Wikipedia defines armor as: “a protective covering that is used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual, or vehicle…” It goes on to talk about guns, war, and violence. But what about everyday armor? How do we protect ourselves from damage?
Every day, on my way out the door, I set the alarm to my house, put my seatbelt on in the car, drive safely, and look both ways before crossing the street to class. I respond to “how are you?” with the cultural expectation, “good” and smile as much as I can. But sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes you want to be able to let your guard down and tell everyone who asks that you are having a really tough time and it feels like everything is not going to be okay. Sometimes you just want people to know that behind the smiles and laughter you are in pain and just need a hug and some support.
I’ve found this to be especially hard in a new town, with new strangers who aren’t comfortable with seeing me outside that social expectation. This is new for me, because I have always had close bonds with people around me who I knew I could run to. That’s not the case in a new town, where you don’t know anyone. So until the day when I can put my amor down and be “real” with my new strangers, I will try and keep the smile and hide the lonely. But next time you notice someone who may look a little down, perhaps they’re just new to the office, or just moved to town, ask them really, sincerely how they are. You might be surprised what you hear, and it just might make a world of difference. Who knows. We need more sincerity in this social media world, filled with gaping distance and clothed in armor.