Toughen Up

That's right. I'm tough. Like Hilary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby.

Once when I was a little girl I scraped my knee and started crying.

"Turn off the waterworks," my mother said. "Toughen up."

As a tween I went to a new summer camp one year and got bullied.

"I want to come home," I sobbed into the phone. "I HATE these people. They're horrible."

"Forget it," said my mom. "You're not sitting in your room all summer. Handle it."

I had a boss once who was particularly cruel. "I'm going for that promotion," I told a coworker, referring to a job opening we both knew about and were qualified for. "I deserve it after all of this."

"Oh yeah?" the coworker responded. "I've been here for thirty years putting up with that crap. Get in line."

All of us fall, all the time, every day. And we figuratively punched in the face too. By people who sense weakness and respond to it with blows.

It stinks but at some point all of us are ignorant, or innocent. And somebody else makes us pay. "Open your eyes or open your wallet."

What can we do to protect ourselves? Or to recover after the fact?

I saw a friend the other day. She said, "How's it going?"

"Fine," I said. "Why?"

"Because last time I saw you, you had me worried."

"Oh," I said. "Which crisis was that?"

And then I explained why I seemed so serene.

"This thing that was worrying me," I explained, "I had nightmare after nightmare about it. Literally."

"And then what?" She leaned in close.

"And then I woke up one day and I just didn't care anymore."

It was true. I just reached the end of my worrying capacity. I was free.

"Wow. I've got to try that."

"Yeah, well I don't think you can bring on nightmares like homeopathy."

"Nah. Probably not."

And we sat back and reflected together.

"How come you never eat anything at lunch? It makes me uncomfortable."

"I'm worried I am gonna get fat."


Have a good weekend everybody. Stay cool.