When is the last time you judged someone by their appearance only to be completely surprised when you found out they were the complete opposite of what you anticipated?
I will give you a minute to think.Mine was quite recent. I was watching an episode of America’s got talent when these four guys came on stage.
I thought to myself, they will probably do some hip-hop. The tatoos, all black outfits, chains? Not the kind of guys I’d want to start small talk with.
Acapella? Really? Who would have guessed? Not me. Certainly not these judges.>>
That beautiful rendition of ‘Somewhere under the rainbow‘ gave me serious goosebumps. I was severely awestruck!
When asked why they’d come to the show, the response was “This dude right here, he’s a big dreamer. We got together because of his huge dreams.” *refering to the group’s leader Montre Davis* Don’t we all need that big dreamer in our lives? Sigh.
It reminded me of Susan Boyle, the then 47 year old who auditioned for Britain’s got talent in 2009. The judges and audience were visibly unimpressed by her appearance, when she got on stage..up until she sang her heart out.
She went on to release her first album later that year. “I dreamed a dream” topped charts and became UK’s best selling album. She has released 5 others since. I mean wow! It really is never too late to pursue one’s dreams.
Thinking of these people who were easily judged on the big stage made me reflect on life’s ‘small stage’ scenes. I recently met someone I went to school with many years ago. After a few pleasantries were exchanged he said. “I was surprised to read about the charity work that you do, you don’t look kind.” I was both perpelexed and dumbfounded.I wasn’t sure how to react so I kept quiet. I wanted to ask about the features kind people possessed. I wanted to point out that up till that moment we’d never actually had a conversation. Instead, I wrapped up this awkward roadside encounter. I decided that the silver lining was he’d told me how he felt to my face. I actually agree with Chimamanda when she says “There are people who dislike you because you don’t dislike yourself.” Best believe we shall judge you for being too happy,positive, confident or successful. How? Why?
We have all been on either side of similar situations. You are an introvert so we tag you arrogant, you’re naturally friendly (to both sexes) but you’re labelled slutty. You spend more money than we are accustomed to so of course you are a show-off. These and many other assumptions are made daily about people we don’t really know and may never even get to know. However, when tables turn and we are judged wrongfully by others, we are agitated. How dare they?! They don’t even know anything about me, my life, my struggles; But that’s exactly the point. We don’t have to know. In fact, we don’t want to know. Why, when it is just easier throwing a label, believing it and quickly moving on…?
“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”
A thought just occured to me about the thousands of self-proclaimed experts that have been unearthed by social media. At first I only noticed them when it came to seemingly obvious targets like politics,fashion, food and lifestyle. Alas, that is not the end. Now we tell you how to write, how to sing,how to be a leader, how to draw,how to speak, how to run, generally how to exercise your position,skill or talent. Once we are done with that, we need you to understand how to deal with fame/attention when it comes your way ; not too nice, not too needy,but also kind of available; slightly aloof but also approachable.
As if this isn’t enough though, we have a view on how you should think. Don’t you dare deviate from the norm but also be unconventional. Generally, be yourself, but don’t be yourself. Either way, we shall be here, waiting, judging. You can count on that. Also, one more thing. By all means,don’t judge us, this is a one-way road.
“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”