The very first time I considered this was a few years back, in a letter. A friend of mine wrote to me and told me, “You are hard [on the outside] and soft [on the inside].” However, over time, we realized that what she truly meant was that I had an equal distribution of both tenderness and ferocity. One did not overpower or yield to the other but rather, displayed equally and blatantly, proving that we did not consist of just one or the other.
For an unfathomable amount of time, this irked me. How does a human being live both softly and fiercely at the same time? How do we balance it? Why can’t we be one or the other? Through perception, first judgments and a sheer naïve mind, I imagined everyone as one or the other by the way that I perceived them. If someone was very kind and light-hearted, I stamped him or her as soft. If someone was bitter, loud, passionate or eccentric, I claimed fierce and completely voided the option that somewhere, they were both. What I failed to remember is that even those who are quiet and soft to the touch have shards of glass somewhere on their insides that make them angry. I failed to remember that those who are bitter and relentless sometimes come home from a long day and cry in the bathtub. Was every angry mother who ever snapped at their children in the grocery isle really just on edge because their heart was aching from sadness and exhaustion from raising her children alone? How often in our lives would we underestimate the quiet ones because we assumed they were not passionate, only to find that they held more grit than any determined lion we’ve ever met?
– Codi Ann Thomsen