Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"No judgement"

A few weeks ago, I was propositioned in the middle of the night for something that would be both degrading and morally wrong. I found the whole thing really rather hilarious. Anyone who knows me at all would know that I wouldn't really consider anything like that. So the fact that a young man would even ask, I found funny in itself.

I told several people the story, thinking they would find it as amusing as I did, but I was surprised at the answer that I got from almost every one of them: "Did you do it? No judgement."

I know they were sort of joking, sort of kidding. But what bothered me was the amount of truth in what they were saying. I was confused that they would think it even a possibility for me. And, truthfully, I was discouraged that they wouldn't judge me. At least in that situation.

So, I'm putting it out there: I want to be judged. I guess I can't choose just one kind of judgement, so I'll open myself up to it all. Clearly I don't want hateful and mean judgement, the kind that ruins friendships and lives. And of course some judgements are out of place, misinformed, or just plain wrong.

But if you know me, and you know I'm living below my standards, below decency, below myself: I want people to tell me. I want them to correct me. I want them to judge me. I've heard it said that there is nothing more discouraging than when people stop trying to correct you; it means they no longer care and they've given up on you. I agree with that. I can't imagine something more lonely. And so, I want those that are closest to me to expect more of me than I think I can give; I want them to encourage me to do more and be more; I want them to -- lovingly -- help me become better. (Ha. LOVE ME!)

I appreciate the sentiment of "no judgement" -- professing that unconditional love. But in situations where the two choices are clearly good or bad -- I don't want people accepting "bad" from me. That doesn't mean that they have to stop loving me or that recognizing "bad" means they have less love. I appreciate love, and I -- as I've said before -- really want to embody it as best I can.

But, clearly, if people thought I would engage in that behavior several weeks ago, I haven't been embodying what I want. I've been concerned lately about who I'm becoming. And by "lately," I mean for the last few years. (I'm sure I've written about this before.) I'm not sure if it's a reflection of me, or of others, but I get discouraged especially when I feel like no one expects or encourages more. It seems they almost encourage me to falter and fail, so they can prove they won't judge me. This just won't work for me. I think a little accountability could be good for all of us.

It's been bothering me long enough. I'm going on a kick of self-improvement, and so I offer it again, an open invitation: "I hope you judge me."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A little embarrassed.

I really like the TV show House, but I can't say I really watch it much. I don't know why. I probably have more time to watch television than I actually use. But I saw an episode last night and something Wilson said kind of struck me. In fact, I've been giving it more thought than a simple TV quote should garner in a healthy individual.

He was talking about people -- the people that really influence your life -- and he said, "You don't get to pick your family; I'm not even sure, anymore, that you get to pick who your friends are."

This intrigued me. I'm not a fatalist. I don't think, necessarily, that things are "meant" to happen. But I've often thought about the people in my life: why there are some people that just always seem to be around -- even when I don't make much effort; why some people leave unexpectedly; why some people always mean to make more effort, but never do; why some are easy to let go; why there are some that you can't quite seem to remove; why there are some you would be desperate without; and the small, happenstance, almost impulse decisions that change your entire social circle. I feel like -- of all the things that could happen, of all the people that could be in my life, of all the major influences in my life -- the people that surround me, and have surrounded me, are not just by coincidence. But I can't say I really "chose" any of it. Most the time, the things that I choose on my own don't really work out. It's the unexpected that sticks around and that makes the lasting difference. But the things those people bring out in me are so crucial to who I am, I don't believe it's entirely chance.

I don't know that I have a ton of life philosophies yet. But I have a few:
  • The best decisions in life will always be the ones that seem like a long-shot and you go after it anyway because your gut tells you to -- even if it doesn't turn out like you thought.
  • You'll never regret trying hard to be a better person.
  • The people around you matter. A lot. And I think I'm just seeing the tip of the iceberg on this one.
So, to all my friends and readers (maybe some of you will see this), thank you. Thank you for being people that I can aspire to emulate. Thank you for making my life meaningful. Thank you for helping me see the world in new ways, for encouraging me to be better, and for being patient with my hundreds of weaknesses.

Ok. The cheese is over for a minute. It'll be back, I'm sure. You never know. This hit me watching House. Next time it might be from the slogan of some local restaurant. I'm not quite sure how, but I have a feeling "Switch to Geico and Save" might just describe how I'm feeling about something one of these days.

What about you? Any life philosophies you want to share? (And, please, don't feel obligated to share in my gush. I hear that too much cheese makes your breath stink. But there's probably room for a little more, if you want.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Have you ever noticed how weird the word "shirt" is?

The other day I bought some fabric from this site. I didn't have a specific plan for it, but there were so many cute options! It became a need almost immediately.

Then I went over to my sister's house and saw a shirt she'd made. She is always a good source of inspiration.

Meld the two together, with a holiday, a couple of free hours, a $3 t-shirt, and a viewing of Shawshank Redemption and you'll end up with this:

(Please ignore the absence of any sort of discernable chin in that last photo. I thought I had one, but it appears I may just have a ch-neck... a check... a nin... a nechin... whatever it's called.)