Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Judging Amy.

I am a judgmental person. Rather, I have become one. I have travelled so far in the polar opposite direction from the liberal way I was raised that I may in fact circle around a full 360 and find myself back in some free love, no rules, flexible morality kind of space, judging no one. I'm not sure, where I'm going is uncharted.

I was raised not to judge anyone. Which is good. I was raised that there was no right or wrong. Which is bad. I was also taught there was no good or bad which is also bad. According to my upbringing, using those kinds of words would be "labeling" and is a part of judging which is only for stupid and closed-minded people. Now, these free-thinking concepts are only effective things to tell yourself and others if what you are seeking is license to do whatever you want no matter what. Say, for example, you want to go out and sleep with a whole bunch of people. You do not want to suffer the consequences of this action, i.e. people thinking you are a horrible mother and a slut. Or even YOU thinking you are a horrible mother or a slut. You will then need to tell yourself that by sleeping with a whole bunch of people you were not doing anything "bad" or "wrong", you were in fact "learning about your sexuality" because human reproduction is healthy and good and it wasn't wrong of you, it was just a part of your journey and was essential to your learning process. Never mind all of the people that were hurt or how many families were destroyed as a consequence of these actions because if people think that what you are doing is bad, they are being "judgmental" and need to find your "positive intent".

Because I never judged people, especially those people in my own family, I allowed them to treat me horribly. I was told that I could control my reactions to everyone and everything around me. If someone acted horribly to me, instead of calling them out to change their behavior, I just needed to look at their "positive intent" and possibly also, go to my "great good place". Everyone's actions had a positive intent, we just had to look hard enough. Sometimes I had to look really, really hard. This meant I was asked to look at things one might realistically label as sad or bad and I was to tell myself they were not bad or sad but actually good and acceptable instead. If someone like my older sister took my head and slammed it into the bathtub tile surround for taking a bath when she wanted to, I only simply need go to my great good place in order to see her positive intent and I would no longer be angry and I would find love for her. I would close my eyes and soon I could imagine that her positive intent was to toughen up my head. Armed with this knowledge I no longer wanted my sister to die slowly at my own hand, but to keep on showing me the mysteries of her many complex actions. So now, because everyone in our family, nay the world, had a positive intent and no one was ever wrong or bad, no one ever need suffer any consequences or punishment for their actions. In our household especially, never at any time, no matter how bad the offense might possibly have been, was anyone actually ever punished. No one even brought up in casual conversation the amount of times I had my butt handed to me with a bow on it by my big sister. I guess her positive intent was for me to really become familiar with where my pain threshold is. If you're wondering, it's somewhere around my External Occipital Protuberance.

In regards to relationships it should come as no surprise to read that I did not employ any powers of perception whatsoever in choosing a mate. I met someone, I saw a whole handfull of positive intent in everything they did and so I loved them dearly for handing me my hindquarters. Wasn't that thoughtful of them? I was wondering where my hindquarters had gone. Oh? It's right there? Thank you. Thank you so much. I love you. Don't leave me.

