Friday, July 30, 2004

Our judgmental world

Angela just posted her new hair color. It's red. It's out there. It's so Angela. She is a fun person who is occasionally trapped inside a body that strives to conform in order to be accepted. If you read her blog you will see that she is thrilled to have this new hair color. She feels great about herself. Isn't that the point of living? To feel great?

This got me thinking. If I were to see Angela on the street, without knowing who she is or what she is about, what would I think? Would I even think anything? Would I silently give her a thumbs up for doing her own thing or condemn her for the very same reason? This reminded me of something that happened a few years ago.

When my friend Kristy's son Brian was a teenager he colored his spiked hair often.He was the last person I would ever imagine who would color his hair. He was so quiet and unassuming and yet his outlet was his punk rock band. His hair was just an extension of his desire to express himself. Whenever I saw him he usually had a new hair color. I always went over to him and said, "Can I touch it?" and then I would wave my hand over the spikes.I loved his hair! It was funny because he seemed like such a contradiction: good boy, crazy hair.

One day while Rich and I were driving in the car I saw a teen boy with blue hair. I immediately sighed and said, "Well, look at that weirdo. What kind of mother would allow her teenage son to color his hair blue?" Rich kind of glared at me and said, "Brian colors his hair and you don't think thoughts like that." Clearly Rich was missing the point so I explained patiently, "Well, we know Brian!! He's a great kid!" Rich asked, "Oh, so knowing the person determines if it is ok or not?" I replied, "But we know Brian is a great person. He isn't some weirdo like that blue haired boy." Rich said, "I bet the blue haired boy's family thinks he is just as wonderful as we think Brian is." I am not often speechless but that shut me up.

We live in a very judgmental world. I try to teach Lillianna to look at someone's heart not at their appearance because appearances can be very deceiving. And yet aren't we all guilty of that at one time or another? I don't like it. I don't want to be judgmental but I think it is human nature to judge others because we always feel like we are being judged.

This got me thinking about if I ever did anything "wild" or "crazy" to assert my independence. Then it came to me: earrings! I used to wear some interesting earrings in my 20's. They weren't just large they were different. I had big round,white leather circles with a mirror in the center. Friends could do their make-up in my earrings! I loved them. My cousin Marcia snorted at me when I bought them and said, "You aren't seriously going to wear these out in public are you?" I put them on right there in the car while she was driving!"You bet I am going to wear them!" Did anyone look at my earrings and think, "What a weirdo!!" I don't know and I don't care. I loved it and it was fun for me!

So let's be kind to each other. We are all people on this planet who are struggling to find out who we are. We express ourselves in many different ways. Let's applaud the differences instead of pointing accusing judgmental fingers at each other.

What is your thought when you see someone who is "different"? In what way have you ever expressed yourself? What was the reaction to that?

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