There was a time in my life where I listened to someone I shouldn’t have listened to. He made me feel like my deepest fears of being too much and not enough at the same time were not only truth, but something I would just have to accept as my flaws. The same heart within me that fell in love with this man was actually my Achilles’ heel. The same, big heart that has immeasurable depth to feel and sense what’s going on around me that most wouldn’t even notice with their eyes… was a flaw. Something I needed to change in order to grow and thrive in society and in our relationship. I needed to care less, expect less, feel less, hide my tenderness and the smiles and tears that came with it. I needed to take it like a man.
Such an immature, foolish opinion on a woman’s sensitivity is the mark of a boy who doesn’t understand true masculinity. Or that true masculinity is complemented best by the beauty and openness of a woman. And true love doesn’t seek to mold and change, but to fulfill and enrich. Naturally, every time we’d argue I’d be left crying and still deeply hurt by the words he cut me with and he’d roll over to sleep assuming I’d just get over it and see it his way. And there I’d lay, feeling once again that what I could and should bring to the relationship as a woman must be stupid, overwhelming, and irrational. I was failing as a wife and a woman.
As the years grew and my opinions about him changed, I did as well. I could see that the pulpit upon which he made his claims about me was only an illusion, just wooden pallets propped up and covered in velvet. How easily they fell when I realized who I was as a woman was not wrapped up in what he said about me. I began to recognize and use the feminine gifts that God gave me and I stopped being ashamed of what that meant. And with nothing left but a few fond memories and five years together, the dream ended and we both moved on. And I vowed to never let anyone tell me who I am, what I’m capable of, or what my life will be again.
To be a woman with sensitivity, emotion, tenderness is not to be flawed or weak. In fact it is power beyond measure, power that I believe is not of this world. Yes, this big beating heart of mine might over-analyze conversations and occasionally get hurt too easily. And yes, sometimes I have to put myself in check, take a deep breath, and make sure my feelings are valid before making a choice. But it also allows me to fall madly, deeply in love with the kind of passion and excitement that can only come from such openness. It allows me to cry over a touching story in a book or movie. To go after my life’s dreams and pursue them with pure resilience and drive. To be moved at the beauty of a sunset or marvel with the awe of a child at the complexity of the universe and the Creator of it. This is me. This is the life I will always live with tenderness, openness, vulnerability, and sensitivity.