Somewhere in the middle of a Christmas party in 2005 I came to my senses. Bio dad had left me the year before. He left me pregnant with no explanation. He had gone from, "I love you more than you will ever know and I want to be with the one I love forever" to "we only casually dated" to "I'm suing you for getting pregnant". He could only have handled the situation worse if he had shot the lot of us. After a year of hell for me and and a three day coma for him (long story) he came to his senses and wanted to apologize for how he handled things. And he wanted to re-handle those things. My things. After a year in the church and my full temple worthiness re-instated, it just wasn't happening. But we were maintaining a "friendship". So here is where we find ourselves and it's December. And he's going to a Christmas party and I've just been invited to the same one and isn't that a coinkiedink. And so I get spiffied up in a YSL knockoff black velvet suit, straighten my hair and show up. And it was like I walked into a Rock of Love audition. The girls...the girls. But I musn't judge, I tell myself. But are you serious, ladies? The lip liner...and the eyebrows... And then he shows up. And these girls squeal his name like it's 7th grade, and then tip toe trot themselves over to the man for optimal chest bounce-age and then rub their Spalding's up against his Lucky Brand button down. And it clicks for me. He is that guy. He is probably hiding a roll of fifty ones in his back pocket encircled with a red rubber band. He is "hangs with strippers" guy. If he had an indian name it would probably be "Hangs with Strippers". And I flash back in my head. Yep, all the signs were there. How did I miss them? Sure, he tried to be something he wasn't for my benefit. Sure he dressed differently for me and acted differently for me. But there is no way for someone to really hide their whole true self. Unless they're a serial killer. I had signs and red flags and towards the end there was even a huge bat signal or two. But now...now I was getting a hand typed, double spaced personalized letter reading, "Dear Amelia, I like slutty, ugly, tarty girls with big boobs who drink to excess and do things with guys they barely know." It was being tapped out on my head in Morse Code. "- - - . . . - - . . - - . . .- - . . .- . - . -. . -- ...-.......-- ..-" *

*He's that guy.

I had stepped over the line and I was now in judgmental country.

My first thought was, "You are that guy??" My second was, "How did you ever find ME attractive EVER if what you wanted all along is what she's got going on over there and up there and BACK THERE?!?" And my third one was, "I'm outtie." I left that party after having judged those girls and having judged my ex and having judged the situation and you know what? It felt great. And I've been doing it ever since. People sometimes ask me if having come from the kind of past I come from makes it easy to not judge people for their actions and I have to say the answer is no. You know those bitter, tight lipped angry women? You know how they all have a secret past and then become unmoving and rigid? It starts like this. I make judgment calls all day every day and you know what? I can't stop. The more I strive to live my life with standards the easier it is to see when people don't have any. And the easier it is to judge whether or not I want to have anything to do with those people. And I usually choose not to. Because they hurt you, those people. And it's safer to make the judgment call and protect yourself and your kids right from the git go. It's OK to judge what's bad and wrong. Sometimes people can be bad and wrong. Even if they may have a super-duper really great good positive intent.

"By their fruits you shall know them." Matthew 7:16.

6 comments:

AzĂșcar said...

So powerful.

Heather said...

Thank you for this. Thank you.

Iffer Mitchell said...

Amelia, you have such a gift for putting your true thoughts in words and your amazing personality is right there in your very powerful words. I learned so much reading this. Not just about you but about myself. I know we have the Savior's admonition "judge not lest ye be judged" which has always helped me hesitate to accuse others in a way that I would not want to be accused. But He also told us to judge righteously. I think you have arrived at a place that has enabled you to seek to judge situations and people's actions for their potential impact on you and your life. May you always have the ability to judge right from wrong and good from bad. May we ALL acquire and keep that ability to judge righteously.

Amelia Merritt said...

Oh well said, Iffer. I love you and your wisdom. Thank you friends.

Jewels said...

This was amazing. I love how you pointed out that "you can choose to live your life one way, but then people may judge you, but you can't be upset because then you are judging THEM..." Sometimes it feels that we can't win. But what you said is perfectly right. We are given insight to protect ourselves. When we see something bad or wrong, we make the judgement call to steer clear of that collision (i.e. like steering clear of the 'hangs with strippers' tribe. What a tool box). I also find it interesting that those who can be so judgemental and harsh, accusing and criticizing everyone in their path, never seem to try to better themselves. They never look around in their heart and see what needs to be worked on or improved, they just like to point that out in others.

I have judged you and you know what my verdict is? You are the raddest.

Laurel said...

hey friend. how have I lived w/o knowing about your blog?

can I tell you how much I love this post? how much I love the "amelia who lives her faith and judges"? I LOVE IT.

Righteous judgment is a must for survival in this world. It's the best way to protect ourselves to be the women we were created to be. Keep on keepin' on.


Perfectly said. I'm so glad we're friends.

Seriously. let's. do. lunch.

xoxo