The other day I was walking my dogs by the river, and I guess it's really low right now, there was a huge expanse of sand exposed that is usually underwater, with lots of clams laying about on it - usually at the end of a trail-clam locomotion doesn't come up much in my life.
But, in walking out to explore, I accidentally stepped on one, and in just crunched under my foot. It had never occurred to me that their shells are so much softer and vulnerable when they're alive. That is, after all, when they need them. I felt really bad.
I also identified.
I often feel like everyone in the world is tougher than me, and I don't know how to get by in a place where the rules of the game are written for those with much better protection. Maybe like playing football with no gear, or even naked, when everyone else has it all, but I don't really know from football...
One of the things that upsets me so much about my ex's new person is that she seems terribly cold and harsh. And I saw glimpses of tenderness in my ex, sometimes really profound tenderness (vulnerability and compassion and maybe other things too) - so I worry about her. But also, I think, it was a problem in our relationship that she had a much better "shell" than me (or tougher) - she survives things unscathed pretty well, and often got fed up with my weepyness or need to be slow, tender, deliberate. This is probably a really good next step for her, and somehow that makes it all the harder.