When I was at The Influence Conference in the fall, I kept hearing the word tender. Like, all the time. Tender this, tender that, oh Lord, keep us tender.
I wasn’t quite sure about the word. It isn’t a buzz word here in Vancouver but it surely is one online. It’s a fancy word that is supposed to share a lot, yet I’m never quite sure exactly what it’s meant to say.
As I’ve looked to define it, I’ve found things that speak of softness and delicateness. I’ve read about it not being hard, but being soft. One definition mentioned it was being a young age. I couldn’t find any definitions that resonated with my soul. The definitions helped me get what others meant but I hadn't quite found my tenderness.
I read a quote by Zooey Deschenel and it made me stop.
"Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.”
The line in there, “Don’t let someone steal your tenderness”. Isn’t it beautiful?
I want that type of tenderness to define my type of tenderness.
I want to be open. I want to speak up. I want to feel. I want to experience things. I want to be inconsistent in the way I style myself. I want to be warm and bold and utterly affected by things. I want to cry and laugh and maybe even do both in a five minute span. I want to be bothered by things that aren’t right and moved by things that are. I want to hear the words that people speak and know what they mean, and when I’m unsure, I want to ask them to tell me more. I want to speak words worth hearing and learn to listen a lot more than I speak. This is my tenderness.