It's official: I am thick-skinned.
I have written in the past in the blog and the book about how important it is to find ways to deal with negative reviews (papers, proposals, teaching, whatever) and to develop a 'thick skin' about these things as a way to survive the constant evaluations that occur in an academic life. I feel upset and angry about negative reviews, especially if they are unfounded, mean, and stupid, but I don't let them get to me long-term.
The 'thick skin' metaphor describes a way of not being too sensitive and easily hurt. But then:
Recently I had a tetanus shot, which hurt. The nurse stuck the needle in my arm and then said "Oh no, it's not supposed to do THAT. Hmm."
WHAT? It's not supposed to do WHAT? I wondered (but didn't look).
"Oh, nothing.." the nurse replied, "It's just.. well, you must have very thick skin. You don't look like you do, but you do."
Ah ha. In fact, that's also true in a metaphoric sense. I don't look like I do, but I do.
But I've always wondered:
Is it better to appear tough (as I most definitely do not) so that people don't even try to push you around, or is it better to be tough even if you don't look like you are?
1 year ago