Posts Tagged With: judgmental

say it to my face

There’s an episode in season four of Mad Men in which Peggy does a presentation with lipstick on her teeth. The guys think it’s funny, but it wasn’t. She didn’t care because the pitch went well, and the client loved it.

I was on the phone with Thing 2 and after telling her about it, I said, “You know what it reminds me of?”
Without hesitation she says, “Booka!”
(Booka was name Thing 1 and Thing 2 called their father’s mother.)
My former mother in law was notorious for going about with lipstick on her teeth. And do you know no one would ever tell her. Well, that buck stopped here. (*points at self*)

Now, what y’all don’t know is that this mother in law was the born the same decade as my grandparents, so to say there was a generation gap is an understatement. But I never understood why people just let her go about her life with lipstick on her teeth!

So there we are, at some family thing (they had a huge extended family). She was sitting with a group of ladies, and I walk up with Thing 1 on my hip to hug her. I discreetly rub my finger over my teeth. She smiles and repeats the gesture before showing me her teeth. I give her the all clear.
She walks away with her son and I sit down in the seat she vacated.
I am instantly barraged by the hens.
Apparently I shouldn’t talk about things like that. It simply isn’t done. On top of that, I was disrespectful. I was rude. I wasn’t properly raised because young people don’t behave that way to their elders. etc.
(Fortunately my mother wasn’t there, she would have told them a thing or two about being raised properly.)
Well, I smile and pick up my daughter before I say as politely as possible, “I told her because I respect her. She shouldn’t have to go around like that because none of you are kind enough to tell her.”

She came to me later apologizing for the little old ladies. She expressed her gratitude. Literally no one ever told her but me and she was grateful.
What was their motivation? Do you just not talk about things ‘like that’? Were they secretly amused? To be perfectly honest, they were some of the nastiest women I’ve ever been around, and I suspect they liked that she was unaware.

This story got me thinking…
Surely y’all have seen this meme or at least something like it?

Isn’t it lovely to think it could be this way?
But is it our reality?
Girls are often told one thing, and shown another.

Girl Power should include all girls. It rarely does. Girls often learn to look out for themselves without real thought for each other.
You’ve heard it:
Slut.
Bitch.
The C word.
Did you see what she was wearing?
She has lipstick on her teeth.
Her dress is tucked into her tights.

There is pointing and behind the back conversations.
I’m not saying I’ve never talked shit about another girl behind her back, but I don’t think it’s right.

If my tag is hanging out, please tell me.
If I’ve got lipstick on my teeth, please tell me.
If you’re nasty about it, great. At least do it to my face, right?

I want to be a woman in a world in which we all adjust each other’s crowns without telling the world they were crooked.
It’s hard enough to be a girl/woman in this world without us being against each other. It really isn’t all that difficult to treat each other with kindness and respect.
We’ve been taught we’re nothing. While also being told we can be whatever we want.
Mixed messages.
That’s the life of a girl in our world.
It shouldn’t be.
It doesn’t have to be.
Yet here we are, tearing each other down for our own amusement.
We hardly need the patriarchy to hold us back, we’re so busy doing that to each other.

But there are women and girls out there who are kind. They treat themselves and other women with the respect every human being deserves. They are our inspiration.
That’s what the sisterhood should be.
We have to keep at it.
Less shit talk.
More crown straightening.
Starting with our own.
Tell me when there’s lipstick on my teeth, because you can damn sure bet I’ll tell you.
But not because I’m mocking or attempting to insult you, I want you to know so you can put your best foot forward. We have enough stacked against us, let’s not be against each other.

OK, this went a way I didn’t expect. But there you have it.
I didn’t realize how something so seemingly irrelevant was actually a pretty big deal.
Maybe being trapped at home is getting to me?
I don’t know.
Let’s just fucking be kind to, and stop judging each other, OK?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

on the advice of Nick’s father

Whenever I begin to compare my life to that of someone else, I’m reminded of Nick Carraway’s line at the beginning of Gatsby: In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.”

I’m using the concept rather loosely, less in the way Fitzgerald intended and more along the lines of considering each of us comes from a different place. It has nothing really to do with having, or the lack of “advantages”, and everything to do with point of view.
Each of us is raised with a certain set of values based on our environment and the life experiences of the people who raised us. We take those values and adapt them as we gain our own life experiences. We raise our own children based on these values we were taught and modified for them to continue the process.

I sometimes fail to remember, or perhaps simply take into account this very important advice. I think about the people I know and, I think rather naturally, compare myself to what I see of them. Of course this is futile as we seldom see the reality of an individual, but what they choose to share with the world.

We each behave based on that initial set of values we learned as children, even though we’ve changed them here and there to fit our new world view.

I am accused of being extremely judgmental.
I am a little…to deny this would be a bold face lie. But I’m nowhere near as judgmental as get accused of being.

I question everything.
This can be misconstrued because I ask questions in a way that may not always reflect my desire to understand. I question everything partly because I was brought up in an environment in which questions were ignored or left unanswered and I have a life-long compulsion to have answers. Partly because I’m curious and want to know and understand. I especially want to understand motivations for behavior.
This creates a goodly bit of friction between YBW and me. I ask to know and he hears my question as criticism. Occasionally I ask to criticize, again this goes back to what I experienced as a child, which is no excuse. It is however, the truth. I ask to understand the motivation, the thought process behind it…whatever the “it” is.

When I look at other people and see the differences I have nothing to base my opinion on other than the “advantages” of my upbringing. So I don’t understand why they do or don’t do things. I don’t understand what motivates them. I can only compare it to what I know and understand, what motivates me. I don’t think that’s judgmental.
The stubborn part of me doesn’t feel I should have to rephrase my curiosity so as not offend. Perhaps it’s not stubborn, perhaps it’s that bit of me that was stunted in my childhood. Perhaps because I couldn’t ask questions and get answers, I’m much more inclined to question everything? (The question mark at the end of that sentence is not lost on me.)

I am, have always been, interested in human behavior. The whys and wherefores of the way we behave, make choices, socialize, raise our children. I’m still learning everyday what motivates my behavior, some aspects I accept, some I realize need improvement. But I’m still asking questions. I’ll most likely go to my grave asking questions.

I must remember that I was brought up very differently than some of the people I know. That we will function in completely different ways.
I must remember that though I’m curious to their whys and wherefores I have to be mindful in the way I ask questions.
I must remember that I did have “advantages” that some people didn’t have.
I must remember that I am capable of many things and needn’t compare myself to anyone else.

Will I remember these things? Will I always act upon them?
Most likely not, but if I simply pay attention…I’ll make progress.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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