Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Judgy Wudgy Was a Bear

This last week put me in mind of a scene from Sex and the City:

Carrie: Do I judge?
Stanford: We all judge. It's our hobby. Some people do arts and crafts, we judge.

Later on, when Carrie did sort of judge, Stanford smiled and said “Judgy Wudgy was a bear.”

We do all judge.  The show Crazy Talk is on the air for the sole reason of allowing civilians to judge and make fun of people on reality TV shows. I catch myself sometimes momentarily taken aback by some patron's outfit at the library, wondering if he or she actually looked in the mirror that morning and decided, yes, this is a suitable outfit to wear out and about in public. Sometimes I imagine someone making finger guns at the mirror and saying “Looking good, tiger!”

I cringed the day one lady came in with spandex leggings very obviously a size too small with no panty line visible, but definitely a few other lines visible.

There is one lady that comes into the library who is super nice but does her liquid black eyeliner so thick that she resembles a raccoon. I just want to pull her aside and offer her a couple of free lessons on proper makeup application. But honestly, what business is it of mine and who's asking me to be the makeup police? Maybe she likes it that way. I am not an expert and I definitely don't have the right to give unsolicited advice to someone about what I deem proper application.  And people aren't walking around, applying makeup, or dressing to please me.  My opinion doesn't matter.

Judging is alive and well and all around us, and we are all guilty of it. We all think we know best, but the truth is we only know best for ourselves. We think because certain things are right for us then they must be right for others too. It isn't so much fun, however, when it's directed at us.  We get judged constantly by people who don't know the whole story and it's easy to forget there is always another side.  Take for example the woman who came completely unglued upon walking into the Children's Library and seeing a mess of toys and books strewn across the floor.  We had just finished two story times, but to her eyes we just left the library a mess and didn't bother to pick up.  She then proceeded to complain about everything and everyone, raising such Cain that this drama went on for two days until she was able to talk to the director and squawk her displeasure to him. She reduced one of us to tears and the rest of us to homicidal thoughts, and she even took it to the commissioners.  Interestingly, her story seemed to change every time she spoke to a higher authority figure, her perception changing with each telling, that eventually the whole ordeal turned into such a shit storm it no longer resembled the original complaint.  She refused to see the library's side of things: we had finished two story times, a huge group of children had just left, we are short staffed, and only one person was working and hadn't had time to clean everything up again.  She walked into the Children's Library, made the snap judgment that it is always a mess just because that's what she saw, and she made the snap judgment of not liking one of staff members and therefore started a crusade to get him fired.  And once again, there are two sides to every story.  We judge her as a miserable nightmare coming to upend our workplace when she might be going through some seriously bad shit and the library was her last straw.  Just because she didn't handle it well, doesn't mean that she's a terrible person at her core.  This tends to be the case with most scenarios like this.  Walk a mile in someone else's shoes and all that.

I've found an overwhelming interest lately in who I am dating by complete strangers or the very basic of acquaintances.  I can never seem to make the right choices based on who other people seem to think I should be or shouldn't be dating.   I'm too young for the Cowboy, too old for August and apparently not good enough for Mr. White Knight, and should I have the nerve to even consider dating someone not from around here, well, they are too far away and long distance relationships just never work.  Everyone has an opinion, solicited or unsolicited, and no one is shy about sharing it even if they don't have a fraction of the facts.  Mr. White Knight may very well be too good for me, but the people making this assumption know nothing about me or the way I live my life.  Besides, he's a big boy who can make his own decisions, and if he wants to keep asking me out I'm going to keep saying yes.  It might sway a few wagging tongues to know that the Cowboy saved my life a few times at the height of my emotional breakdowns, age difference or no.  Sometimes he was the only thing standing between me and a complete meltdown.  And August was a fluke.  I don't generally date men that young, but I decided not to judge a book by it's cover and I gave him a shot.  And I'm glad I did.

It seems so much easier to judge on the spot than it does to give the benefit of the doubt.  We require very little information about a person and their situation in order to pass judgment that we feel are solid beliefs whether we have all the facts or not. Animals tend to reserve judgment until they know someone better.  This is why dogs sniff each other and people all over before getting too invested in a relationship.  This is why cats sit at a distance and glare at new people before making the decision to meet them.  The only thing animals want to know is can one hold their own around them and can they earn the animal's respect.  That takes time.  If one does not earn the animal's respect than the judgment is quick and harsh.  Animals don't judge on clothes, a goofy hairdo, whether someone smokes or drinks too much, if they eat Snickers bars for breakfast, or forget to do their Pilates.  Animals judge on energy.  I definitely drive my animals nuts when I'm at the height of an anxiety attack.  My animals do best around calm, self-assured people.  They judge me on whatever energy I put out too.  Tess goes stir crazy when I'm nervous or unsure about a situation.  She feeds on my energy.  I tend to still get nervous around Mr. White Knight (probably because I'm not good enough for him, ha ha) and I think my dog gets confused between feeling calm around him and his placid nature, and feeling like a nervous wreck because I'm so twitchy.  Puckett judges me when I'm judging myself.  Really, I probably just project my judgments of myself on those big green eyeballs staring at me.  Sometimes I think my harshest judge is me and Puckett is my mirror.  Percy and Willow actually don't judge at all.  They are too self-absorbed to care too much about what other people think or feel.

It all comes down to compassion again.  We can judge each other or we can just acknowledge that life is hard all around and we all have smoldering embers to walk across.  This goes for politics where everyone is squawking either Team Clinton or Team Trump, declaring that one or the other is the devil.  This goes for religions where the same scenario comes into play.  Not all Christians are Bible-thumping, intolerant assholes.  Not all Muslims are intolerant terrorists.  No one person has only one side.  We are all made up of facets, we all struggle, and we all have bad days.

We all judge, but we can all be part of the solution by consciously making an effort to judge and criticize less.  I'm not saying that the jerk who ran a red light and nearly T-boned someone is in the right.  I'm just saying we may find we are a lot happier when we aren't worrying so much about what everyone else is doing.

My pets mind their own damn business most of the time and they are thrilled.

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