Skin

I haven’t flown anywhere for quite a while. It’s been even longer since I’ve taken a flight with a movie. I heard a comedian interview in which, as comedians do, they were talking about airline travel. One of them said the in-flight movies always made him cry.

 The other guy said “Me, too!”

 Oh my god!

 Me Three!

 The most banal movies will leave me with dripping cheeks. What is it about stories while I’m traveling?

 Something about being carried by a machine going somewhere I had already decided to go, knowing that I have no decisions to make–it lets me be totally open. I can let the feels happen.

 Even in ordinary life I think I am a rather sensitive person. I think I’ve got my feet on the ground and I can handle what life throws at me. Then my friend surprised me by calling me high-strung.

 Sometimes I am. Maybe more than I realized.

Recently I have been pegging the needle on the sensitivity meter. Some stuff was going on and I was really struggling.

 Someone said to me, “You need to get a thicker skin.”

 I was embarrassed that this person thought something was wrong with me, and grateful for her advice. At that moment I would have given anything to not feel so stressed out.

 Somehow, I needed to let the stuff that was getting to me not get to me.

 I appreciate my sensitivity. I feel things deeply. The rocks thrown in my pool go down a long way before they hit bottom.

 I am not shallow.

 And yet this depth wasn’t working for me. The stuff thrown at me hurt all the way down. How could I get out of my misery?

 Of course, my first step is to ask the Internet. “How do I grow thicker skin?”

 My first click was to this helpful article: “a thin-skinned person may reject any suggestions or sensible interpretations that are inconsistent with his self-defeating and inaccurate view of the situation.”

 I don’t want to be that. I like myself best when I can laugh and see many sides to the story. My stress and fear was zooming in on the worst possible interpretation and clinging to it.

 There are other ways to see it. One possibility is also just to stop thinking about the scary thing at all and find something else that is pleasant to ponder.

 I started to change the story and get my feet underneath me. And I also tried to give myself a break. After all, who wins if I defeat myself?