April 26, 2013

people gettin' all judgy

over the weekend i headed up my work's booth at the earth day festival. i enjoy earth day and it always makes me chuckle. there's just a whiff of (self-imposed?) trying too hard. i wore my free and easy maxi dresses, not the jeans and gap tee i've been favoring for the last eight months. i felt slightly guilty when asked by an earnest volunteer, "did you come car-free today?" uh, no, but now i wish i had! anyhow, it's a great festival. there's great kettle corn, good music, and i had a fun time.

except for two encounters that i just can't seem to get out of my brain.

the first was pretty humorous. a local farm had brought along some of their livestock, and they were allowing their turkey, pilgrim, to wander freely. the spot he chose for the entire two days was right behind me, which meant i had a giant turkey lurking near my backside all weekend. it was a little disconcerting. everyone loved looking at pilgrim. he seemed relaxed and even allowed crowds of kids to get in his face and pet him. but then one lady got upset. with me.

"your turkey is thirsty," she told me without introduction. "you really shouldn't even have a wild animal like that as a pet."
"that is definitely not my turkey," i shot back, thinking to myself, do i look like your average turkey owner? i pointed her in the direction of the gentleman who seemed to be in charge, and she marched off to confront him. i gave him what i hope was an understanding smile as i heard him defending the turkey, "well, turkeys are not wild animals," he explained calmly, before she continued her lecture.

my second chat with a stranger didn't turn out to be quite so humorous. she was a mom with two young girls in tow. i complimented them on their face paint and after they turned to go on to the next booth, their mom walked back to me.

"you shouldn't use cleaning products with chemicals in them," she volunteered, abruptly. "especially when you're expecting."
"um..." i replied eloquently.
"i sell this," she said, dropping a brochure into my lap. it was for a line of green cleaning products that i've wanted to try.
"you know, i usually make my own cleaning-"
she cut me off. "these are better. remember what i said about the baby." and walked off.

not a joke! i really do make my own cleaning products
now, this is not a post about how green i am, although i do try to make it a priority because i want my home to be a healthy place. it's not a post about whether or not animals should be wild or domesticated (we have a dog and i love eating meat, so...). but it is a post about the judgements we make toward strangers, and the opportunities we lose as a result. the second conversation made me especially sad because this woman and i probably have a lot in common! we could have talked about our shared values and why we strive to keep our homes as chemical-free as possible. i am a sucker for direct sales, so i probably would have even bought something from her! instead, she saw me, she judged me (for whatever reason), and we lost the opportunity to connect.

and how many times have i done the same?

a wise woman once told me that she operates from a position of presumed benevolence. isn't that beautiful? more simply, she assumes that people are trying their hardest, doing their best, striving for the best in others, and making the wisest decision possible, until it's proven otherwise. as i kept thinking about this post, i realized that i was judging these women just as much as they seemed to be judging me. i wasn't assuming benevolence. i wasn't assuming that they were coming from a good place. i have now spent almost a week storing up their words in my heart, instead of just laughing it off and moving on.

over the last year, this has been one of my favorite verses:
and now i think i need to turn it a little so that i can really get it into my heart:
becca, fix your thoughts about others on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. think of others as excellent and worthy of praise. 
+ + +
ps: meganace-- you've won a copy of bread & wine!! i'll be contacting you via email so that i can get your book out to you right away. enjoy!


  1. Yayayayay! Thank you Becca! I'll be anxiously awaiting your email! SO excited!

  2. Becca, do share-- just what are your home made cleaning remedies. I happen to have tea tree oil and baking soda on my shelf-- what can I do with it?


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