clumsy kid that was meritable of being ridiculed, shunned, or targeted by peers as the outlet for derision only known to children, ‘twas I.
Redheads have to be tough kids.
All redheaded boys should be named Sue so they can practice beating up their dads when they get older.
Redheaded girls learn to read fast and run fast— early.
They have to outwit jokes about woodpeckers, copperheads, and rusty brains or they have to fight or run fast (hiding is not an option with bright red hair).
So, I got smart and I got tough, yep. (insert Johnny Cash soundtrack)
Other children are the best teachers when it comes to developing social armor while growing into one’s feet.
My social armor was a great facade. I was aloof to peer jeers. I was self righteous in my defensively inflated intellectual capacity—did I mention kids also hate it if you act smarter than them.
I tripped and fell and gangled my way through childhood, pretending I was normal and other kids were just immature.
I learned to analyze, justify, and tolerate the ignorant behavior of others.
I thought I was doin’ pretty well with my armor development, immune to verbal cannibalism, until I had to confront a formidable act of kindness.
Some silly kid actually said “I’m sorry” .
I was completely befuddled and burst into tears.
Kindness can turn armor into tinsel. And all the bravado in the world crumbles into tiny shards of real feelings.
You know how, when you’re having a real hard time holding it all together, and your being brave and biting the bullet and pretending something doesn’t hurt?
You know how, when everything happens all at once, and you don’t know if you can cope but you do?
You know how you can keep going if you clench your little fist and wave it at God and say “You are not going to break me!” ?
Well, that’s all well and good until some unwitting kind person makes the erroneous gesture of asking “Hey, are you okay? Can I do something to help?”
The flood of not feeling on your own any more just drowns your toughness and suddenly you realize your armor was made of tinsel and you are allowed to cry.
Thank you for tears that can wash the rust off armor and reveal the tinsel underneath.
Tinsel is so much shinier than armor.
And tinsel weighs a lot less than armor on a person’s shoulders.
Also, if you’re clumsy and you fall down, tinsel won’t crush you.
~ by leakelley on December 8, 2012.
Posted in affection, Allowed to cry, Art and Other Lea Kelley Blogs, attitudes, balance, behavior, Being tough, Biting the bullet, Children, coping, culture, emotions, fear, feelings, Friends, Funny, Healing, ignorance, inspiration, kindness, learning, Life, loneliness, metaphor, people, Red Hair, Redheads, Reflections, self development, society
Tags: feelings, kindness