The following is a list of all entries from the judge less category.
I was talking recently with a coworker/friend about her struggles with weight. She has made a comic schtick out of her relationship with food, and calls herself, proudly, ‘fat bitch.’ She has taken her weight – something that might otherwise be a source of much frustration – and made it into her comedic ace-in-the-hole.
It wasn’t until she started to call me ‘skinny bitch’ that I started to understand what was really going on here. I noticed I was starting to live up to the moniker – I wanted to bring in some leftover tortilla chips to supplement my lunch one day, but I decided against it. I started to get decaffeinated tea (black) instead of coffee (with half and half) from the Starbucks next door. I became, for T’s sake, the skinny bitch she thought I was. Appreciating the accountability, I kinda enjoyed it. But if I was living up to skinny bitch, was she living up to her own nickname?
Furthermore, I wondered how many people are operating under the ‘weight’ of a persona. As a nutrition person, I feel I am often under pressure to look the part, which can sometimes give me the boost I need to cook a healthy meal, exercise more, or just generally maintain my weight. However, what about those people who are under pressure to stay fat? I mean, think about it. Comedians, truck drivers, mall Santas, nonnas, Star Jones? We expect them to look a certain way.
So I told T I thought she was pulling a Kevin James. She laughed, of course – the comedienne always appreciates a joke – But whether anything actually changes remains to be seen.
* * * * *
Romantic homeostasis seems to be at work on us as our relationship, tipped so long towards complete contentment, finds it’s own more realistic level. I know the initial feelings of total bliss in any relationship will naturally become interspersed with some frustration or other less-desirable emotions, and the two will take turns defining the relationship as it settles into a more mature version of itself. But that doesn’t mean I will feel comfortable accepting these feelings, now or ever.
Apologies for sounding a bit like a negative Nancy – my general feeling is still one of love, acceptance, contentment. But small nagging points emerge that tend to take hold in the front of my conscience, bothering me more than they should. A forgotten “thank you” here and there for the little things, or skipping over the “how was your day” in favor of a rumination on the events of his own day, for better or worse. I see my own immaturity emerging as I project my unmet desire for personal perfection – normally applied to grades, body weight, or being liked at work – onto my relationship, as well as my desire for constant positive feedback and reinforcement. He’s not feeling well, so I stop by with soup and love and the groceries I know he can’t drag himself out of bed to buy today. He thanks me often, and passionately, for spending the day with him. He loves me, and just being there makes him feel better. Oddly, my first – FIRST! – thought is, “but what about that soup I bought you?”
I get it, I do… a lot of this is in my own head, my own problem, my own responsibility to find a solution… So until I do, I’m trying to keep my irrational mind quiet and enjoy the bliss as much as I can.
Our impressions of friends and loved ones, especially those impressions made early in a relationship, are based on a variety of interactions with each other: verbal conversations, written correspondence, body language, and shared space, among other things. We subconsciously use all of these interactions to form our early opinions of the people in our lives, and to help others form their opinions of us.
That inevitable set of early impressions can be changed dramatically if one or more of those interfaces is missing. Take, for example, a relationship based in letters. Whether or not the two writers have ever met, the relationship is formed in large part by what information each chooses to share. Whereas a typical relationship allows us to make our own judgments about a person, a relationship based in writing requires the utmost trust in the person with whom you correspond: we may not all be writers, but we all have the innate ability, I think, to create – and thus, to fabricate – pieces of ourselves. In person, we can more easily wade through our sensory perceptions of an individual that, in writing, are lost.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.
As children, we are are encouraged to have faith in things we cannot prove, like the seasonal cast of characters that are supposed to instill wonder, faith, and an understanding of delayed gratification in children. Yet, as we become adults, it is easy to wander away from faith and fairy tales into skepticism and doubt. In forcing ourselves to trust a person too distant to judge, but near enough to instill that same wonder, is it possible to regain some of the lost faith of our childhood?
I set out writing this blog with the intention of keeping it a secret. I wanted to allow myself to write freely, without censoring my entries based on the individual thoughts and feelings of my readers. But I find I just can’t shut up about it. Now that I have added ‘blogger’ to my repertoire of self-describing adjectives, I am anxious to explore just what it means and how it will impact the way others perceive me.
To be clear, I thrive by placing the world — myself included — in categories. I am female, smart, often hungry, introverted, assertive, kind. Sunday drivers are distracted, slow, clumsy. New York Times readers are smart, urban, wordy, highbrow. Macs are sleek, easy, superior to PCs in every possible way, etc etc. Every single person, place or thing in my world is inevitably understood within a taxonomical network of adjectives. These are in a constant state of flux, as I learn about myself, my friends, the world. Ironic as it seems, I find understanding my life this way has enabled me to see people more clearly for who they really are, by understanding them in context.
Think about it: When someone tells you that something reminded them of you, or that something is “so you,” it is another way of saying that, in their mind, you and this particular thing are categorized in tandem, and that you will perhaps cross their mind whenever they are face-to-face with it. It’s truly a compliment, like any other.
Yet, for some reason, many people recoil at the thought of being “pigeon-holed.” I have been criticized by others for being too judgmental, and my defense — that I understand the world in terms of categories, and that it helps me to interact with people if I can understand them in terms of these categories, which are constantly molded and revised as I interact with people — is often brushed off as bullshit.
I have one particular friend, though, (“D”) who seems to know me better than anybody else and really seems to get my whole “system” (I hesitate to call it that, because it’s more of a subconscious thing, but whatever.) D has the observational qualities you might normally attribute to a child; recognizing and breaking down the idiosyncracies of the people he interacts with in a really outstanding — and often unexpected — way. Today, the topic turned to judgment (always a touchy subject for me, as you might have guessed); Once again, D broke it down with the outstanding clarity I have always admired.
“That’s the thing I love about you,” he said. “You’re a judger, but you don’t judge your judgments.”
YES! That’s exactly what I have been trying to say all along! I think D must use my system too…
So, I continue writing, not just as a female, smart, hungry, introverted, assertive and kind person, but now also as a blogger, accepting as part of myself whatever that category entails.