I’ve thought a lot about thick-skin lately.  About having it.  About not having it.

Buffalo hide is very think, making for sturdy moccasin.  Some people who come to make their moccasin lament how difficult it can be to work with.  The tools aren’t adequate they allege.   Is it true the hide is too difficult to work with?  Is it true the tools aren’t sufficient for the job?  It can be quite humbling.  I know.  And many times I’ve been told I have strong hands.  I am able to cut, punch pilot holes and sew multiple layers of the thick hide.  Ultimately they do too.   It’s a matter of determination I think.

Life isn’t always easy, neither is medicine work.  Or the Red Road.   It requires something of me, of us – a determination, a will to step into the hard stuff, gutting it out.  Perseverance.

I’m not sure how many spiders live in my bathroom these days.  Long ago I made an agreement with them – they can have the top half of the room, I’ll take the bottom.  Lately it seems that more and more, we are meeting in the middle.  While they are taking liberties, I allow.  I am reminded of what Eleanor Roosevelt said, and I paraphrase, “…we teach people how to treat us….”.  I guess this goes for spiders too.  It takes thick-skin to be in relationship, to be in the world where it is seldom nice for long.  What am I allowing?  Where do I draw the line?  Pull back?  Retreat?  Internally my skin so thin it tears to shreds even though I wear the toughness of thick hide for the world to see.  How do I stand right in there, stake a claim and assert my will or idea of it?  Truly having thick-skin or at least the back of a duck for it (whatever) to roll off.

What does self-love need today (besides oatmeal with molasses)?What sweetness and salve do I apply to soothe the tears, to bring about the thickening of the scar tissue to become impervious to the harshness of life?  Life still goes on, clashes occur, children are starving, the land raped.  The delta between understanding and being understood can be so wide, too wide to cross.  800lb. gorilla are often in the room or swept under the carpet.  The scars of life and comforting balm of self-love makes me tougher while age will thin my skin.  Interesting how this happens if I allow for it.

It’s a practice and it’s process.  So too is crafting moccasin.  Step by step, stitch by stitch – no matter how thick the hide.  It gets easier.

A’ho Mitakuye Oyasin  ~  All My Relations

August 29 & 30 will be the next moccasin crafting workshop at Soul Proprietor.  Join in, test out the thickness of your skin.  And of course I am happy to sew for you.   A full listing of Summer 2015 workshop offerings can be found here.

One thought on “Thick-skinned”

  1. Great post Barbara, to me thick-skin is an attitude, good new is we can be soft and supple, AND thick-skinned, as its just a choice we can apply to any situation or challenge!

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