“You’re so judgmental!” directed at me during a college tour visit with third child.
“Oh, it’s OK, we’re all judgmental sometimes.” replied acquaintance, while making comment about the way I was seemingly watching someone as I attempted to get clarification and then explain, poorly...
So allow me to explain, or don’t, I am going to anyway. I don’t deny that I have not been judgmental, made a judgment, come to a false conclusion following a first impression, et cetera and so on. It’s true we all do. I, however am a self-appointed high monkey-monk of processing and reflecting. Typically when I make a judgment, it doesn’t sit right, I feel badly. I then begin the process of determining validity of said opinions and feelings and judgments, or attempting to slip into the moccasins of another, or determining why I thought someone died and put me in charge of reacting to someone else's odd behavior. In which case I can simply back away from, or let go of judgments or avoid and resist future engagement.
The two opening scenarios did not involve me and judgments. Well maybe they did, but they weren’t judgments I was making. The scenarios involved me and people’s perceptions of me. The fact that these two comments were made and so far off the mark by two people with drastically different connections to me made me take note. I determined through my zealous processing activation that I have a serious external malfunction that might be interfering a great deal with my internal longings and moment to moment ability to initiate interpersonal connections of joy and lightness. This leads to a malfunction in my attempting to over-compensate in an effort to explain that I am all sorts of nice and fun and open and really easy-going. Which naturally contradicts anyone’s sense of easy-going, or open, or fun. And low and behold when I put this activity in place for someone I r-r-r-really (throw in a sexy growl here) want to get to know, it looks like all out obsession, intensity, pushiness, and aggression.
Crash. Burn. Sink.
Scene 1, Act 1:
College tour guide excited and perky and off-beat, (or on crack. Is that a judgment or an observation, or a snarky, twisted viewpoint derived from my very own fear of big school campuses and academia and my own early avoidance at academia by going to art school? Do people really like school this much? Hmmm more to process….) blather, blather, blather, blah, blah, blah not even…Super Cuts…on campus….a real salon….these are the Common’s blah blah….
Me: (deep in thought) hmmm it’s really nice here. I wish I didn’t get so anxious. It’s really warm. If we leave by 1:00 we can get to Essex by, let’s see 6 hours from Buffalo..Oh he wanted to stop at the outlets in Geneva…. I better pay attention, it’s not fair to third and final child. Just because I’ve done the college tours at every type of college across the North Eastern seaboard and a few mid-Atlantic states with his siblings… this is important and special for him….I need to get it together….SuperCuts? How interesting, what a good idea on campus. (face is squeezing in on itself in deep and serious consideration.)
Third and Final Child: (Sizes me up and slaps me down in one fell stare) under breath, What is wrong with you? You are so judgmental, about getting a haircut at SuperCuts, ?
Me: Whoooaa! What???! What the heck are you talking about? I think it’s a really good idea. I actually like Supercuts. (I attempt to convince, defeatedly, but understandably get to the paying attention part and smooth out the face, work on blank stare.)
Act 2, Scene 1
(Several days later attending a local venue with friends for acoustic night)
(Soulful singer is making the most delightful sounds sending me to places I have not visited for quite some time. Variety of friends, neighbors, singers, musicians, one assertively dancing and raucous vagabond, groupies and hot, amazing women, oh that would be my friends and I…gather).
Acquaintance: She’s pretty wild isn’t she? It’s hard not to stare. (rolling eyes toward wayward vagabond)
Me: What? Oh, yeah, umm no, I was….
Acquaintance: “Oh, it’s OK, we’re all judgmental sometimes.” (smiling knowingly)
Although she doesn’t know. I wasn’t staring. At least not at anyone. I was staring off and I had gone into that place. I was…..well….. y’know, doing that zealous thing I do. The processing. Listening to the music. Thinking of how songs and musicians can really get you all hot and bothered and wishful and wanting. Wondering when…thinking about how long….Playing out how and why the past several months have been spent making absolute certain that any dreamy stud, would not ever brighten my doorway, darken it or otherwise come within 200 feet of it. And then there’s my face off doing it’s own thing as my mind is going deep. It seems to have a life of it’s own and it doesn’t have any issue with making it’s actions known to everyone else. I, on the other hand think my face is a part of me, an extension of my kindness as well as my struggle. Meanwhile my ill-fated facial expressions are sending out messages of disdain and consternation. Disapproval and disgust register for others. Judgment.
And for some reason, I respond and my mouth attempts to defend me but scores points for the face. "Actually, I was really enjoying that guys sexy voice and wondering when I might get (insert any old unladylike but direct expletive here)". If I had to judge by her expression, I might have gone too far. I was annoyed. I was frustrated with being, perhaps, judged. I was sensitive and then defensive about trying to explain and then feeling like it wasn’t worth it. I was also feeling frustrated with the reality that this has been an on-going problem and although it is off-base, it is somewhat globally accepted as my truth.
I am practicing bland faced, or excited. Enthusiastic? Happy and peppy and bursting with well hello there! And isn’t it great to see and hear you, and you and you???!!! Maybe it’s time for botox and eye-lift surgery. It will be really hard to look stink-eyed and surprised at the same time, won’t it? Surprise might be an expression that works for more than a few situations….. Perplexed….Processing….Thoughtfully thinking....loving…enjoying…wondering why I was cursed with the stink eye?
Last year I implored the third and final child to take a “nice” picture of me on vacation. “C’mon, be nice, take a good picture this time, not me making a face.” He responds through chortled chuckles as he views the shot, “Oh my God, ha ha ha It is a good picture. That’s your face! That’s what you look like.” I snarl and grab my camera turning up my lip, squinting on one side to see, my nose crinkles and my teeth are bared. A vision of openness and light, sweetness and compassion emanating out of my (insert any old expletive here). Sighhhhhhh.
Judging by the picture he took, it’s time to load up on cats and game shows, stretchy pants and crocheted afghans…..