Friday, 9 January 2015

The Contradiction of Individuality: We All Judge Each Other

pretty girl image, danielle arapis image, naked 2 image, curly hair image
“Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?” 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Millennials, as a general rule, are less judgmental than our predecessors. We are waging our own war against unnecessary prejudice, and we know better than to indulge a narrow mind. We are often lost but sometimes found, we are explorers and romantics. We are old soul daydreams and moments of new age digital wizardry. Yet somehow, someone somewhere wants answers from us. They want you to repent your sins, and explain yourself. Someone you know has decided it's Judgement Day, and they want your truths. Who are you?

Still, we all cast a judging eye from time to time. Sometimes it's that girl with the overdone Kylie Jenner lip liner, sometimes we judge that guy with the sour expression on his face.

We wonder what they are trying to prove, and who they are trying to fool. They're wondering the same about you, and we are all trying to fool each other.

We have fed on the insatiable need to be different and we became champions against the soldiers of conformity. We fight for the right to be unique, but time and time again I see people sticking labels and hate, throwing sticks and stones.

We understand the need to be equal, the need to be tolerant. We don't discriminate against the obvious, things like sexual orientation, gender or disability. We don't discriminate against homelessness or mental health. We discriminate against the little things. The petty, the potential and the pointless.

“Equal rights for all, special privileges for none.” 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

The truth is that occasionally we don't like what we see in other people. 

Why?

Whether you are clean or dirty, rich or poor, recklessly damaged or perfectly cut, there is always something to complain about. Even if someone is perfect on paper, we pick at blemishes in their character, appearance or personality. We'll find a reason to mistrust them, and we'll do so because of the tiniest imperfection.

There will always be extremes. You'll have your sugar and spice, and a world of war and peace. You'll always have honeys and lemons, Indian summers and black storm clouds, Taylor Swifts and Kim Kardashians. There are always peculiar polar opposites.

You often feel misjudged and misunderstood. You often have to fight for what you are.

"Atticus, he was real nice.."
"Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

For me, people claim that I am the center of all gossip. They think that I'm calculating, and that I'm disruptive. Word gets out, I get the blame. People start fighting, I get the bullet wounds. Yet it's all just white noise to me. They don't understand that I don't ask for information, despite my ability to extract it. They don't understand that I am not a mole, and that I don't play Chinese whispers for fun, or at all.

For you, some would say you'd shoot a bullet instead of take one, some would say you'd fly away instead of fight in the ring, and some would say you were litter in the gutter instead of a black diamond.

I would say, "that's such a waste."

People who judge you are often motivated by reasons that you cannot understand. Maybe you know their story as little as they know yours. I find it easy to believe that we all have blind spots when it comes to other human beings.

'There ain't one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I'm gonna join the circus and laugh my head off.'
'You got it backwards, Dill,' said Jem. 'Clowns are sad, it's folks that laugh at them.'
'Well I'm gonna be a new kind of clown. I'm gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks.” 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Beneath the frost of first impressions, behind the guard dogs and high gates and beneath passwords and padlocks, we are all in disguise. You keep them out as much as they push you. The point is, everybody hides.

“I do my best to love everybody...I'm hard put,sometimes- baby,its never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is,it doesn't hurt you.” 

― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Accept that we cannot love all things, and they cannot love us in return. That's okay, because love doesn't need to be felt from every person, but acceptance does. If we can accept that we are all human, we can go from there.

“You see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live.
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

I like to think that I'm an accepting person, as life has time and time again proven me wrong about people, and myself. But I'll admit it, there are some people that I like but I judge them for choices that they make purely because I wouldn't make them. I admit that I know better. Yet I know that they judge me too, and I'm pretty much alright with that because I know I'll beat their expectations, like they may do with mine.

I don't do name calling, slut shaming or humiliation.
I don't judge strangers whose faces pass me by.
I think small criticisms about the people that I know.

If you're honest with yourself, you'll say that you sometimes do this too.

You wear a mask to hide your identity, this mask then becomes the identity you've always wanted. It becomes the identity you've built. 

As people break you down, bits and pieces slip out from under the plastic of your disguise. They take one piece, they throw it away. They pick up another, they keep it for themselves. Bit by bit, they love you or hate you, and your identity becomes as much of what they make it as what you have created by yourself. But you become so much more than what somebody decides for you. You are who you are, and only you can define your identity.

We are all contradictions, and we are all complications. We all want to try someone else on for size, and we all want to try to emulate different people, become different things. There's no fun in hiding anymore unless it's a game, so it's time for us to breathe, and unmask. I think I'm okay with what's underneath mine.