By Kayla Goggans
[dropcap background="yes" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap]n 2014 I moved to a new city. I moved to the radical San Francisco after having lived in New York City for three years. I was ready for a new energy and a new change of pace. I entered the city with an open mind, or so I thought, quickly realizing that my own worst enemy was myself.
I had the sickness of judging others haunt me throughout my first few weeks there. I would meet new people and quickly make grand assumptions about them, which would instantly make me dislike them. Even though I am a woman and I understand that a big battle in a woman’s life is constant judgment, I was still the one judging!
[divider type="short"] It came from deep within, from a phrase I heard in junior high “The most judged are the most judgmental,” something I heard by my friend’s older sister. She was a harsh punk rocker with rainbow-colored hair and torn up clothes she got at the Goodwill. She was one of my first heroes. She judged the rest of the world around her. Hell, we were the conservative West Coast of Florida during the recession period where everybody was holding onto their wealth for dear life. We were the kids that were already in the lower middle class so we didn’t feel much change, but we witnessed the viciousness of the wealthy putting judgment and blame on the more liberal lower class that surrounded them. So, there was constant judgment surrounding me. The lower class was judging the rich for being rich and the upper class judging the poor for being poor. That was the climate I lived in.
But how did this toxic behavior embed itself in my brain and how did I just uncover it now?!
[divider type="dashed"] [dropcap background="yes" color="#333333"]N[/dropcap]ew York City is an incredible place. I moved there when I was 18 and it made me grow up immediately. I attended school full time and attempted to work full time simultaneously. The real world was put in perspective and I soon was pushed into the reality that I could no longer afford to go to school no matter how hard I worked. But I admitted to myself that that was okay because school wasn’t for everybody and I could still be self-sufficient without a degree. I thought, if I keep on writing and doing what I want to do and develop some sort of self discipline that I could, maybe, someday, be a writer. This situation did, however, make me dislike those that could just go to college without working, those that had the funds to fill the large blocks of a private school’s tuition. The judgment cycle continued.[divider type="short"]
After another long winter in New York, having been out of school for about four months I knew that that world was not the world I wanted to be in.
I moved home.
There was a quick month of panic and a quick job working at the local coffee shop where I was greeted by old classmates asking what happened to, “Moving to the big apple!”
“Too fucking cold,” I would respond.
In my mind I thought dropping out of college would make my reality less frustrating. But, I did drop out, and reality was still frustrating.
I made sure I understood that being a human being that is honored to be a woman should love all women, especially the woman that she is.[/pullquote]
[dropcap background="yes" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] had to leave Florida, so I journeyed on a quick trip to Puerto Rico to WWOOF.
Then my friends began wanting to adventure and I went on these road trips which ultimately led me on the road trip all the way out to California where both my brothers were living.
There I was on the West Coast. I was an East coast girl though, and thought everybody would know that. I could never be the bell bottomed no bra wearing West Coast girl that I envied.
This is where the judgment towards other people came in.
[divider type="dashed"]How crazy could I be! I was a feminist! Yet I judged people. I judged women! By their outfits, their hair, their armpit hair, their free breasts with their nipples pushing through their shirts. I should have been happily amazed by the comfort these women had in the world. The way they held themselves high, with their backs straight and their shoulders lifted towards the sky.
I was the insecure one.
I was the unhealthy one, physically and mentally.
I started running, and biking, and moving, and sweating, motions that had been halted by the New York winters.[divider type="short"]
[dropcap background="yes" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] made sure I understood how judgmental I was being and made sure I understood the negative energy I was throwing out into the world. I made myself remember that my identity is an illusion. I am an illusion, all of this I have created, so I can be anybody I want to be.
I made sure I understood that being a human being that is honored to be a woman should love all women especially the woman that she is. I learned to love myself.
I met women, and the other women that I had previously judged I met again with a whole new heart.[divider type="short"]
They were all incredible and interesting and they all became people I felt close to. They were like me without the window of judgment I put in front of them. A group of girls and I made a book club where we read I Love Dick by Chris Kraus and we discussed our insecurities and securities about being a woman. They told me that lots of women feel the way I did. It is almost an animalistic way to feel; a competitive spirit transformed itself into judgment and negative energy.
My behavior was normal for some women, but toxic for everyone.
I now meet women and feel an instant love for them just knowing that we share the whole world.[divider type="dashed"][divider type="dashed"]