November 22, 2009

back to not judging....or possibly opening a can of worms

we had a great time
walking around downtown yesterday
~~
we saw a little bit of everything and brought it all home on our cameras
adorable kids
interesting clothing options
funny signs
amazing architecture
street musicians
talented artists
~~
but
this is the photo that will stay with me for a very long time
because
a little piece of my heart broke off when I took it
~~
when did any us of decide
that we had the right or even the ability
to judge anyone else
that wasn't
"just like us"
~~
seriously
when and how did that happen
~~
because guess what
we're all
~each and everyone one of us~
"just like us"
~~
last time I checked
we all laugh when we're told a joke
we all sleep when the day has filled us up
we all feel better when we have a warm hand to hold onto
we all know that the sky is blue
we all have hearts that beat loudly inside us
we all bleed when we've been cut
and
we all feel a world of emotions
when we've been left out
talked about
pointed at
made fun of
or
ignored
~~
sure
the lady next to you on the train had really bad body odor
~but we don't know her story to judge her~
~~
sure
the heavily bearded man walking down the street had liquor on his breath
~but we don't know his story to judge him~
~~
sure
the house with the boarded up windows ruins the look of the neighborhood
~but we don't know the story of the people inside to judge them~
~~
we don't
plain and simple
we don't
~~~~~
she didn't mind at all that I took her photo yesterday
and
she didn't even ask what I was going to use it for
~~
I can only hope and pray that she somehow knows that I'm using it
for good
for love
for understanding
~
for letting people know
that we don't have the right to judge anyone
based on
who they love
who they want to come home to at the end of the day
who they want keeping them warm
who they want holding their hand
who they want making them laugh
because if we did
we'd all be judging our friends and family
~~
haven't you maybe said or at least thought
~~
"gosh I don't know what she sees in him"
"how did those two end up together"
"how can she even begin to think he's handsome"
"do you think they'll get married"
~~
I thought maybe you had





39 comments:

  1. This is absolutely heart-breaking. Powerful street scene!

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  2. wonderful photojournalism beth.

    it breaks my heart when people can be so cruel to the children they bore. it does. i may not be happy with someone's choices but it couldn't move me to put them out of my house. especially not a child - not someone that cannot fend for themselves or shouldn't be asked to at this point in their lives.

    it makes me worry for the parent too - what did they go through to be able to be this cold?

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  3. I am constantly adjusting my judge-o-meter so that it is in the off position. I mean, what is someone walked in my house right now. Their judge-o-meter would be going off like crazy if they had it on.

    Also, I REALLY THINK WE SHOULD LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE! Seriously, the sanctity of marriage argument just does not cut it when many heterosexual couples take marriage so lightly. People who want to make a life long commitment to each other, no matter, their gender should be allowed to all the perks of heterosexual couples.

    Beth, thanks for your picture!

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  4. I can't imagine being so cruel to someone. I hope your subject is able to find a roommate from an open-minded family.

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  5. Well, I'm not offended at all, but I think we need to be careful about saying people don't have the right to feel certain ways. They do have the right whether we agree with them or not, and when we say they don't and say they are wrong for feeling as they do, then we are guilty of judging someone who isn't "just like us".

    I feel compassion for the girl in your picture, but I also question her need/her motive to advertise : 1. her sexuality, and 2. the judgement of her roomie's parents. She is quite judgmental, and yet we accept that.

    So I hope I don't offend you. I just think it should work both ways - perhaps the roomie's parents deserve a little understanding also, a little less judging. Nobody knows their story either.

    :) Debi

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  6. Thank you for this post.

    @ Debi: to me it seems that the woman in the picture is simply stating a fact, I didn't see that she added any words of judgment in there. Also, if the oppressed in our society don't "advertise" (put themselves and their message out there), then our awareness of it is limited to what we hear/see from our friends and family and what the mass media chooses to show us.

    For those of us who haven't often had to stand in the margins of society, it is not easy to understand the need some might feel to shout their plight from the rooftops, hoping that some might hear and that something might change so that where you stand isn't in the margins anymore.

