Sunday, May 15, 2011

Judging Others

I went to a small party yesterday for a writer who was in town. Her book is selling well and there is some activity to sell an option for a film. A few of her books have been made into films. I had met her before and thought we got along and said hello to her and congratulated her on her latest book and was snubbed which surprised me and the few people I knew as well included Alice. I did not get my feelings hurt, however, as I figured she must have gotten me mixed up with someone else or something to that effect.

Alice took me aside and said that the writer was mad at me for writing a negative review of her book in the New York Review of Books. I responded that I have never written for the book review ever. I think I felt a bit flattered that someone thought I did. I said: "I don't travel in those circles."

"Oh, she has this condition that she can't recognize faces so she uses body shapes. The writer that she has mistaken you for is built like you. Actually, she is much younger than you and she is overweight like you. "

That statement made me feel quite alone as I looked around the room and realized that all of the people there were younger and slimmer than I was. I stopped enjoying the party and went home. I recognized those old feelings when I let my looks define who I was and it was happening all over again. At the party I was telling myself about the weight I lost and all of the things I had accomplished but it did not do any good. I still could not make myself any younger. I just wanted to go someplace and be alone so I would not be compared with anyone.

Sometimes, I can be a bit thick. It took a while before I detached enough to think more rationally. Someone who recognizes people through body size has rocks in their head. I know other people who have the very real condition of not being able to recognize people by face including the writer and physician Oliver Sacks. I also have been reviewed by writers for things that I have done and never would treat someone rudely because of their opinions. Still, I reacted to something I thought I dismissed out of my life, being judged purely on my looks and nothing else. The old specter of self-hatred had come back into my life. I reacted to it by turning up the volume.

Of course, the real judge that makes these negative comments about me is myself. I accepted this way of dealing with people; and evidently I am still doing it otherwise I would not have slipped into the old habit so readily. It is along the old line of judging people by skin color, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion and so on. I was getting my hair cut the other day by someone who is also writing a book about her experiences as a beautician when she told me that when a customer found out she was a Roman Catholic he said "I am so sorry." He was judging her on her religion. The human being that doesn't do it at all must be very special and I think a happy person.

Being judged as an overweight senior citizen made me feel alienated from the group of that party where a few minutes before I felt fine and included. Whether the people there thought that way or not is unknown. Thinking back on it, I don't think they did. Each person was too busy trying to fit in themselves. In the past she was friendly to me. I have been judged negatively on my body size in the past and now that I have passed into the realm of the senior citizen I am being judged on that role and that is negative on the most part. I am not able to change that since it is the way humans interact with each other. What really needs to change is, of course, myself; and I am the only one I can change anyhow.

There are always going to be silly people and I am sure there are people who think I am so inclined. I still think that writer is a good and will continue to read her and if the New York Review of Books ever wants me to review anything I would certainly do it. Instead of weighing myself on the scale or looking at the progressing calendar, I really need to accept me as I am so I can accept everyone else. It is for my own good that I do this. It is healthier for my inner self to do so and the less negativity in the world is healthier for the world as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment