A friend shared this article with me recently, and it got me thinking about the concept of “You can’t judge a book by its cover”.
The article is about just that – not being able to tell about a person’s capabilities by how they look. I appreciate the language they use in it “can’t tell” in lieu of judge. But the issue is – we judge. We compare. We size-up. And why? When I went to a ballet class yesterday (which prompted many likes/comments and the sharing of this article) I did just that. I looked around the room at the pink tights, ballet shoes and buns and thought “oh brother I do not belong here” (with me wearing my lulu running tights, my Morning Crew CrossfitZone Shirt flipped inside out and grey socks!). I felt the need to explain that I was a modern dancer, and it had been a while since I had taken class. But why? Why in society must we always feel like there is this invisible measuring stick we need to compare ourselves to. Why, in new surroundings, do we immediately check out the situation and see where we fit in?
My psychology classes in University were a while ago, but I believe there is likely something in terms of how our brain processes things that actually facilitates this grouping and comparison phenomena. But if it is in our nature to do this, how can we avoid it?
I aim in my life to be open. That’s why children are often a huge inspiration for me. They don’t enter a room a say to themselves “oh I have a disposable diaper, and she has reusable – I’m a bad person” or “her onesie is soooooo cute, and I’m only wearing this old thing”. They are simply present. Doing their thing, in that particular moment in time.
And can we not take pride in our quirks, in our history, in our uniqueness? One of my favourite lines about this is from an Ani Difranco song called my iq. In it she says “I’ve got highways for stretch marks to see where I’ve grown” It resonated with me after I ended gymnastics, put on freshman 15++… it resonates with me as I look to my various scars (from knee surgeries/accidents etc)… it resonates me as I touch my husband’s calloused hands. What some may consider flaws or imperfections I see as a landmarks that tell stories about experiences, hardships, challenges, opportunities and triumphs.
I suppose this all comes together for me to say we should be proud of who we are – in all of our forms. We need to recognize that each of us is limitless. Life is challenging enough without imposing “I can’t do this/shouldn’t do that” on ourselves or others!
That reminds me of a spectacular dancer Jacques Poulin-Denis who I saw perform in Melanie Demer’s Les Angles Morts. Take a look at this video and be amazed for yourself.
Every thought is a cause and every condition is an effect. Change your thoughts and you change your destiny. — Joseph Murphy