[Update: I removed several images I had originally posted with linkbacks to their original sites. Copyright is a touchy thing, so the post now only hyperlinks to the images. Sorry about that.]
My New Year’s resolutions are usually resolutions not to make resolutions. I mean, come on, if I need to start over in the self-improvement department, why wait for a cold, dark day in January? Act now, baby!
This year, however, was different. I actually made my first resolution in probably 25 years. And well, six months into 2012, so far so good.
So what was the resolution?
To be less judgmental. Not because I think I’m a highly critical individual, but because I want to be more Zen. I want to fill my life with more peace and open my mind to truly try to see things from other people’s perspectives. I’d really like to temper that initial holy-shit-what-the-hell-is-s/he-thinking response and become more of a quiet observer.
I mean, how many times could I actually learn something about life and humanity if I look and listen instead of dismissing things out of hand? Who am I to say what is or isn’t right for someone’s journey? How do I know what his or her circumstances or shaping forces have been?
My dad has told the story many times about when I was a little girl and used to follow him around asking, “why” – “how come” – “and then what?” He said I was relentless in my search for the meaning of things.
What happened to that little girl?
I want her sense of wonder back.
To do that, I have to stop forming snap judgments and instead ask, observe, and listen.
Recently, a woman showed me her pierced nipples. After my involuntary quiver, I thought, wow, that’s pretty neat. I asked her how she had the guts to get the second one done after the first one. She said it wasn’t that bad. In fact, getting her belly button pierced hurt worse.
Huh, I thought. I did the pierced belly button thing. Maybe…and what if…(click for a well-done image of a nipple piercing)…
But I’m really happy for her. It looks beautiful. It makes her feel strong and sexy and confident. That’s all that matters, right?
This Zen-business gets seriously tested around some of the more hard-core body modifications, though.
And subdermal implants… (Warning: if you click this picture, be prepared for some really intense, graphic and bloody images on this webpage.)
And good-old forked tongues…
And the list could go on and on.
Obviously I’m talking about so much more than judgment about body modifications in this post, but I felt this was a good representation of behavior and a lifestyle that isn’t always “understood” by the general public.
So, if a certain choice makes someone happy and it doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process, it’s not my place to judge. I may not be able to always hold back an OMG WTF! But then, I’d like to ask…Why? What does it do for you? How come? And then what? Tell me more…
Maybe then I’ll understand and be the better for it. Even if it’s still not for me.
What do you think? Is passing judgment on other people’s choices (that don’t hurt others) ever acceptable?