Thick Skin – The Grossest thing I’ve ever heard.

First of all, “thick skin” makes me think of “foreskin” and who in their right mind wants to ever think about foreskin?

I digress in the first sentence…

I used to love the term “thick skin.” It made me feel like if I had it, I was a superhero. I was tough and professional. Strong and unbeatable. If I got a critique from an acting teacher – my family, some friends, other teachers would come back at me with….”Well, you need to have a thick skin about these things if you want to make a career out of this.” In a lot of ways, I get it. People are cruel in any business honestly. You can’t obsess over the shitty things people say to you or about you because if you do…you’ll spiral into a type of depression I don’t even want to write about.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past month though. There have been some personal issues taking center stage in my life that have really brought out my sensitive side. I found myself trying to talk myself out of how I feel. Telling myself that I’m overreacting and I need to get over it. It’s something I’m conditioned to do and I find that this happens any time my feelings are hurt. So basically I’ve decided it’s bullshit.


I don’t think “thick skin” is what we should ask people to have when something upsetting happens. I think it harbors resentment and anger. Want to know how I know? I’m very resentful and angry ya’ll!

Telling any one to have thick skin is the same as saying “how about you bury that deep down and never open that box ever.” What in the holy heckin hell is that going to do? Nada. It’s okay to feel shitty that you didn’t get the part, that your partner dumped you, that someone said something mean and it triggered you. It’s seriously all good. The times that I’ve let myself process and grieve have helped me grow so much. Do you need some examples of when I didn’t let myself process and grieve? Great! I’m going to process and grieve in this blog post.


I’m mad that I got rejected from a lot of the colleges I auditioned for (even though I love the college I went to) it sucked. I’m mad that the first show I auditioned for in NYC ended up being a total joke and the director was using actors for money. I’m mad that when I moved to Chicago I dated a string of guys who were absolutely the worst and that I didn’t say it to their faces when I had the chance. I’m mad that I have had consistent struggles getting cast in equity AND non-equity shows in Chicago and know that a lot of it comes down to not going to school here and not being friends with enough people here who did. I’m mad that I’ve let people say certain things to me or about me that are abusive and that I didn’t stand up for myself.  I’m mad that my family dynamic is different since I moved. I’m mad that I have a mental illness and need to find ways to deal with that. PEOPLE, I’m mad!


I’m so glad I feel something at least. Finally. “Mad” is a good place to start. Maybe “thick skin” means something different to you. To me though, it felt like I had to just be okay with the things that have hurt me but never deal with it. Just get over it and move on. Time’s up on that. I have a life time of hurt ahead of me. It’s just true. I bet if I let myself process that hurt – it would save me a lot of resent and I wouldn’t look how I look right now – which is like this:

I’m pretty sure when women in Hollywood tried to tell any one about what Harvey Weinstein did to them – some asshole probably told them they needed to have “thick sin.” Mull over that for a minute……

Pretty gross right?

  • Process what you’re feeling.
  • What is it that upset you?
  • Is it something you can learn from?
  • Is it something you ever want to deal with again?
  • Have some ice cream.
  • Watch a funny movie.
  • Talk to a family member or friend.
  • Make sure you are safe physically and mentally.
  • THEN move on.


  • You’re hurt.
  • Move on.

Like…on what planet?

Yeah, probably Uranus.

Feel your feels.

Let your skin loose. She’s been trapped for far too long.

Self care. Self flare.




Published by Kelly Tietjen

Chicago gal offering my own take on self development, creativity, mental health and more.

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