We lose our softness while we walk through this world. From the moment we are born, everything around us warns us to stay vigilant, because enemies are never far enough. At times, life resembles an open battlefield and us, the lone snipers, hide away ready to aim and shoot as precisely and ruthlessly as we can. 

I realized the other day how living in a metropolis has made me hard. On my way back home, I felt the urgent need to take my “armour” off because it suddenly felt painfully heavy. How long had I been wearing it? And could I remember what it means to be free from the need to soldier up? 

While I slowly walked through the crowded streets of London, I started to undress my self and dropped all the intricate parts of my safety suit along the way. Off went my sabatons, and then gauntlets, the cuirass. I could feel the air onto my body and rediscovered the pleasure of moving freely and breathing wholeheartedly.  

 And when my helmet finally came off, I saw the world again.

I met the eyes of the stranger and lost myself in them. Their battle was mine too. Their  armour was as impenetrable as mine. Thousands of people crossed path in that very moment trapped in their alertness, without realizing that we are all at war. And no one is ever going to come out of this one alive because we have bartered softness with harshness. The traumas that still haunt us are our weapons, the grief that keeps us awake at night is our hiding corner, the stories we obstinately believe make up every little scale of our coat of mail. 

I take my tenderness back because I want to live big. My heart is shielded enough for me to look out of my tower and shout in the wind that I am not scared of the world. 

I am here, able to hold someone’s gaze knowing that their story is mine too. And I want to hold space for them to share it. Truly feel all of it. And then let it go in the wind, just like sand, trusting that it will reach the furthest hearts and it will be told again until it becomes a beautiful tale. 

May you treasure the gentle heart. May you rediscover the pleasure of your own softness. And when the world demands that you get ready for battle, may you firmly shout “I am not scared of you.”

In Grace,

Antonia Lyons

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