Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bare


A few days ago I was at the beach by myself. It was my day off and I needed to get away from the constant pull of the internet, so I packed my beach bag with a book, my journal, and sketch pad and settled into the warmth of the sand and the sound of the waves. During the few hours that I was there, a group of four or five teenage girls set up camp nearby me so I observed them for a while. I noticed one of the girls was quite a bit bigger than the others and that, instead of wearing a swimsuit, she had covered herself up in an oversized t-shirt and soccer shorts. The first thoughts that entered my mind were more judgmental than I'd care to admit. Actually, judgmental isn't the right term. My thoughts leaned more towards pity. Either way, I didn't like having those thoughts so I made a conscious effort to change them.

Another of the girls in the group, tall, thin, and stylish, appeared to the complete opposite of the first girl, and what you might call, a "diva". Judging by appearances only, I assumed that she would just lay out on her towel and tan, become immersed in her phone, and ignore the people around her.

I was pleasantly surprised by both of these girls. The first girl kicked off her sandals and was the first one in the water, diving under and swimming back and forth between the waves. The second girl, wasting no time in following the first, quickly removed her sunglasses and large hoop earrings and tied her hair up as she ran in after her friend. By these actions, the first girl expressed a confidence and a carefree attitude that I assumed she lacked because of supposed "body issues", and the second girl proved to have a relatability that I think many people believe pretty and stylish girls don't have.

I'm glad that I had this experience because I know that I can have a problem with being judgmental. I often make decisions based on first impression judgments about a person and, sadly, those impressions stay with me for a long time, until proven otherwise, and I miss out on having a relationship with people who are different from me. For example, some of my favorite co-workers are the ones who I know I would never have talked to had we met during any other circumstances. I know that using judgment in certain situations can be important for keeping yourself safe, but judging whether someone is valuable based on how they look or they way they talk is not a fulfilling way to live your life.

Let me leave you with this quote that I found on Pinterest: "You can't judge people and touch their souls at the same time."

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