Thick Skin: Advice From A Tree

I stepped outside for a casual stroll at dusk, my favorite time of day. 
No headphones, cell phone or husband with me today. The air felt dry and warm intermixed with pockets of cool air as I passed by large trees and bushes.  I had been writing all day and my mind felt abundantly clear of absolutely everything. The world around me was in high definition. The sky a perfect pale blue. The love dove cooing somewhere in the distance. The trees surprised us this week with beautiful mini bouquets of white cherry blossoms covering every inch of their branches. I don’t actually know what the trees are called, but that is what I imagine them to be.  The tiny, white, round petals were scattered across the street today, like someone had accidentally emptied a three ring whole punch straight into the wind.

Sometimes it feels strange calling myself a ‘writer’. This title seems to come with great weight and expectations. Although, writing is what I spend most of my time doing and something I love deeply. Writing is a labor of love and with all work of this nature, comes vulnerability and the openness to criticism.

And with criticism, comes learning how to grow thick skin. Something I felt like a punch in the gut after one of my pieces was recently published. How do I handle criticism without it turning my insides out? How do I instill this thick-skinned confidence onto my future children? What if the critics are right? Do you think Burt’s Bees has a quick fix product?  This is one of those blog posts that has more questions than answers. Hopefully in a year you will be reading: 10 Ways to Grow Thick Skin by The New Me.

On the bright side, I have come to the content realization that I will never be one of those people who just ‘doesn’t give a fuck’. Quite honestly, I don’t know how to do that and I am ok with it. In fact, I am proud of it. I am sensitive, compassionate and want to be heard and understood. [Not to say the people I admire who don’t give a fuck lack those qualities.] I guess I am trying to find a way to care what people think while remaining confident and true to my art.

People always told me that their 30’s were the best years. “You lose that extra layer of caring about what people think,” they said. When I first saw those petals on the ground I saw a mess. As I close out the last year in my 20’s I think I actually want to be more like those white cherry blossom trees. Unafraid to shed my layers,  create a rhetorical mess and constantly live in a state of change and renewal.

Mother nature, you always know best.