Bulletproof

I saw some cops having lunch at the diner the other day. There were three of them, big guys crammed into a booth, working through sandwiches and fries.  They each wore a heavy leather utility belt with a flashlight, handcuffs, mace, a Taser, a notebook, a radio, a nightstick, a big handgun and God knows what else.  These cops sat very erect — under their uniforms, their torsos were girded in a thick bulletproof vest.

When their meal was done, one officer reached for the bill — but it slipped out of his grip and fluttered to the floor. He leaned over, grunting, to pick it up. Straining and cursing, he couldn’t bend in the middle to reach it. The gun, the vest, all the clobber had him strapped down and inflexible. Eventually, the waitress saw his predicament and darted down to lightly pick up the bill and replace it in front of him.

Life can force us to armor up. As we endure traumas, abuse, poor judgment, we layer on defenses to protect us from what has happened. As they say in the Pentagon, we are always preparing to fight the last war. But many of our shields are redundant, obsolete, and confining. As we bolster ourselves against more and more possible eventualities, we become like medieval knights struggling to get back on the horse under a load of steel plate.

Do you need it all? Look at your ramparts. Monitor your reactions. Check your gear and see if, maybe, you can lighten your load.

18 thoughts on “Bulletproof”

  1. Hey, how timely! I’m right in the process of doing that — again. It seems to be something I need to do about every 7-8 years.

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  2. I love my stuff. Especially my art making stuff. I just hope I live long enough to use it all. I don’t blame myself….I blame other artists who recommend all the stuff I’ve accumulated. And it keeps coming in droves! Stillman and Birn Alpha Series- got it, HandBook-got it, Lamy Ink Pen and Noodlers Bullet Proof Ink- got it, Platinum Pen and Carbon Black ink- Got it, Watercolor tubes and half-pans, brushes galore. I am surrounded by my stuff. Life is good, fun and I’m happy with my burden of stuff unlike the police officers who you mentioned above. Their lives depend on their stuff unlike my stuff which I doubt that I could live without, LOL.

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  3. It is a sad commentary that our policemen have to wear all that stuff. They are carrying a heavy load! Sometimes I wish I had the arm our to protect myself! How do we protect ourselves from a broken heart?? Thankfully I know that time spent drawing or painting provides some relief!

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  4. You have to be willing to be vulnerable to lighten up. For some, it is “easier” to keep adding than shedding.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your words. Not like I couldn’t protect myself if the need arose! LOL Maybe I could design a light saber of defenses I could turn on when needed, that way the load wouldn’t be so bad. Hmmmm what would that looks like????

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  6. Thank you for this visual analogy Danny. It hasn’t even been a year since I started with you at SBS and this month, I’ll be moving into my first studio. It’s mid construction and located in the middle of an organic farm. Dream come true but, for months now I’ve been nervous I’d be taking my old fears and bully voices with me. And now reading your story, it’s my heavy armor I don’t want to bring either. I want it all to go away. This afternoon I looked in the mirror and gave the voices and fears air time. Rather than keeping them inside my head I watched myself say these hurtful things out loud right to me. “It doesn’t matter what you create, you’ll never change my mind about you.” The voice identified itself and I knew it’d been with me since my first memories. Eureka! I’m no longer a little sister! Liberation begins. Now, reading your words, I imagine I took off at least my heavy belt today. Tonight, before I go to bed, I’m going to take off my vest and chuck it out into space. And I’ll do it again and again until I create with a light heart. Thank you Danny, not being alone in this quest bolsters my courage. Thank you for you!

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