“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.” – Kurt Vonnegut
This is one of my favorite quotes. I have it written on my bathroom door where I see it every day.
In the film The East there is this one exchange between two characters that guts me every time. The girls says “And you think I’m not tough enough for the truth.” and the guy responds “No, I think you’re not soft enough for it.” (In fact, the film centers around this totally tough, bad ass spy becoming softened and affected by her surroundings. It’s perfect. I love it. Go watch it immediately.)
Our culture is so into being tough. But I think there is a real need for humans to regain a level of softness. Being able to know pain and hurt, to really sit with it, to feel the entire spectrum of existence and to keep accepting it, regardless. All the while continuing to exude love and grace and understanding. I think that’s exquisite. I think that is something our world doesn’t understand in the race to be strong and unfazed. Our current perception of strength, it seems, is a matter of being unaffected by difficult experiences. We carefully construct tough exteriors so we can remain solidly ourselves in the midst of adversity. I wonder if that is ultimately beneficial. I’ve never found rigidity to be valuable to my life. Stagnancy holds no satisfaction for me. I’ve been ceaselessly, irrevocably shaped by this world. I believe we should be affected. By it all. Everything. I think we were designed to feel deeply and to be changed by our experiences. The good ones and the bad. This life is not a one sided deal. We live in a multifaceted world and we ought to be complex beings.
“Without a protective mask, one will always remain extremely vulnerable to the outside world. I do not own a mask. The cruel yet wonderful world reaches straight for my heart.”