I feel sick.
I can’t get it out of my head; someone I thought supported my music career said they don’t think that being a musician is a real job. I don’t have a lot invested in the relationship, so it doesn’t bother me that they said this. However, it’s the consequential nagging question that bothers me: What if there are other people out there who think the same thing? What if those are relationships I am more invested in?
That would hurt…
It’s the subtle judgements that hurt the most. They stick to your mind with an eery familiarity, but maintain creepy distance: close enough to know them by name, but far enough away to misunderstand.
I saw a truck at the mall the other day with a pair of testicles hanging from the back bumper (I believe they are called Truck Nutz). I made a subtle judgement when I turned to my husband and said, “I bet the person driving that truck has an over-the-top personality.”
However, the person driving may not have been the character I imagined at all. My social conditioning may suggest a stereotype, but I must occupy the possibility that the guy simply thought it would be funny to hang testicles from his back bumper. Maybe he’s not that ridiculous after all, maybe he just doesn’t take himself too seriously.
My friend judged my career choice. I judged the testicles truck. We all judge… We judge other people in subtle, and not-so-subtle ways.
It can seem like a cruel world out there. Instead of trying to ignore it, or simply give into it, let’s admit that we have a problem. Let’s admit that we allow subtle cues from the media we’ve consumed, the people we grew up with, or the communities we’re apart of to influence our ideas about people we don’t know. Once we’ve admitted it, then we can do better next time.
I encourage you to be brave and ask questions you don’t know the answer to instead of filling in the blanks with personal cultural biases. Furthermore, seeing people through the lens of love colors them in a completely different light. Even if our judgements turn out to be true, reminding ourselves that people–the ridiculous person, the rude person, or the loud mouth on Facebook–are all children that God died for puts things in perspective.
Just something to chew on.