Thursday, January 6, 2011

You're not a judge but if you're gonna judge me...

If you see the girl in the corner, the one in the faded, ripped jeans she's had since high school, the black New Medicine hoodie that's black because she likes black, not because she's goth, and the fingerless gloves she cut herself because she likes the feel of things between her bare fingers, not through a thin layer of cloth, don't stare.

Sure, her skin is pale, her green eyes have faded to a dull gray, and her chapped lips crack and bleed but she sees you looking. She keeps her chin buried deep into the TWLOHA tee that peeks through the hoodie's metal teeth because she wants you to look away.

You think she's so rude, she must hate her life, why is she here if she hates it so much? You notice how she grinds her teeth, clenches her jaws until the muscles tense as she twists her balled up fists around inside the hoodie's front pockets.

And you stare harder.

But you don't know the girl, who she is (candylandgang), what she loves(grilled cheese, writing, sarcasm), hates (farm machinery, plastic cups, clowns), what she's going through (loss). You don't know she's wearing the faded, ripped jeans she's had since high school because they bring her comfort, remind her of a time when the pain took a different form, the less difficult kind.

And you don't know her skin is pale, her green eyes have faded to a dull gray, and her chapped lips crack and bleed because she's been through hell this week. She wanted to look different, better, but her looks reflect her feelings, and she's okay with that.

You might think twice about staring so hard at the girl in the corner. She's not rude, she's shy. She doesn't hate her life, she's sad. She's here because despite the timing, it's the offspring's dance night and that's what mommies do. She grinds her teeth, clenches her jaws until the muscles tense as she twists her balled up fists around inside the hoodie's front pockets because the physical pain of passing what's left of her baby, is anything but comfortable.

Yesterday, friends, was an amazingly uplifting day reading all of the posts and comments and emails from all of you. After a night of minimal sleep, it's come to my attention my body still has some releasing to do. I've been in a lot of pain, and the medicine isn't helping so I'm sure I look awful, act awful and seem like an awful person. But really, I just hurt.

Thank you so much for everything. Keep your stories coming. They really are helping me heal and I'm returning emails as fast as I can. It brings me SO MUCH joy to see a full inbox when I'm feeling so pooptastic.

If you want to know more about what led up to this difficult week, this covers it all: HUGS NOT DRUGS

Until tomorrow, tell me, have you ever judged a book (literal or metaphorical) by its cover? #behonest
Candyland. OUT.


Tawna Fenske said...

This post made me cry. Thank you for the reminder that we all need to be better about taking a step back and reminding ourselves that there's no way we can know what someone else has been through on any given day, week, or lifetime.

(((hugs))) to you. You are strong. You will get through this. In the meantime, be kind to yourself.


Jessica Bell said...

:( I may have when I was a kid, but not as an adult. Especially after turning into the girl that got stared at myself. Love to you. Thinking of you always.

Deborah said...

As I'm reading it, I'm thinking of my 15 year old son...he HATES people who judge...You can't judge anyone because you just don't know what happened to them. That is always a HUGE topic in my house.
It's funny your line Hugs Not Drugs, I have said that to the kids at least 1000 times. LOL
Have a great day my friend!

Tammy Gallant said...

*hugs* I wish I could make everything alright for you.

Here's my story about judging:
When I was little, I remember seeing a woman with a scowl on her face and turning to my mom to say, "She's making an ugly face." My mom, bless her, didn't tell me to "hush" like most mom's would. Instead, she asked, "What do you think made her so angry?"

It was a simple lesson to teach me to look beyond what someone looks like. It also nurtured my creativity to make up stories about the people we would see. (Which is why I'm a writer.)

I have to say, my mom ROCKS!

Tracy said...

I try my best not to judge people for things I know nothing about. And if I catch myself doing it, I make myself take a mental step back.

Except when I'm watching the Jerry Springer show, because really . . . if you're going to put your "ish" out on national television, I feel perfectly comfortable judging you.

Kelly said...

I try not to judge, but I'm sure I do at times. When I was twenty something, I remember someone pulling up in a noisy beat up car (not unlike what I drove in hs) in the parking lot, and I thought, "What a frickin beater! It's so noisy." and then realized how shallow that was and I cried in my own (used) car. Okay so that was judging a car not a person, but I do try and remember that everyone has bad days.
More hugs to you, Candace. You have a lot more healing to do. Take your time. XO

Christine Danek said...

I always hated the whole judging thing. High school was where I learned not to judge. Since I found people who understood and cared about me without making me wear a certain type of clothing.
Although, I will wonder sometimes about who a person is, but I think it's me just loving getting to know people and what they are about (the whole curiosity thing).
Unfortunately, I have been drawn to books for their cover. I hope that doesn't make me horrible. I do read the blurb before the purchase.
I probably sound like an idiot. Did it make you smile? Okay, dork is more like it. I should shut up now, you may block me.
The dork is out. :)

Jen Daiker said...

Considering I am having a rough week and have recently been feeling judged myself this post brought tears to my eyes. This has been a roller coaster of emotions week and I have to say I have both loved/hated every minute of it.

Your words are beautiful, even when they're sad, hard to hear, ugly, truthful. You're an amazing writer and I feel blessed to even know you.

Sending big sparkly hugs (cuz that's the only way I send them), Jen

LTM said...

you left out the part where she's a FANTASTIC writer. But that's something you can't tell just by looking at her...

Been praying for you--(((big hugs))) And yep. I often pick up books w/gorgeous covers hoping for the best. Sometimes I'm right. ;p xoxo

Matthew Rush said...

If your ass fits into the same jeans you wore in high school then all is not lost.

Seriously though? Life really blows chunks sometimes. But you know what? You have one of the most emotionally healthy methods of dealing with it of anyone I know. Telling the truth. Feeling your feelings. Laughing and crying like you've lost your mind. These are the things that allow us to let go of the pain. At least a little bit.

Thanks for the reminder that you never really know what might be going on with someone.

Angela Felsted said...

This post is so moving it made me want to cry. Your observations are spot on.

I hope you feel better soon.

Melissa Gill said...

These judgers and haters need to get a life. I'm sorry for all you're going through, but congratulations for having the courage to get out there and take your baby to dance, even when you feel like crap. A lot of women would have just put the blanket over their heads. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words and your soul. You're in my prayers.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss candace! you could dress however you could want cause for me you always look beautiful cause i see you inside out. for me my mom taught us not to ever be a judge of someone by how they could look cause you cant never know whats happening in their life or how theyre feeling. im sending you bunches of big hugs. i love you more than pbcs!

LR said...

I'm sorry you're going through a rough time, Candyland, and I wish you lots of strength. Writing heals.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I hope you feel better soon, Candace - physically, because I know emotionally is a ways off. We love you. Check out my post today. Hopefully it will make you smile. :-)

Amy said...

This post is written so beautifuly. I came close to tears. (Were I not at work, I might have let myself go)
Continue to be strong. Your words are inspiring.
- Amy

Tina Lynn said...

I'd like to say, "No. I haven't." But that would be a bald-faced lie. So sorry, love. I've lost two precious little bundles myself. Each time was heart-wrenching. I still remember it raining about a week after I lost Sandy, and thinking that the rain had come because someone knew I was all cried out. There's nothing that can replace what you've lost. Ever. But you have friends. Lean on us if you need to.

Carolyn V. said...

One of my fav poems:

Wouldn't it be nice
If we looked at people
like jelly beans and liked them all?
And didn't just pick out the pretty or smart people
or red or black jelly beans
But loved them all for what they are!
~ Unknown

I've been judged before and I've judged others before (even though I try really hard not to, because I know how it feels). It all just leaves a bitter taste.

I'm sorry for the awful experience. But you are an amazing mom to go support your cute daughter when you are still healing. You are such an inspiration! <3 <3 <3 <3

Nicole Zoltack said...


Be sure you take some time for just you this week. You deserve it.

Colene Murphy said...

Yup. You successfully made me cry. But you do sound better in this post than you have all week so tiny Yeay!
You have some prayers coming at you again today.

February Grace said...

I'm so sorry. That's all I can say. We love you, and I'm sorry.

Book v. Cover, Human Edition? I blogged about that very thing last month. Happens to me all the time getting judged by how I look these days. If it's due to a permanent thing, you kinda get used to it, but maybe never entirely...

I'm sorry anyone ever made you feel the feelings needed to write this post. Pardon me when I say, quite frankly my dear, to hell with them all. You always look beautiful, even when you can't see it yourself.

love you

Shari said...

I came over to meet you because Shannon sent me. So, It's nice to meet you. I'm Shari.

I'm sorry for your struggles. I have had a rough couple of months myself. If you are intersted in something that helped me, hop over to my blog.

I know I'm a stranger, but I'm sending lots of hugs your way, anyway.

Btw, you are a beautiful writer. It's a rough road, but I think you'll get there.

Michelle Gregory said...

i've never been here before. Bru sent me. i don't even know you and i wish i could give you a hug or let you cry on my shoulder. i know i can't make everything better but i wish i could. that's just how i am. i'm glad you shared. i'm glad to find someone who's going to keep fighting, no matter how hard it gets. i don't know you and you're inspiring me, and reminding me to appreciate every little thing about my kids.

and completely off the subject, but i love TWLOHA too.

Chris Phillips said...

i have a lot of times. sometimes you think more highly of someone or less highly than you should until you get to know them, it's human nature. but if someone is doing that to you let us know so we can beat them fervently with sticks!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I try not to because I was shy in school and didn't have too many friends. I probably was judged by how I look. So I try not to though can't say I don't sometimes.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

(((HUG))) will get better. It's okay to dress how you feel. It's okay to feel sad. You have every right to want to crawl into bed and stay there...but you're not your up and about and being a mom to Lilian. You will get through this...Just keep talking.

We heart you!

Christi Goddard said...

I know this feeling well, and it's crap we have to go through it. I wear my favorite band shirts and movie shirts, mostly bought at Hot Topic because it's the only place in my relatively small city to get that sort of thing. I'm not trying to 'be young' or 'hold onto my youth' or some cliche. It's just what I like. Just because I'm over 30 doesn't mean I'm too old to wear concert shirts, have 'goth' hair (which also annoys me because I'm not goth. I just like to have black hair with red bangs.), and Vans. I've always hated that people judge each other by their adornments and not their words and actions. I do judge, I'll be honest, but in the polar opposite way. I'd be more likely to walk up and talk to a weather beaten, scarred, tattoo covered biker than I would a guy wearing a Polo t-shirt. I embrace others who abandon society norms and are brave enough to be themselves. Keep your chin up. Don't let some stranger's ignorant opinions or disapproving looks get you down. They are strangers. Their opinions? Irrelevant. Your opinion of yourself is all that matters. You are the one you have to live with.

*steps off soapbox*

Kelly Dexter said...

Ack, people can be so crappy it makes me crazy.

I'm sorry, for the flagrant starer and what you're going through.

ali said...

Girl, you are so not alone. Your words are beautiful. Your pain is beautiful.

I want you to know there is hope on the other side of all this crap.

Remember me? I'm the one who shared the same experience as you with the Agent From Hell this summer. I'm also the one who lost her dad (two years after her mom). And even though my dad was pretty much an absentee father, the loss of him hurt so much. All the what-ifs of him. So then I was a girl without a mom or a dad. But I did have a husband.

And what do husbands and wives who love each other want to do? They want to make babies. Parts of them so their love can REALLY be one and go on and LIVE.

So I got pregnant. And then lost the baby. Again and again. After the first three, they got harder. Because then my body stopped being able to let go on its own. (Really, could I blame it? I didn't want to let go either). So I happily went through my first trimesters hoping for the best, only to discover (usually around 12-14 weeks) that my baby had died. The one that hurt that most was when I was carrying a baby girl and she came into this world at 17 weeks and never even got a chance to breathe in it.

It took me nine years and eight miscarriages to have my boys, twins. I had a couple more miscarriages after that before I finally gave up the fight and accepted that my joy would have to be carried by these two, and let me tell you, they do a fantastic job of it.

So I know all about your pain. I do. And it is beautiful and real and alive and you have to feel it and live in it and experience it because IT'S YOURS. Embrace it.

And we'll embrace you.

Robyn Campbell said...

Candy, my son gets judged for the way he looks every day. It breaks my heart.

I love you. I'm here for you. Just checking in. (((hugs)))

aspiring_x said...

i've judged plenty of paper and ink books by their covers-that's for sure... as for people... i have to admit that i kinda judge the opposite of this. whenever i see high-gloss, superneat, brandnamegarbed people i think they are shallow and bubblegum... but i'm working on trying not to judge!
hang in there candace! love you! :)

Hart Johnson said...

I'd seen you were having a tough time, but didn't know why until I read this--I am SO SORRY for your loss. And I'm amazed at the strength you are showing just managing to still be here and be present. I know that has to be one of the hardest things to go through, so I am sending a cyberhug. (and I don't judge... in fact I'm trying hard to teach my kids not to judge... compassion is what makes us human beings)

Abby Minard said...

Oh, sweet Candace. Thinking of you. I have to agree with Matthew...totally awesome that you still fit into those jeans.

You have so much courage- and to keep blogging after everything. I look up to you!

Lisa said...

I just came across this and read your other two posts. I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine how crappy this is for you.

Sending e-hugs...