We all judge. It’s human condition. Whether with good or evil intention mostly depends on how we feel about ourselves on any given day.

When I’m feeling confident and contented, I have much more compassion for other people. When I’m down on myself, everyone else pretty much sucks.

That aside, I’m apparently very easy to talk to. Whether or not I ask for it, people usually tell me all the things. Strangers passing on the street or at the post office, wherever I am within ear shot, someone is feeling compelled to confess.

I like eye contact (which often makes people really uncomfortable) and I always listen intently (even when I don’t want to), because I know what it’s like to feel irrelevant.

Even the most immodest would cringe at the stuff total strangers have shared with me at the grocery store. Some people can’t handle eye contact or being seen these days. Maybe it feels like a psychic invasion, showing up to school naked, or like being held at gun point.
We all worry others will judge us as mercilessly as we judge ourselves. 
I don’t know what it is about me that provokes a session in the trust tree, but sometimes I wish I could chop it down because it’s draining AF.
I’ve considered making a t-shirt that says something like,
“Shopping is already stressful enough to twirl me into a volcano of despair. Please don’t add to my torment by speaking to me.”

My point, in case you’ve missed it, is I don’t usually go out of my way to talk to strangers while I’m shopping.

Yesterday was different.

Yesterday I was in Charlotte Russe pretending to be young and trendy. I couldn’t resist, because so friggin bright and shiny in there.

While perusing one of the racks, I noticed what could have appeared to be a very tall, older man in a leopard-print mini skirt, black tights, and lots of make-up; staring at a polka-dotted dress.

After evaluating the situation, there was absolutely no way I could keep quiet. I mean, holy shit!! I HAD to say something.

So I did.

“Excuse me,” I said, confidently. “Can I bother you to say something really inappropriate?”

A deep voice responded with cautious hesitation. “What?”
“You have amazing legs, and I wish I could look half as incredible in that skirt.”
She smiled with relief and extended her hand. “I’m Michelle.”
Michelle told me she was just “starting out,” and was at times very anxious about her choice in dress. She said, that morning, she’d second-guessed the length of her skirt, and worried it was “too much.” I assured her it definitely was, but in such a good way.
Dead serious, if I had those legs, I might feel almost obligated to share them with the world. 
Michelle went on to tell me that she works at the mall in the maintenance department, and knows her coworkers judge her choices. She told me she’s wanted to be a woman forever and waited, “too long to come out” out of fear of that judgement.
I quoted Dr. Seuss and I told her that she looked amazing. I told her how wonderful it had been to meet her, wished her a great day, and left the store. 
That conversation left me feeling hopeful, energized, and with more faith than ever that life is on purpose.

I have no doubt that I was supposed to meet Michelle today, and perhaps make her day a little brighter with an accepting smile and a little Dr. Seuss. Besides — one woman to another — who doesn’t like to hear they have great legs?

When we’re young, sometimes we learn how to judge others in knee jerks. When we know better, sometimes we learn to do and be better.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because the ones who mind don’t matter, and the ones who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

julie maida don't judge trans support love rules

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4 years ago

'Starting out' at 60 must be so hard! You did a Good Thing – I'm glad events lined up so that you were there, and brazen enough to say something 🙂

4 years ago

what an awesome thing to say to a stranger – especially at a mall on a Saturday! (what *were* you thinking??)
I hope she continues to get the support she needs – I've noticed a LOT of people in New England don't really talk to strangers.

They Call Me Mummy
4 years ago

You're wonderful.

4 years ago

I'm sure it must have taken her a ton of courage to head out and you likely made her day! I'm not a fan of small talk at all, so I know how you feel about typical random convos!

4 years ago

hahaha, no, I meant, what were you thinking getting up and going to the mall on a Saturday in the first place!

Lucy Ball
4 years ago

This was such a great story! I too, suffer from the affliction of being most everyone's proverbial shoulder to cry on. I loathe shopping to begin with. So people should stay the hell away from me when I have to do it. That said, it feels wonderful to help someone feel genuinely good. I bet Michelle had a spring in her step on duty that night that she never had before. Wanna see my legs? PS, only you would have the balls to compliment a dude for having great mini-skirt legs! I love you!

Sarah Puleo
4 years ago

Love this so much- everyone needs a compliment now and then.

4 years ago

There are many reasons why I love you. This is but one. What a wonderful way to brighten someone's day, especially someone who was nervous, frightened, and probably ridiculed by the rest of the world.

SM Johnson
4 years ago

Just found you, love you already. XOXO

4 years ago

This is going in my favorites post today. It'll be up in a few minutes. Your kids are so lucky to have you.

Cameron Garriepy
4 years ago

You do this all the time you know, brighten someone's day just by being you. We've only been in the same room three times, but I'm completely confident in my opinion. It's why the people talk to you in the mall.