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  7. Beth ... this message today was so close to my heart ... thank you for posting this and asking us all to reflect on this subject. I am the proud parent of a gay daughter and the experiences that a gay person deals with on a daily basis are more than we can imagine. Many people may think that they've kept their "judgments" in check and don't broadcast them, but the "subtleties" are usually not really very subtle; in this case, it is obvious that the judgment made was possibly done in a very hurtful way. Yes, the message is bold and she is courageous to go so public.I agree with Lindsey that sometimes there is a need to take a public stand and shake it up and get people emotionally involved. Gay people in general silently stuff down a lot of emotional hurt daily ... the bubbling up and out eventually happens and most major shifts in our thinking require a major emotional event to move us.

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  8. Lindsey - I will give the girl in the picture the benefit of the doubt, although in truth I think by adding the words "because her parents don't want her living with a queer" seem judgmental to me - but she is young and as Eileen said, no doubt quite hurt.

    That said, it is still a right to judge people, and we, right here on this blog, are exercising that right & judging those parents while telling them they shouldn't judge anyone. That makes me uncomfortable. These parents may be wrong, they may just be scared, it may be against their religious beliefs, they may change their minds - we don't know. Perhaps their daughter needs to move away from their influence and financial support, perhaps this will prove to be a growing up moment for her.

    I just think we ourselves cannot judge others, no matter what, if we are going to say it's wrong.

    Debi

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  9. hey this is BETHS BLOG and she loves talking wonderful powerful pictures and today is no exception....i dont think think she put it out there to be stir controversy...she just took the picture..and i know also everyone is entitled to their opinion which is great....blog on beth, blog on with your fab pictures...xox

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  10. Man, what a great post. I work with at-risk youth, in a pretty religious area, and I see this kind of thing all the time. It always breaks my heart.

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  11. What this young person is advertising on the street ... aloneness ... vulnerability ... and perhaps a lack of family support/involvement ... makes my heart quiver ... yes, it is a powerful photo ... hopefully people who truly care about her plight will offer to help her and she won't become another statistic.

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  12. Hello Beth, what a sad, yet powerful picture you have taken. The words, "we don't know their story to judge them" have struck me and will serve me well in future I am sure. Thought provoking post, me lady!

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  13. This is truly a heart breaking post. The picture and her face say it all. And to remember that "we don't" is so true!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  14. i think that this girl might just be angry with her roomie for succumbing to the opinions and pressure of her parents and abandoning her when all along the girl thought they were friends through thick and thin. something akin to a broken heart. i think she needs someone to hug her and tell her it's okay, she's not a bad person, her friend is not a bad person, they are young and cannot always have control of their own destiny. but this is just what i think.

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  15. Thank you, Beth and every one who took the time to comment for discussing the marginalization of those who somehow deviate from the "norm." I agree with Lindsey and Eileen that sometimes people who are judged and discriminated against need to publicize their circumstances in a way that might make others uncomfortable because if they're too nice, too accommodating in the way they package their message, they're too easy to overlook or ignore. It's not the quiet child who gets attention in the classroom, it's the one who is squirming or talking or making a fuss. I once went skiing and shared a room with a friend who happened to be lesbian. Lots of people seemed uncomfortable with that and even more uncomfortable that I wasn't distressed about it. They didn't seem to understand that I wasn't going to change my God-given orientation from that encounter any more than she was. People tend to be afraid and judgmental about what they don't understand and what they fear. It's human nature, I think. The good thing is that change is possible.

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  16. I hope the a picture of this kid makes its way to the parents of the roommate. And I hope the roommate's parents are ashamed of themselves.

    Grrrrrrr. What is wrong with people sometime.

    xo

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  17. your post was good to read...it gives everyone something to think about. i always love visiting your blog. have a good sunday!

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  18. First, I thought it was a boy in the picture. But I wasn't judging. This is a great picture, a great reminder to us all to be more kind and have warmer hearts. It is really sad to see something like this and to admit that life isn't fair.

    I don't like being judgmental. I've never been a parent but If I were, you could be sure that I would be judging all the time. Judges execute discipline and consequences and children need that. I don't think any one of you who has kids can say that you've never told your kid that they couldn't hang out with that drug dealer over there or be alone with that boy who just wants one thing only. We judge all the time, but sometimes it's good. What's not good is to discriminate and be cruel and mean to somebody just because they're different.

