I umpire too quickly, sometimes, judging with my strict esoteric standards that exist only in my head. “I was following the rules.” The thing is, there are no rules, and the only “people” who are “looking”… well, is me. I judge someone because they smoke, or wear something too revealing. I judge them for not standing to greet someone. I judge manners and professionalism, heart and humanity. I do it all from the small pulpit that is my life. I take out some enormous measuring stick and press people against it, watching them inhale with hope to hit the next mark. Bottom line… I am no one to be judging anyone.
When it’s reversed, when someone I truly care about slashes me with judgment, I listen and digest… after I turn quiet and defensive. Then I decide if they’re right. I imagine we all assess with space, looking for validity. In the case of the unprofessional redhead with the plunging neckline, I disagree with the ref’s call.
I’m a disorganized mess sometimes. I follow my heart, and sometimes that’s messy or a little bit reckless to myself, never others… and when I hear it aloud, I’m suddenly a hockey player trying to pull a jersey over a head. “You’re such a mess.” When I hear it, I double up on the shin guards. I’m not letting you slash me with your judgment, with your, “if I were you, I’d never behave the way you do.” I withdraw in response. “What, you’re mad because I have an actual opinion, and it doesn’t align with yours?” I welcome a challenge, someone to poke holes in any of my ideas or beliefs. But start the evening off, exhaling through your lips about how my slit is too high, and I’m already taping my stick.
I felt good about myself, confident and seexy, and I wanted to feel that for you too, for you to want me, and instead, you mocked me, telling me, “It’s just a little too low cut. You asked me what I thought, and I don’t like it.” Actually, I hadn’t asked you what you thought, thank you very much. This is who I am, in this shirt, with this skirt, without underwear (not that you ever got to find that out), hoping to make you happy, hoping you’d want me, just as I am, over anyone else. Instead of “God, Stephanie, you look so seexy,” I got, “Jesus, that skirt.” Since when is a guy going to complain that his date is showing too much leg? “I just can’t believe you’d order wine after wine the way you did, and around your co-workers. "I would never do that.”
I tried so hard to be seexy for you, looked for your gaze across the rink, and instead of adoration, the criticism puck was slapped toward me when I wasn’t open to receiving it. It was clear to me in that moment, we were both off sides, and maybe together, we were each making mistakes. I can live with that because at the end of the day, I’m on your side, and I know you’re on mine.