The Judgment Gene

I rarely wonder what those I love who have left me would think or feel about choices I make in the daily business of living. I never think they might judge me and find me wanting for some real or imagined human frailty. Judgment itself seems as if must be from another realm, because we are all only imperfect in our humanity.

But if I am honest, some imperfections are less tolerable than others.

I had spontaneous eye-leaking in my gym time this morning. I cried silently through 4 sets of incline chest presses and dumbbell rows. I sniffled and fought back tears through the next block of dumbbell pullovers and chest flyes. I was stoic through the last 2 blocks of something upper body, my autopilot engaged so completely I cannot even recall what it was like.

I would pause between sets, to gather my thoughts and catch my breath, blow my nose, dab at my eyes to try and stop the waterworks. It occurred to me more than once that anyone observing might judge me harshly for my lack of effort. 

Fortunately I was in a place where no one needed the space, no one was waiting for a bench or the dumbbell weights I was using. The other members around me were immersed in their own pursuits and took no notice of me. They were too busy working to spare a second to judge me for my efforts.

As it should be.

But I am going through something here. I feel the shock fading and the comforting lack of emotion accompanying it.  The grief and enormity of my loss is starting to sink in, and with it the biting burn of painful, permanent separation.

Because of that, I will not be hard on myself for slacking, but I also will not stop trying to better my health. 

I will suspend my harsh self-judgment and practice compassion toward self instead. Or try to, anyway. Old habits of holding myself to impossible standards of behavior have oh-so-slowly faded through the years.

Because while I am walking, talking, carrying on as if everything will be all right in time, my heart is broken and hemorrhaging anxiety and sadness. I want it to stop, but I fear the emptiness of not feeling. 

I miss my friend, my tribe member. I mourn her passing and the empty spaces she left behind. I grieve for the possibility and potential she had not yet explored. Time ran out and I am left with a yearning for the simple things that drew us together.

These things are all true. These things are also true:

  • Saying goodbye sucks. Right now, being a memory-keeper sucks more. 
  • Being helpless to influence or impact the natural course of events makes me so angry. 
  • Accepting the finality of loss is the hardest thing I will ever do and I resent not having more choice in the matter.
  • For the time I had to know and experience the give-and-take of such a curiously beautiful soul – worth all levels of present and future pain.

This is judgment I can appreciate. I shall endeavor to ignore all other types and styles of judgment that come my way.

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