off sides

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.



  1. Nobody has the right to say "Jesus, that skirt" to you, unless they mean it in a "That skirt is so hot it flusters me" sort of way. Especially not your date. A good response might be–"You're absolutely right, I should go home and change immediately. See you never."

  2. Ugh I hate that. They should just be glad that we are with them instead of some more deserving guy.

    And I am so judgmental as well. I pick on everyone and anyone.

  3. I think we're all judgemental to a certain extent. It's just how much we show it that varies from person to person.

  4. I think you all just may date losers. Or maybe there are just a lot of losers out there and you happen to be getting them. In any event, I hope things improve for all of you.

  5. why don't people remember not to give unasked for advice? this week someone told me everything that I am doing wrong with my life and what I should (my least favorite word) be doing. I found myself defending myself, and then later, simmering and wanting to write an email saying I did not ask you, so why did you feel the need to tell me?

    when people judge me and tell me what to do, how to dress, what to say, etc., usually it's their prob.

    but my prob is then, why am I with them?

  6. It could be some of those making comments forgot an important point that Stephanie appears to be making; keep an open mind when it comes to criticism, even when though the criticism is not expressed delicately. When criticism is harsh but contains an indication of being constructive or having been made with benevolent intentions, it presents an opportunity for the one being criticized to learn and to teach the one criticizing that there is a better way to express oneself. As I was writing something yesterday, I couldn't help sympathizing with a former professor who would throw erasers and chalk at us and mock us and our parents for having brought us into this world. I was being a critic and felt the same frustration he must have felt, and was able to restrain myself to a large degree. However, now I cannot help feeling that had I read the the above post before writing the critique I would have expressed myself more delicately and been more persuasive.

    Anyway, Stephanie, in reading your blog, we have followed you up a mountain of personal growth, and I am happy to note that with this post it appears we have arrived on a sunny day at a spectacular scenic overlook (one of many to follow I hope). I am happy that I kept on reading even though at times I could have sworn that it appeared cloudy all the way up to the summit. By the way, my favorite picture of you is the one in which your hair is covered with a scarf and you are wearing a green sweater. It appears as though you are taking your own photo using a mirror. Maybe you can write about the context in which that photo was taken.

    The professors in the academy say, "Do not make the model more beautiful than she is," and my soul whispers, "O if you could only paint the model as beautiful as she really is."
    –Khalil Gibran from a letter dated November 8, 1908

  7. Sometimes this quip helps me in those situations where I'm just getting too much feedback on me: "Your opinion of me is none of my business."

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