Two years ago I got a tattoo. It wasn’t a monumental occasion. I’d gotten a couple of tattoos before and it wasn’t anything intricate.
In fact, it was a line.
A year into my Peace Corps service, I got one line around my leg. After I completed my second year, I got a second. Nothing big or particularly beautiful, but it meant something to me. It was a reminder of two years of struggle and joy.
When the scabs flaked off and it stopped looking moderately scary, I loved my tattoo. I wrote about it and put that writing on the internet.
Enter: the haters.
Some guy decided my tattoo, and by proxy I, was stupid. He reblogged my post on a “stupid tattoos” blog and because I am perhaps an overly sensitive type, my feelings were substantially hurt.
But it just isn’t fair. Even if I had gotten “I’m a dum dum” tattooed on me, it’s not fair.
I’ve actually come to notice that when it comes to body alterations, clothing and style, really any sort of personal expression, we are a critical bunch, us modern folks. There are entire websites devoted to people making fun of other people because of what they choose to put on their physical bodies. Why is that entertainment?
I’m guilty of doing this too and I can honestly tell you that noticing it in myself has changed me. More often then I’d like to admit, I have found myself in the grocery store thinking “she’s too heavy to wear that” or “that’s a pretty short skirt for the day time” or “that just seems like clown make up.”
(Did you notice the other troubling pattern? Woman on woman hate*.)
When I first noticed this judgmental mean streak in myself, I thought maybe, just maybe, I was the worst human on earth. Just, the worst one. The creator just shit the bed with me.
But reading all of the Facebook posts out there, the blogs comments, the…well basically all of Tumblr, I realized there’s an obscene amount of judgement and low-grade hate in the world.
Why? What makes us feel so superior? What gives us the right?
I guarantee everyone out there has been on the receiving end of this judgment and felt like a big bucket of cold crap. Whether it’s internet abuse or that look you get from strangers, you’ve felt it and I bet it phased you a lot more than the person dishing it out.
So I suppose the point here is that it’s got to stop. We’ve got to stop letting ourselves get away with this. Stop acting like that glazed over parent letting their three children run around trying to kill cats in the park.
Notice it first. Simply recognize those moments and say to yourself “you were being awfully judgmental just then.” Just acknowledge it.
Ask yourself why you think that. Maybe you’re just in a bad mood? Maybe someone in daisy dukes once double crossed you? Maybe you have heard a friend/family member say similar things and are subconsciously picking it up? It’s worth looking into.
And then stop. Just say to yourself “Self, we don’t need to think that way. That there is a human we don’t know. Let it go, let it gooooo.” And then slap yourself for mind-singing that song.
Again, I’m not exempt from any of this, I just remember how it feels to be on the other end. Let’s all work on this together, let’s just be kind to one another.
Best of luck!
*I’ve got a whole post in me to confront that, don’t you worry.