Suburban Snapshots

I'm Probably Judging You
Right Now

Monday, February 18, 2013

There's a woman who has a daughter in Anna's gymnastics class. She is bleached blonde, fit, maybe a couple years younger than I am, has great taste in expensive boots, and is always 100% pulled together. Naturally the first few times I saw her in class I thought things like, "Hm. Must be nice to have a pile of money." "I bet the nanny watches her kid while she goes for her highlights." Then I heard myself and realized how ugly my automatic monologue was, how I wouldn't want to hang out with a friend who talked this way about other people. I got pretty sick of my shit.

Last week I posted a status update letting my readers know that we'd had to put our dog down that afternoon, but I worded it in a way that for some suggested I'd euthanized the dog because he'd bitten Anna -- he did bite Anna, 4 years ago, and we kept him and worked it out. I came back to my page an hour later and it had EXPLODED with comments from people calling me a "bad parent and bad dog owner", going on about how irresponsible I was, and to equally as many comments from others defending me. You all who chimed in there were calm and civil, and I truly appreciate that.

I'm just so tired of it, and I'm a total hypocrite about it. I'm judgmental and I have judgement fatigue. We are all guilty and I feel like the Internet has made it that much easier, blogging has made so many easy targets. It can be wonderful and connecting and it can bring out the ugly side of people with nothing of value to contribute. And I'm especially exhausted by the mom-bashing, and by the hype about competition and cattiness.

Sure, it totally exists. Just last week I read a post by a blogger criticizing other writers for complaining too much about their kids (I'd written a similar post back when I was a rookie). I got exhausted reading the blog of a man who spent thousands of words outlining in detail the reasons he didn't care for another writer. Even if his reasons had been legit, it was a tiring diatribe. Ain't nobody got time for that.

I don't believe this is who we really are, even those of us who spout nothing but misguided criticisms from our eager fingertips. My relationships with other women in real life are pretty amazing; even my relationship with bloggers I've never met have been nothing but supportive and genuine (and OMG hilarious).

So I guess I'm trying to remember what I really know about the relationships I have, and the friendships that only exist online. I'm sure I'll still wear my Hello, My Name is Judgy McJudgerson nametag often but I'm conscious of it, I'll check myself and say, "Judgy, don't be an asshole. You don't know what her life is really like."

Because isn't it true, aren't we always finding out that every one of us has a secret struggle?

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