Thursday, September 12, 2013

Including the Soft

Maybe it's something about being this close to forty that gives me permission to be myself.

I don't know but I like it.

By now we know who or what deserves the precious time we have to give or take. 

If only we could own our worth from the beginning.  Maybe we do and it gets lost for just a few of us.  Maybe we do and it gets covered up so we can survive those awful teenage years of fitting in or trying like hell to hide that you don't. 

Then comes those refreshing early twenties of breaking free.  Finding your way and introducing yourself to the things your heart pushes for without your intellect's permission. 

Running early mornings (so the hot girls & boys weren't out yet and you had the sun to yourself and all the Engineering students)
Gay boyfriends (one who said he was "finally ok" he was gay while we were snuggling)
Libraries and almost never bars
Avoiding crowded places
Eating pizza where jazz played and red wine sang

Now, the last year of my thirties brings a peace and comfort that I've known all along but have denied for no real good damn reason.  Watering down.  Covering up.  Blending in with the crowd.  Being invisible to watch all the parts that make the whole.

Now, as we snuggle, I can tell you I'm "finally ok" with who I am. 
  • quiet
  • curious
  • moody
  • private
  • playful
  • impatient
  • sensitive
  • tired
  • loving
and the one I tried to hide the most:
  • soft
Somewhere along the years I became ashamed of the attribute of being soft.  To me it meant less than, weak, fragile, incapable, and broken.  No way was I going to be soft.  F that.  I kickboxed, cursed, ate, drank, SCUBA dove, marathoned away from the notion of ever being soft. 

When we were dating, Andy made a passing remark about a dealbreaker.   A relationship dealbreaker for him was if I was one of those "sensitive types."  I lol'ed it off and hit him with a few jittery retorts about how I ate those sensitive types for breakfast. 

When what I wanted (and should've) typed back was:  Deal broken.  I am THE sensitive type.  Your sweatshirts are in the mail.

(You might be amused that this entire conversation took place through old school AOL Instant Messaging.  All of our dating life was by computer.  Surprise!  We never lived in the same state until after marriage.  No two people were more shocked to introduce themselves to one another AFTER the marriage than Andy and me.  We are still introducing ourselves to one another.  We are still shocked.)

We are also really drunk here.  But my eyelids already told you that much.

In denying that soft trait, I was trying to outrun the best part of myself.   The part that says, "Nope.  She calls herself friend but is hurting and chipping away at your spirit with putdowns and "jokes" about your weaknesses.  Friends don't do that.  Move on to the next.  Yes, that one.  She looks you in the eye without a thought of moving her mouth.  She invites you in with an energy of acceptance and playful banter.  She is here for the party too.  But not the mosh pit.  Just a small gathering of friends for coffee who all go home before 10pm.

The soft in me sees the hard in others.  It recognizes the pain they are in and volunteers to listen but not rescue.  Soft cannot rescue hard, it can only guide with patient words and loving presence.  I've learned the soft in me attracts the soft in others too and this is my favorite newest revelation.  It feels like a super power sometimes.  It comes out in kindness as they recognize a like offering of humanity and goodwill.  Softness is like light that way.

Dogs respond to it.

Children will call you out every time without it.  At least mine will.

Soft isn't supposed to hide.  It is to be revealed and revered and honored as it has been through the ages.

It took me awhile to see the benefit of accepting softness as a strength and giving it any power in decision making/life's work/spiritual guidance.  Softness whispers, cushions, forgives, accepts, helps, loves, nurtures, encourages, heals, strengthens, holds.  How could this be a mistake?  These things are not bad.  These things are not to be covered up or shamed.  Without them, I'm just a girl in my twenties trying to hide myself away from the world.

Now, I'm a grateful woman in my late thirties learning how to be useful out there in this world. 

This time, including the soft.



ries said...

Beautiful writing! Beautiful attitude!

OSMA said...

Thank you so much, ries! As you might remember, it's not always my attitude but lately it's been easier to accept those things I cannot change and roll on w/my soft self. :)

Andrea Mowery said...

This is so beautiful! We are a lot alike. I have felt bad when I am unable to rescue others of their hard parts even though I know I am too sensitive to be strong for two people. I have never found anyone who has said that's okay quite like you have here. This has helped me so much! Thank you!

OSMA said...

Andrea, I love learning how we are similar. When I first found your blog, I thought, "Do I know this girl in real life?" You seemed so familiar and even still, I wish I did know you IRL.

The squishier side of women seems to be much frowned upon these days, like we hold masculine energy in higher regard. For me, there is nothing stronger than a heart deep enough to even love itself. Or try really damn hard to every day.