"Cry yourself a river, build yourself a bridge and get over it."
This was the sign by the front door of my house growing up. This was the expectation for us all. The only exception being that my mom really wanted to skip the part where I cried myself a river.
"Stop being so sensitive."
My peers would tell me after making a joke about my body, personality, or interests. Heated, I would tell them I'm not being sensitive, they were being rude. Which was met with oh you just can't take a joke.
"Shake it off."
My coaches would tell me when I got mad about a referee call or a players action. Let it go.
No matter where I was or what I was doing. I was rarely encouraged to be sensitive. It makes me look weak. I learned to shut it down. Hide it. Even from myself. I'm not sensitive, I'm so strong. Little did I know that I had the capacity to be both.
Through my adult life I have been on a journey of reconnecting with my sensitivity. Honoring my feelings. Shedding the shame that surrounds vulnerability.
I know my strength lies within my sensitivity. It makes me more caring. It makes me more authentic. It makes me comfortable with vulnerability. My sensitivity, is what makes me, me and I won't give it up for anyone.
Tenaya Raives (they/them) is a Black genderqueer, non-binary lesbian. For more of their content, follow them on Instagram (@totallytenaya).
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