To all the world, I am the “tough girl,” although I’m soft on the inside and need to be loved, nurtured and held—I shield myself with iron-clad armor so nobody can get in.
I allowed someone in once. I gave him all of my trust and love.
But that love was shattered into a million little pieces, then stomped on some more, even after he was gone.
My heart may have been dead, but I’m still alive.
My pulse beats faintly, coming back to life at moments, when someone shows genuine kindness and affection toward me. When a friend reminds me that all is not lost and there is still so much more to look forward to.
This tough girl wants the armor to be broken, but is afraid of being exposed to the elements. Emotions are overwhelming—not safe. Feeling anything that resembles love or a “charge” is terrifying.
There have been one or two who have made my heart flutter, sent electricity down my spine and made me quiver with emotions that took my breath away.
But this tough girl can’t allow anyone to break that shell—to see her vulnerability. It’s not safe. Never was safe. Not sure it will be safe again.
When a tough girl falls down for the 10th time, she tells herself repeatedly, “This too shall pass. Chin up girl, you’ve been through worse.”
And although I pick myself up again and carry on, I am getting weary, bone tired. Tired of being strong. Tired of forcing myself to be optimistic, of searching for the one person who will “see” me, meet me, give me what my heart longs for.
This tough girl wants you be told that it’s okay to cry: “Let the tears come baby, it doesn’t make you any less strong to cry.”
Let me weep, the heart wailing weeping that releases all of the pain I stuff down inside, so as not to relive the agony of what I’ve gone through.
Hold me until I have no more tears, until I’ve exhausted myself and is left with nothing more than the beating of my own heart.
But don’t take advantage of my vulnerability and my moment of weakness.
Just be here. Be here and tell me you see me. Tell me you see my strength and power and light. Tell me that it’s okay if I’m not feeling strong right now. Even a tough girl can have a bad day.
Tell me it’s okay to want and to need. To need something so much it physically hurts. To want more than what is available here in the present moment.
Look into my eyes and tell me that you see me. You see my pain but you also see my hope.
Don’t turn away when I look at you, asking for you to give me hope that the world has better things in store for me.
Remind me there is strength in weakness. Tell me that there is beauty and releasing in letting go.
Show me how to receive love again, even if you can’t stay. Remember my heart is closed and the armor is thick, but if you come in genuine love and friendship, with no ulterior motives, you might have a chance of chinking it.
And breaking down the walls of the ever prevailing tough girl.
“The way to love someone is to lightly run your finger over that person’s soul until you find a crack, and then gently pour your love into that crack.” ~ Keith Miller
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: Darius Marshall/Unsplash