Snow White was always my favorite princess not only because she is friends with all the woodland creatures, but because her pure heart was what made her a threat. And a good heart should never be underestimated.

Tenderhearted toughness seems like an oxymoron, but don’t be fooled. It is in no way moronic. It can be so easy to mistaken kindness for weakness, vulnerability for submission, tenderness for oversensitivity, being understanding for being a push-over. Sometimes we can make these comparisons without second glance. Admittedly, I have been called all these things. What I now say with pride, once caused me some embarrassment. Even amongst the words that should have felt like compliments, the connotations confused me. How is it that I’ve always known that my heart is kind, vulnerable, and tender, but at the same time always known that I am anything but weak. Clearly, something deserved a second glance.

I’ve challenged myself to take those perspectives, and look again.

Here, I take those words and rewrite them as I believe they should be known. Here, I share with you as I stand as living proof that kindness can be strength, vulnerability should not be judged, and that one must be tough to be tenderhearted.