“Don’t judge me.”
I say it. My friends say it. Strangers jokingly say it to each other in passing (at least I did this week to an elderly gentlemen as he caught me opening a bag of chips in the grocery store parking lot).
Although I am sure this isn’t just a “women’s issue,” I do find it more apparent amongst my own kind.
Most of the time it’s in fun and harmless, but I feel even in the most lighthearted of times, it can reveal a deeper insecurity about ourselves as women and how we want others to see us.
In a society of social media highlighting the very best of others’ lives, we are stuck examining our own monotony, our own mess.
It’s easy to judge ourselves when we are comparing the grind of our daily life to only the smallest, most edited portion of another.
So I propose that we stop using the J word. To ourselves. To each other.
So let me tell you all of the times I am not judging you.
I am not judging you for your messy house. Listen, I can barely take care of myself. It’s exhausting and I have no one to blame but me. Honestly, how does anyone keep a kitchen clean? I make half a sandwich and it’s as if Subway opened a free lunch buffet on my counters open to the public. It’s comical to me when my friends with multiple kids apologize for their mess. I think to my little apartment and how you can’t even see the floor of my closet most days.
I am not judging you for finishing your entire plate of Fettuccini Alfredo and then ordering dessert. Once a colleague gently told me that she couldn’t take me seriously with the chocolate all over my face. (I had gotten myself into the chocolate fountain that day.) I once snuck into the staff lounge after hours and ate sheet cake in the dark. I double fist donuts on the reg. Need I say more? Get on with your Pasta loving, self.
I am not judging you for your misbehaving kids. I don’t have kids of my own, but I am a teacher. You can be the best parent, grandparent, teacher, or babysitter in the world, but something in the air of a grocery store, restaurant, or any public place in general can turn children into monsters. I don’t think you’re a bad mom or a bad teacher or a bad caretaker when your 7 year old does his best impression of a 2 year old throwing a tantrum. I get it.
I am not judging you for binge watching your favorite show on Netflix instead of doing something “productive”. Because I was once so emotionally caught up in a show that I prayed for the characters before bed. I have seen the entire SERIES of the Office at least 3 times. Do you know how many hours that is? Last night I ate Sugar Snap peas, pretzels, and spoonfuls of peanut butter all in bed while watching Friends. Don’t get me started.
I am not judging you for wearing sweats to the grocery store. There is a reason there is no documentation of some of the outfits I have worn in public. My running errands attire is “Homeless Chic.” Your sweatpants are classy compared to some of the outfits I have gone out of the house in.
I’m not judging you for not working out. Because yesterday, although I did eventually make it to the gym, I sprawled across my bed audibly protesting the even thought of moving. I yelled to my roommate across the apartment, complaining about my plight of missing motivation. I literally, at one point, rolled around on the floor in agony at the mere thought of moving. Do not tell me that you not working out is more shameful than that embarrassing show I put on.
I’m not judging you for not being organized. I am a teacher and at end of the year I needed to hand back approximately 1,350 papers that I forgot about. They were in no order and represented about 20 classes of students. I literally threw them in a big pile on the floor and the students went “scuba diving” to find their names. Kids were on their hands and knees, slipping on papers and searching for their names.The papers stretched out almost from wall to wall. Don’t talk to me about not being organized. I need an intervention.
I’m not judging your for your emotional meltdown. I have cried in the arms of people I barely knew because they caught me at the wrong time. I’ve started sobbing over tiny details because they remind me of bigger ones. We don’t all have it together all the time. Most of us just try to keep it together sometimes.
I’m not judging you for your relationship problems. Don’t feel embarrassed about the issues you face in your relationship, with your children, in your friendships or your marriage. I’ve been there (minus the whole married with kids one #workingonit). Anything you have been through, I bet I can relate in some aspect. I have sat at my work desk and sobbed during my lunch break over breakups. I’ve muddled my way through a horribly wrong relationship in search of finding the right one. Your problems aren’t worse or crazy. They are normal.
So maybe, just maybe, there may be some areas of my life where I have it all together right now. You may have caught me during a week where my apartment is clean, I washed my hair regularly and chose broccoli over french fries.
But your large plate of pasta has been my half a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts in one sitting.
Your messy kitchen has been the trunk of my car that houses enough random goods to provide the essentials of life to a small family.
Your insecurities about how you look in leggings is me avoiding going to the doctor so I don’t have to see how much I weigh.
Your tears have been my sobs.
Your unbelief has been my hours of questioning.
Your mess is my mess.
There is beauty in all of the messy, imperfect parts of you and in your life, me and my life.
Let’s not be afraid to be real around one another. Real is good. Real is powerful.
I’m not judging you.