Trying Not to be Judge-y

Ever see someone and wonder what they are like, up close and personal? I do, because I am a natural nosy person. Not long ago I was in a store (you know—the one where you can buy clothing and jewelry, food, wine, auto parts, toothpaste, etc. and pick up your medications) and noticed a young woman who was very ‘out there’ in her fashion choices and makeup. She was probably in her mid-20s, and was very pretty.

She had chin-length blonde hair, tipped in violet (a style I would LOVE to try if my own hair wasn’t so short), and was tall and slim. She had quite a few tattoos and piercings, including a sparkly nose ring and a belly button ring. Her outfit was short shorts, woven platform sandals, a cropped top and lots of jewelry.

I happened to run into her close to the check-out lines. She was talking on her SmartPhone, so, nosy as I am, I took a look at her purchases. There were some pretty high-end things in there, including an organic chicken, a boiled lobster, avocados, fresh pomegranate juice, endive (an expensive and delicious kind of lettuce), brie cheese and a large jar of macadamia nuts.

As she talked on her phone, she pulled out her card to have it ready for the check-out line. I was close enough to see that it was an EBT card.

Well, I’m ashamed to say that my first reaction went something like this: “Well! That’s a lot of pretty fancy stuff for a gal using an EBT card! I wonder how much all those tattoos and piercings cost?”

What a crass and judge-y thing to think. Of all the times I yammer on about taking the high road and looking for the good in other people—and this is what came first into my mind? Have I learned NOTHING about judging people based on what I see?

Honestly, I felt lower than whale poop. What is it about us humans that we want to believe the worst about our fellow man? Who am I to judge anyone? Is my life and the way I do things so perfect?

That lovely girl might have worked her way out of an abusive relationship and was claiming her life back. She might be in the process of getting herself together and enjoying a few luxuries after years of want. She might be all alone in the world and was making her own way on her own.

Or she could have just been another human being doing what she wanted to do; it is her life, not mine. Am I such an example of the perfect person? Hardly.

The moral of this true story is this: we are none of us perfect. We can’t know someone based on what we see. We don’t like to be judged on superficial things, and we don’t appreciate it when people who don’t know us make unfair judgements on how we live our lives.

I hope that I can remember this the next time I jump to conclusions. Lesson learned—I hope.

Pink Wallpaper?!

When Mom and Dad and I moved into our first house in Wolfeboro, NH, Mom chose beautiful wallpaper for each room (except mine; my room was large and had paneling on the walls, which suited me fine). I’m not a fan of wallpaper; I prefer paint or wood. However, I did grow up with wallpaper.

When the Crankee Yankee and I moved into the house in Exeter, NH where he and his brother grew up, the first thing I noticed was the wallpaper. Each and every room had it, except for the bathroom.

At first I wanted to tear down all the wallpaper in the house, and paint the walls the colors I loved. I pictured the kitchen, office and hallway in a warm buttery yellow, the bathroom in lime, the bedroom in aqua (the one room that we did strip off the wallpaper and then paint!), and the living room in a coppery gold.

But after going through the incredibly time-consuming and messy business it was to remove the wallpaper in the bedroom, prepare the sheetrock and then paint it, I never wanted to do it again.

I tried to ignore the wallpaper; actually, in the kitchen it’s not bad at all. It’s that Williamsburg pineapple print so popular in the ’70s. (I still like it because it reminds me of Hawaii, and I do love all things Hawaiian!).

But the living room had been papered in a light pink with tiny flowers. Not my style at all. So I just tried to ignore it. Sometimes it worked, but mostly it didn’t. But as you know in life, things change.

So how exactly does a pink flowered living room change without a room demolition? Easier than you’d think. Pink things kept coming into my life, and wouldn’t you know it—all that pinkery worked in the living room! It was just as though the Universe was telling me to get used to pink as I was going to have a lot of it.

I came into possession of two lovely pink conch shells. Four pictures that I love have pink backgrounds. The beautiful Persian rug we inherited from the Crankee Yankee’s aunt has both rose and pink in it. And get this—since we now have most of Mom’s and Dad’s furniture in storage from the house in Wolfeboro—their couch and matching chair (which we will eventually move into our house) are covered in a brown, green, ivory and PINK print!

So with life along with wallpaper, just go with the flow. It’s funny how things happen and how some people are just meant for pink wallpaper—whether they know it or not. Who knew?

Beauty is a Many-Splendored Thing

How do you define beauty? By this I mean, what makes a person beautiful?

When I look at our two granddaughters, Ava and Juliette (whom we all call “Juju B”), this is what I see: Ava at five years old, strong and sturdy, with her own *fashion sense, her dad’s deep dimples and her mother’s amazing smile.

Juju B at six months old, wide eyed and gummy-grinned, is happy about life in general and is trying to skip the whole crawling thing; she wants to walk first. To the Crankee Yankee and me, they are breathtakingly gorgeous and perfect in every way.

But for non-family people, how do we define beauty? Oh, it’s easy enough to pick up the latest glossy fashion magazine and view all the gorgeous people in them wearing fabulous clothes and jewelry. But how about the rest of us?

What exactly makes someone beautiful? Is it perfectly symmetrical features, perfect hair, smooth skin, a “triple zero” figure, the “right” clothes? Looking back over the different decades, my own standards of fashion and beauty have changed.

Fashion changes quickly, as do makeup trends. Somewhere along the way, we find our own look; we find what works for us.

At my age, I have to laugh to see “new trends” evolve; often they are just a rehash of fashions past. I have lived through platform shoes, “granny” gowns and square tinted glasses, the Carnaby look popular during the “British invasion,” mini skirts and midi skirts, fishnet stockings and knee socks, active wear and yoga pants, heavy jewelry and minimalist jewelry, and so much more.

Let me say at this point that being this age is amazing  in that I no longer slavishly follow fashion trends the way I used to. I’ve mentioned this incredible woman before; Iris Apfel, 93 year old fashion maven. I love this quote of hers:

“When you don’t dress like everyone else you don’t have to think like everyone else.”

Image result for iris apfel

Fashion is one thing, and beauty is another. I love it that commercials now feature “normal” people; that is, small size whatever to large size whatever. What a beautiful mix we all are; different skin tones, different hair types, individual fashion trends, and so on.

At this stage of the game, we ought not to be so hard on ourselves for not being “perfect.” Beauty comes in many ‘flavors;’ there isn’t one standard of beauty any longer, which is great.

We are who we are, and it’s high time we were glad about it.

*For Ava, the more colors, the better. A typical outfit for her is flowered leggings turned up an inch at the bottom, a striped top with the same sort of colors, light-up sneakers, at least two headbands, and her unicorn purse. She adores anything pink and purple, but she is kindly to yellow, blue and green as well.