After watching “Ask Dr. Ruth,” a documentary about German-American sex therapist, media personality and author Dr. Ruth Westheimer, I wondered if she had friends, the type of friends who listen and question and are slow, very slow with solutions. A childhood longing for her parents who disappeared and ultimately were murdered in the Holocaust might have made her too thick-skinned for those kind of friends.
I am not thick-skinned. “Toughen up.” “Just forget about it.” “Stop thinking about it.” When people said those kinds of things to me, it felt like a slap, like they thought less of me for being sensitive, for being thin-skinned. Those people did not become my good friends.
Still I felt a squeak of shame as I watched Dr. Ruth navigate the harsh media world with her ever-present smile. Until I thought about thick-skinned animals and their clod hopper ways. Elephant skin is one-inch thick in certain parts. Hippo skin is two-inches thick. That’s a lot of armor to carry when compared with human skin which is no more than .16 inches thick.
So I’m ready to I own my permeability as well as my fluidity of movement. And when my skin stiffens from the friction of moving forward, I will just shed it. Like a snake.