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  19. i applaud you beth, for stirring up our thoughts and making us rethink what's wrong/what's right...

    all i know is what i have experienced this far in my own life... all of us can only know what we have been taught and felt and experienced ...sure, there comes a time when we are old enough/wise enough to know that some things are mean or just wrong, but that doesn't always make it easy for us not to react from the place where judgement stems from. i always hope i will do the right thing, say the right thing, but every so often i screw things up and feel badly, that is how i learn... and am learning.

    so for this girl in the heartbreaking photo, i feel for her, the look on her face says enough. i hope she finds a roommate that makes her laugh and feels like she belongs, without parents that care what her sexual preference is. and as for the parents, i feel for them as well... for the fear in their hearts and the confusion in their minds... perhaps one day they will feel differently, but for now this is how they feel.
    and yes, i am 100% guilty of judging people... somedays it is easier to look that them and say "hey, why aren't you exactly like me" rather than change the things i don't like about myself... you know? oh there is so much to learn here on earth... i just hope that i will always keep my heart open... you just never know when something can happen in your life that will make you think differently about something.
    thank you for sharing and listening. xo

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  20. Dear Beth,

    I applaud you for speaking out with this picture and your words. This girl was just saying it like it is, I didn't see it as criticism. Our world would be a better place if we could learn to love those different than ourselves.

    Thanks so much for speaking out.

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  21. Beth, I love the photo, it would have made me sad to see, as everyone no matter what just needs to feel loved and not alone. I would not want to see anyone on the streets or without a home. I applaud you for posting this picture. We all need to be real about the fact that the world is not all sugar and cream. Good for you!

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  22. I too think this is good photo-journalism. The photo is a sad statement, but I admire this girl's guts. You did us a service by posting this.

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  23. her message: sad - powerful - moving - real
    your message: positive - powerful - moving - right on

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  24. why would he do that??? but that's besides the point. i don't believe any of us earthly creatures have the right to judge another. full stop.

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  25. Hi Beth,...you've outdone yourself again and made me cry for this youngster. YOU are SO right. Who are we to judge. This is my main lesson for my boys supporting them to grow up and be understandible guys.

    I thank you from the bottom of my cracked heart by putting this wonderful post out. Never ever should we judge, no matter what color you have who you love were you live how you look like etc etc. It's LOVE that counts.

    I hope she find her soulmate and beams for the rest of her life to come. I wish her and every single one who's out there that a hurt no matter in what way that they will be loved big time.
    Hugs from me to you my dear friend. I'm So So So gladd I've got you in my life.
    Dagmar

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  26. I love you beth.

    I love this post. And I have been working with this one for a little while now - it ain't easy sometimes ! But breaking those patterns by shining that bright light of love on them - that is sooooo the way to go. Thank you for this !
    Big hugs, Brilliant One !

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  27. This brought up an ugly incident in my university days, when my stepfather refused to give his blessing on my possible room mate because her boyfriend wasn't "white" . And this wasn't that long ago. I didn't listen , but told her. And took out a larger student loan .

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  28. Oh my gosh...powerful and heartbreaking. But thought provoking and I admire her strength and taking a stand! Thank you for sharing this.

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  29. That picture tells so many stories, and while it has evoked many viewpoints and opinions and feelings, I just want to wrap my arms around that girl and protect her. Our society is very much governed by fear, isn't it?
    We need more love.
    xoxoxo

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  30. Have truer words been spoken?! Thank you for this post and for sharing all of the wonderful photos! Such wonderful computer eye candy for my blog roll surfing.

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  31. Johnhome for the whole week? (Reading backwards!) Hope so! Happy TG week!

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  32. this made me so sad.
    your thoughts on not knowing where people come from is what i try to remind myself everyday to maintain patience with my students.
    thanks for always having such thought-provoking, kind posts.

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  33. heartbreaking. i don't have to know her, to love her.
    xo

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  34. This is just the BEST post!!

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**I love reading the comments you leave, as they make me feel like we're sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of tea, discussing life and wondering where all the time has gone ...beth