06 February 2010

RAW::What do you see

"It’s easy to reject what we don’t understand.
It’s so hard to embrace when we do." ~Angelia Sims

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Do you only see the wrinkles and age spots and stray grays? Or are you impressed with the beauty that God gave you?

Do you only see yourself as the labels that you place on yourself, that your job pigeon-holes you into, that others - outside your sphere of influence - peg you with? Or are you able to embrace the woman that you are, fully aware of your flaws and loving yourself anyway?

What about the women that you encounter every day? The ones you meet on the street, stand behind in the grocery store check out? The ones close up that you see everyday at work, or school or in your neighborhood? And the ones that you view from afar, through their blogs, on TV, in the news?

Barbara Walters on 20/20 last night had a very interesting show that I caught part of last night about the women behind the men of the wave of political scandals. A sort of 'where are they now' piece. I am not interested in the salacious details of the affairs that rocked these marriages, these political careers. I do not care what party their husband's represented, nor why they did what they did. What I was most interested in was the strength and grace and poise that these women exhibited. I was interested in their choices.

There is a case for standing by your man and running like hell. I don't really judge their choices either way. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be confronted with that sort of infidelity. I cannot imagine having to explain that to my children. Therefore, I will not judge them. I will not be party to dragging them down because of my perceptions of what I think is right.

Recently I pledged all of my sales in the month of January at the Gallery Q where my jewelry is sold to the Haitian relief efforts. I was talking to a woman from my church who told me that she really appreciated what I was doing, but that she had a conversation with another woman at church who was saying some very judgmental things about me, my jewelry and questioning my reason for doing such a thing. I don't really care about gossip. And I won't be corroborating this story. But what really bothered me was the thought that this person - whom I admire, who's children go to school with mine, who's laughter lights up a room, who is an artist in her own right - might not be what I thought. I thought she was a friend, a kindred spirit, the kind of person I would like to know better. But she obviously doesn't think highly of me for some reason.

When I was much younger {and who knows? Maybe even still.} I have heard that people thought I was stuck up. They wouldn't speak to me and created a persona for me that wasn't true. They came to their own conclusion without ever knowing me. Then by some chance, they would get to know me. And we would open up. We would laugh. We would share our souls. And these same women would sheepishly tell me that at one time they thought I was stuck up but that I wasn't like that at all. I have no idea why I gave off that vibe {if I still do, will you tell me, please?}, but I am very glad that there were those who took the time to get to know me. Who looked past their initial prejudices and snap judgments and discovered what was under my veneer. And we all have veneers. Some are just thicker than others.

Those disparaging remarks that were passed along may or may not be the whole truth, but the message that I got was I was being portrayed as disingenuous, out for some sort of personal gain, and that my art was not worth what I have it priced at. And God wanted to challenge me because this past week I was sitting at the same lunch table with her. She asked how the sale went. We shared some nice conversation, and even traded some ideas. She has no notion that I know about her remarks. And I won't say another word about it. And yes, I still want to know her and be her friend. But unfortunately, I am a bit more wary. And that makes me sad.

Words hurt. Judgments based on hearsay and erroneous perceptions is wrong. I won't be sucked into a vortex of pettiness. I won't. But it made me stop and think about how we treat others based on things that we don't understand.

Angelia Sims is a writer I have just discovered who writes a blog called Living, Loving, Laughing. I am a new follower. Yesterday she wrote a post that was so raw and real that I feel compelled to share it with you for my Random Act of Wisdom {I know, day late}. The post is titled "When I see a woman..." and I urge you to read it. It is long. But it is so full of truth that when I read it I ended with tears... of recognition, yes {I see myself in those women}... but also of joy. Joy at being seen for who I really am. Joy at the chance to let down a facade that is not true to who I am. Joy that there is hope that we can move past judgments and move to a real understanding of the beauty within.

Embrace yourself and let yourself be embraced.

Do you identify with any of the women described?
Have you ever found yourself making judgments based on outward appearances?
Was there ever a time when you were completel
y wrong about someone?
Do tell!


Don't forget...
Inspired by... The Solar System is going on now!
I have decided to extend the time to play... You now have until Sunday, February 28th to enter. I am hoping that more of you will want to play if you have a bit more time.
And here is the prize that I will be sending to one lucky random winner.
"Nebulae" inspired by the Orion Nebulae featuring a beautiful lampworked bead by Cathie Roberts with a veritable star field of swarovski crystals dangling below. Go on and get inspired!

Check It Out::Living, Loving, Laughing

Enjoy the day!


