I have thick skin. It is a blessing. I don’t know whether it is genetic or developed, nature or nurture. Likely it’s some of both. And my three older brothers deserve some thanks for their contributions to thickening it up too. Having thick skin means that I can write and publish without fearing the inevitable criticism. I can speak, converse, hold a point of view and not worry about the flak I will take for my opinions. It means I don’t take too much stuff personally so when slights or criticism come I don’t immediately turn on or draw away from the critic. Thick skin is a real benefit as a writer, an employee, and as a family man. And just as a human in a hurtful world.
It dawned on me recently, though, that skin which feels less and hurts less might not be thick; it might be dead. Thick skin protects us – our psyches, emotions, and souls – from injury. Dead skin protects against nothing and feels nothing. Wounds might happen with no signal and no warning. Or maybe the dead skin encases a dead soul with no feeling throughout.
Thick skin hasn’t lost its nerve endings. It feels. It just keeps the barbs from hitting vitals so healing happens more quickly. Wounds that would otherwise cause great harm are but scratches when they happen to thick skin. Dead skin feels nothing. . .