A reevaluation of the term “tough cookie”
By Whitney Leggett, CV&T News EditorSometimes I don’t fully comprehend these decade old idioms that people use. Last week I got was called a “tough cookie.” I was assured that it was a compliment. I wasn’t sure at the time if I should take it as that or if it was a sign that this busy world was getting the best of me.
I like to think that I am pretty likeable. But, at the same time, I’m not one to sit back and let things or people make me feel inferior. Which is probably why I answered several emails with an uncharacteristically snotty tone. Granted, emails and text messages don’t always come off the way intended to begin with. But, I’m pretty sure that my responses weren’t that appreciated.
I think one person chose to ignore my email all together. And the other, well, I think we’ll be pretty good buddies in no time. He was the one that called me a “tough cookie” and after I took the time to look it up, I decided I was OK with being associated with this term.
There was more than one definition offered, online of course, for this idiom. One website said, “A tough cookie is a person who will do everything possible necessary to achieve what they want.” Another defined a tough cookie as, “a person who is difficult to deal with.” And, yet, another said, “If you describe someone as a tough cookie, you mean that they are unemotional and are not easily hurt by what people say or do.”
I, obviously, would like to think that the first, and only the first, really describes me: someone who will do everything necessary to achieve what they want. I tend to think that I would go to any length to get the job, make the grade, save the money, graduate on time…the list goes on and on.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But, others may beg to disagree. I, however, would like to think that each of these definitions is a little incorrect in its own way. First, being tough doesn’t mean that you are unemotional. I am sure quick to cry when my feelings get hurt or when I fall, as I did this week, landing myself with a black eye. I also don’t tend to think that being tough means that you are difficult to deal with. I think that as my correspondence with my new friend showed last week, I can stand up for myself and still manage to make a new friend.
So, I decided I would redefine tough cookie. As my new friend said, it was meant as a compliment and I decided to take it as one. Maybe this world has made me a little thick skinned, maybe writing about death, loss and tragedy has hardened my shell and maybe I can be a little defensive. I believe that I still manage to smile when it’s appropriate, laugh as much as I can and make friends with as many people as possible.
I think that’s why I like that my new friend pinned me a tough cookie. My shell is hard, but my insides are still soft, and sweet. Or at least I like to think so. To all those other “tough cookies” out there: don’t be ashamed. I’m going to try my best to turn it into something positive.