Finding Your Skin
Atticus Finch once said "You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around for a bit." Some days the idea of climbing out of your own skin doesn't sound so bad.
We all have had a moment when we didn't feel comfortable in our own skin. There can be even be days we feel trapped by it.
When I was little my aunt used to read me Rudyard Kipling's "Just So Stories." If you've never read them they are stories that explain various aspects of our world such as "How the Camel got His Hump" and "How the Leopard got its Spots". One of them is "How the Rhinoceros got its Skin." It is all about how a rhinoceros takes a man's cake and is mean so the man fills his skin with crumbs that make it so he is always uncomfortable from then on. It made me wonder if finding your own skin always has to be such an uncomfortable experience?
It took my son to make me realize finding you own skin can be simple and amazing.
For months our little boy has said that when he gets surgery he'll be a superhero but that all changed the day before his surgery. As we drove home from our post op appointment his little voice asked a simple question, "Mom when I have my surgery tomorrow can I just still be Thomas?" A bit surprised my husband inquired as to what made him ask that or think that. He then began to list to us all the reasons that he loves being himself and why he'd never want to be anyone else (I know parenting win big time). What blew me away was how this three year old had found his skin.
Without us realizing it he had discovered things about himself that he loved, that make him feel secure, and that made him even better than Iron Man or Captain America.
It took me back, in amazement and also a little frustration, how can kids make the impossible so possible. Isn't this always the case? Something existential that we over think and over worry becomes so simple and concrete with a child. We often get lost in the frustration of the day to day such as why won't they chose clothes that match, figure out how to put on their shoe, or just let us help them put it on and lose sight of the wonder. Nothing is impossible to a child. They have a lens that we either lose completely or have destroyed by the time we reach adulthood. It is through this lens that we can see the beauty in every person, the unending knowledge of our elders (we do know the answers to every why question after all), and the potential of ourselves. We are all better than Iron Man or Captain America or anyone else just by loving and living in our own skin.