SummersStudio said...

Oh yes, I have made errors of judgement about people and I am completely humbled by those times. What I always learn, though, is it is the judgement in the first place that was the problem for me. I am not perfect, as none of us are, but what I try to do is approach people/realtionships as a blank canvas. It will fill itself in time. I don't need to see the completed portrait immediately. I just need to be part of the process. I don't know if that makes sense. I will definitely come back to the blog you mention. This interests me very much.

I am very sorry for the misunderstanding of your intention with donating your proceeds to Haiti. That is sad indeed. Unfortunately, I think that there are way too many people who do not take the time to examine things and instead just leap to judgement. Judgement is much easier than thinking.

This reminds me of a story my daughter told me just today. She was quite hurt by the reaction of another nurse on her ICU ward. It was the birthday of her patient. My daughter arranged with dietary to have a little birthday cake made. She also went to the hospital gift shop to buy a simple 'happy birthday' balloon and a card for her patient. The reaction of her co-worker was that this was ridiculous. Why would you ever do this? It is not our job. Leaping to judgement without seeing a simple act of kindness. Very sad.

Erin, I am very wordy here. But you have touched on an issue that I think about quite often. Thank you for this post.

Jenners said...

Oh how awful to hear someone say such horrible things about you and then have to be around her. It is so hard to deal with that in a way that is positive. I mean who feels good about that?

Angelia Sims said...

Erin-Nicely done. Thank you so much for your words and for YOUR story. Know that "friend" spoke out of fear. Fear she wasn't doing enough. Fear her talent was not near the talent of yours. Most people gossip in FEAR and self-doubt. Know it was against herself and not you. She needs to know she IS good enough.

I LOVE this "Joy that there is hope that we can move past judgments and move to real understanding of the beauty within."

How true. We are all BEAUTIFUL. Thank you Erin. Thank you with all my heart. <3 xoxo

Lance said...

First off, I just want you to know that you come across to me as being filled with love, caring, kindness, and a spirit that touches my soul.

And I too read Angelia's post - which I found to be so moving. As I think about it further, and have really had time to let it sink in, I'm reminded of a quote:

“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.” ~ Robert Fulghum

Our words are powerful things. And who are we, anyway, to judge others?

Erin, thank you for being "you"...

Riki Schumacher said...

What a wonderful post. I truly enjoyed your openness and willingness to share this experience. I love how you are rising above this, and coming out the happier for it. I don't understand why we're all so hard on each other, life is so short. So many believe their words are unimportant, not knowing they can be such daggers. There have been so many times I have been wrong about someone, then I try to remind myself, people are so much more than appearance. Have a great weekend Erin. Thinking of you. Riki

Mellisa - Chinook Jewelry said...

Wow, passing judgment on someone (at church no less) because of their philanthropy? Interesting choice... It's such a shame that she was a person you had respect for, I think that makes her comments all the more hurtful. You are a bigger person than I would be as far as continuing to get to know her!

Be~Jeweled by Jana said...

Without elaborating, just let me say that I can relate to nearly everything in this post. I share your views.

mairedodd said...

well, erin i am so very sorry that others have caused you pain... people can be so threatened by the good in others - so bizarre... she obviously has her own issues and instead of dealing with them, she lashed out on you... maybe she felt guilty because she hasn't put herself out there to help - well, instead of hurting you, go do something yourself... 'first do no harm.' such a simple philosophy and yet so underused... you are a kind-hearted, generous woman, each day every day...
and with the challenge? you had me at blue's clues!! :0)
i am also going to read the blog you suggested... thank you -

EmandaJ said...

Hello Erin,

I too have been hurt by the judgements of others. I happen to be a pretty shy person, sort of self-contained on purpose. Not because I want to separate myself from others, but to protect my shy soul. I cannot count the number of times I've been told by new friends that they at first thought I was "stuckup". Even my husband had that as a first impression!

I also learned an important lesson about judging others when I befriended a client at an agency where I volunteered. First impression of him was fear because of all his tattoos and piercing and wild hairstyle. He turned out to be the gentlest soul I have ever met. He has since died, God rest him.

Keep doing our good!

Cindy said...

Hello Erin
What an inspiring post, as always. I'm sorry about what you went through with the women at church/school. That is really surprising to me, but you are truly the "bigger" person for how you handled it later in the week. I'm ashamed to say I have misjudged others at times - it can be all too easy to make a quick judgement. Usually they are wrong. Thank you for reminding us about that age-old saying, "you can't judge a book by the cover!" :-)


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