Today I Judged The Me I Saw In You
I overheard you outside today, surrounded by men, bragging about your “skills.”
I saw them eyeing you, hanging on your every word, and I became very uncomfortable. I saw the glint in their eyes, and I saw you eat up the attention as if your life depended on it.
I was disgusted so I walked away.
My head started to spin, and I immediately began to judge you in my high-and-mighty way.
Maybe you love the spotlight…
Maybe you don’t respect yourself…
Maybe you don’t know how what you present looks like to others…maybe you don’t care.
Maybe you’re afraid of women so you surround yourself with men…
Maybe you’re just a slut…
That last one was pretty fucking harsh, but I thought it. It didn’t feel good when I looked back a few days later. With the help of the most open-minded and tolerant woman I know, I was forced look inside myself and question why I judged you so harshly. The truth is, you are who I used to be. I saw you there, acting that way with the guys, and it brought back the shame of confronting my own behavior. I wanted to scoop you up and FORCE you to acknowledge what has taken me years and a lot of pain to learn.
I wanted you to see that the attention you’re getting isn’t worth the pieces of your soul you give away. I wanted you to want to protect your sexual health. I wanted you to be able to feel the light and joy that I do and stop trying to get it through men. I told myself it wasn’t judgement, but concern. I was lying to myself. Judgement, even when laced up with good intentions, is still judgement. I pretended I was “above” such behavior, as if I was somehow better than you. My ego was inflated as I thought, “at least I’m not that way anymore.”
I walked away, and turned my back on you. I decided that because you were behaving in a way I found unacceptable, you weren’t worth getting to know. For that, I am truly and deeply sorry.
You are worth getting to know, not in spite of your behavior, but because of it. I acted THE EXACT SAME way for years and today I know why. I was disgusted today, not by you, but by the part of ME I saw in you. It was the me I could be again if I stop working on myself.
The problem isn’t you, what you say, or how you behave. The problem is me. Who am I to decide how you “should” be? As I said, I didn’t come to this realization alone. It took a loving, caring, and honest woman to show me what I was doing. Someone who took the time to get to know me and look past all of my unsavory attitudes; a real and true friend.
The kind of friend I need to be to you.
It’s time I get to know you; what hobbies you enjoy, what season you like best, and what makes you laugh. I suspect we aren’t so different, You and I. I want to be your friend; not because of the things I can teach you to make myself feel better about my past, but to give you the same gift my loving friend gave me; acceptance.
Rachel has been in recovery since October 29, 2010, and she’s not afraid to speak out about it. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters.