Get Me Outta That Box, Come Inside & Get to Know Me
What You See is What You Get Only if We See Eye to Eye
As we grow into these smart sophisticated adults and merge through the traffic of life we have this unequivocal impulse to place people in a box, based on our own observations. We lend ourselves to be the experts of people as if to say we never heard of researchers living with the guerillas for years and devoting their entire lives to understanding another being or animal. Somehow, we as layman humans tend to figure that we just simply know more in than Jane Goodall in a relatively short time, sometimes milliseconds, without doing any of the research or observation that can take a lifetime and even then be proven wrong. We pass judgment, some innocent and some calculating, all judgments are really not allowing us to live to a greater potential either in our own minds or better yet in the minds of others. This boxing in, assuming you know everything about a person in a relatively short time based on limited and specific experiences creates a pinball effect of choices, thoughts and they way we pass our judgment of others onto others and certainly dictates quite a bit of our actions towards others. What is it about human beings (myself included) that makes us think we know people immediately? And why am I no different with my own judgment both towards myself and towards others? How do we either get out of the box or invite others in, for the sake of honestly knowing each other?
I talk often about how much I believe honesty is the real key to success in the maneuvering through our personal personas and getting into the nitty gritty of the who we are inside, kind of questions. For this sector of judgment I find the “cure” to be one in the same. Getting honest with one’s self about the true judgment we place on others and being even perhaps more honest with the judgment we put upon ourselves, even if the judgment is that we don’t need help. It’s important to spend some time in life thinking about judgment, both how we judge others, how they judge us and what it all means. Now I try not to take judgment too personally, yet I believe the judgment we feel coming from others has a way of dipping into our subconscious and it’s an important realization, that of understanding the subconscious ways judgment affects us internally and how it lends itself to our own judgment of others.
There are a few happenings that spurred my recent thoughts of judgment. The first and most important to this rant was that I had being seeing a man who had this assumption and judgment of me that seemed so far from who I am. He had never really come across a woman like me, independent to and extreme, free thinking to almost crazy and so much free will and curiosity I seemed both too good to be true and possibly insane. He also assumed that I was this rich spoiled woman, I’m not really sure exactly where this hailed from or why he chose to see it that way despite my honesty about my income, my debt, and my ever difficult world of owning two businesses and that life is never what it appears to be. He came to this notion in a limited amount of time with a limited amount of experiences that would show him this. I grew frustrated with the guy and his mounting comments about me traveling quite a bit through the world, and having nice things and more importantly having the ability to control my job. He on the other hand seemed to struggle a bit in his own career and life, always bitching about paying his rent and how he couldn’t afford to travel, yet he really wanted to. He didn’t see the reality that was before him in regards to my being rich or poor, he saw only what he wanted to see based on some relatively common assumptions that are never taken further than the surface. One big thing he latched on to was as a business owner I get to make my own schedule; not that-I work over 70 hours a week, probably more if you count thinking about work 100% of the time and despite the fact I make my own schedule I must get up and work each and every day, I must show up when others don’t and I must always put the work ahead of my own fun. An example of this is that I had tickets to the Taste of The Greenmarket Gala event the other night and I was so excited, but I was stuck here while a film crew was finishing up filming late and never made it to the event. Sure I could have made one of my employees stay, but instead I gave the tickets to those employees and did what I needed to do. The man also hinted at the fact that I must be rich and spoiled due to the amount of travel I have done in the past 10 years globally. Now I will say this is and has been the greatest perk of my job and businesses, however he has little understanding of the trade off and the choice we make. I choose to have the life of travel; I do whatever I can and must do as this is for me, food for my soul. He never latched on to the fact that I have missed countless opportunities for friendships and local events, missed weddings of my friends and families, got kicked out of the co-op for never being around, missed out on knowing my own neighborhood let alone state. And probably most important is that my love and devotion to travel and the fact that my job took me all over the world, left me content with being alone as I always traveled alone for the most part, work dictated and paid for it and most of the people I knew, couldn’t afford to travel, of couldn’t get time off to travel. So many of my years were spent traveling through amazing parts of the world either alone or with strangers and sometimes with new friends made along the way, but mostly just alone. Countless dinners alone, countless drinks alone, countless swims alone, countless everything alone. This aloneness has come at a price of excessive neediness and excessive independence, it sways back and forth. Nonetheless that is the jist of his assumptions about my travel. He spent a lot of time judging me instead of appreciating my rarity. Now the strange part of his assumptions or judgment is the life he envisioned me living as a child, this is the part I realized that my own attitude and way of looking at and approaching life is really what dictated and lead him to his judgment and this realization was what spurred all this judgment thinking (this blog) in the first place and I’ll get into that a bit later.
For most who know me, my childhood story is a fascinating one, certainly countless books and movies could be made of my family’s story; Flight & Fight For Family Freedom as my father always called it! But in general my story is one of a sweet J southern California girl , horses, dogs, cats, goats, divorce, kidnapping and Central America and of course a little bit of Minnesota as well. I am in love with my story, my childhood and all the experiences that it blessed me with, the lessons it taught me that I am still making sense of and above all, I am aware that my experiences are what has made me the lady I am. The rarity this man didn’t spend the time to actually see. I talk about my childhood quite a bit and realized through this man that the way in which I speak about it is one that leads him to believe I was a rich spoiled girl too. I talk often about the horses I had as a little girl, I had up to 20 at one time, I talk about the big houses we had with all the land (40 acres at one place outside of Los Angeles), and I talk about driving through Mexico and El Salvador, down into Honduras and Nicaragua. Camping on the beach under coconut trees, playing in the surf, eating amazing tropical fruits. Swimming in volcanoes and brining our Nicaragua dogs with us when we moved to Costa Rica. I talk of living on the beach in Costa Rica, in a Plantation overlooking Managua with bougainvillea and mango trees rampant, swimming eating and having the best time ever. I speak about it all with such richness in speech; I realized out of the blue one day this could be the issue; this could be what he is latching on to. He kept telling me stories about his youth and poverty and how hard life was for him as a child and when I tried to empathize, he assumed I couldn’t because of my “rich” upbringing.
I seldom tell the story of how poor we were in the way that sheds a negative light on our story, our experience and makes the listener come out of it feeling sorry for us all, I don’t know if this has been a mistake or not as far as other casting judgment. I rarely talk about the absurdity in which my father got and found the horses; he literally found one on the side of the road, he adopted some from the pound, he traded things for them and all sorts of things. What was always most important to my memory is that he made what he wanted to happen, he was and still is the most positive person I know. I certainly never talk about the extreme poverty we lived in Central America and how we had diarrhea the entire drive down to Nicaragua (1 month) and about 6 months after that as well until we finally became immune to the water and environment. Rarely is my depiction of us kids with worms hanging from our asses, or staff infections oozing form craters in our legs and arms, ring worm ( I believe) from touching stray dogs, mosquito bites from head to toe (giant mosquitoes) , scorpions pricks and thinking we would die, and yes even machete wounds. I don’t often emphasize the difficulty that it was to be children and not speak Spanish and not be able to communicate with others. No I seldom mention these parts; I talk about the coffee plantation we lived in as if it was out of Casa Blanca…….but in reality is was a rundown place, beautiful at one time but not our time! But for me and my brothers this place was majestic and our time in Central America and our story is gorgeous to me. All of the above mentioned stories I know are crucial experiences to what has made me and my brothers the amazing and unique people we are today. The diarrhea dissipates, the staff heals up (after shots from my father in our tight little children asses of course), and mosquito bites clear up. I know form my story that the good stuff was all of it packed into what is our story and my positivity to the story and who we are today because of it for me means it was RICH, rich in all of the important aspects of life.
I believe that what this man and what many see in me is my uncanny ability to see the real “sustenance” (pun intended) and indeed that can appear to be a life of riches and in that regard he is correct as are the others as they cast their judgment, after all we cannot possibly know everything about everyone all in one swoop. I am rich and I have had a rich life it you look at riches as positivity and growth as I do. You see my true personality is one of optimism, learning, growing and positivity. This way of thinking is I supposed in part is and was created as a form of a protectionism mechanism and probably not until recently was I able to make sense of it and use it to improve. That’s the thing about protection mechanisms, they are there to protect you and mine have a habit of lifting themselves when I am capable enough to remedy the initial problem. In this case, being mature enough to make sense of my life.
This judgment is really no different in my cooking and culinary profession either. I think outside the box and I am positive beyond belief. There to experience it all and with a strong belief that it is all relatively easy if you remain positive. There are those who doubt the skills of self taught cooks, but we are all really self taught in the end and true richness in life and in cooking is not what we actually put on the plate, as that is completely open to interpretation, but the entire process or journey. My advice to all in the kitchen is to get the hell out of the box immediately and stop judging others. I vow to do the same, especially with that lady who is the girlfriend of the NY guy who I won’t name……J
So I guess the whole point of this is that we as humans must really learn to be open to one another and understand we are all at different stages and on different paths but our makeup is the same. Now in the case of this man and myself, the real problem was that he was stuck in negativity and used money and riches as his gauge for success, a match not even close to being adequate for me, the truth is that this man never got to experience what was really the richness of Nissa, something far greater than money, travel and horses………
Animal Whisperer (Specialty-Ozark Animals)
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