This year, for the first time, I’ve decided to give something up for Lent. I first thought about Disaronno or One Direction. Then I thought, “Hahahahaha. Let’s not get carried away.”
To be honest, I’ve never really understood the point of Lent. Why give something up for a period of time and then dive straight back in? And most people tend to pick something they don’t even do all that much anyway – which makes it totally pointless.
So, this year for Lent and forever after that, I am going to give up something I really don't need in my life - I'm going to give up caring when people judge me.
Being judged is the reason why a lot of us, every day, don’t say what we truly think or do what we really want to do because we’re scared of what other people might think.
Most of the time, I am a really honest person. I never tell lies. But, there are a growing number of occasions where I’m actually scared to say what I think or do what I like because I’m scared that people will think badly of me. Like when I want to ask someone out, or tell someone to STFU.
I’ve never cared about being cool, mostly because I’m really not cool, but I’m definitely becoming more wary of what people think. I can’t even go to the corner shop without putting make-up on because I have a mild-freak-out about the incredibly slim chance of running into Karl Lagerfeld who casually happens to be knocking about corner shops these days, hoping to find the next face of Chanel.
And we get judged over everything. I once received dirty looks and had a bunch of “what the fuck?” comments thrown at me by a passing stranger because I was discussing my period pain over the phone to a friend while walking to work. I am a woman, she was a woman, and I assume we both have periods, so what was the big deal?
I had a pain and I wanted to talk about it. But things like this are supposedly not suitable or appropriate for outdoor conversations. But from now on, I’ll talk about my body anywhere I like and so should you.
Over the years, I’ve been scared to talk about my illnesses, mental and physical, because I’m worried about what people will think, or the jobs I might not get if they find out I’m a bit of a crackpot (and me using the term crackpot isn’t me judging or branding people either - crackpot is a term soaked in love between my friend and I and nobody is gonna take that away from us).
And the worst judging of all? When people are called ‘sluts’ because they have sex with people they’re attracted to. So what? Isn’t that the point of sex? Slut is a stupid word anyway. Who are these people to tell you who you can and cannot have sex with?! Screw them. Literally if you want, who cares?! No one should. What you do with your vagina is your own business.
Every once in a while, I’m out with a guy who is so lovely, funny and hot (OMG ALL THREE?! SACRE BLEU!) I just want to put down my drink, cut through the tension and kiss him.
Except while thinking about doing that, I start to worry about whether I’ve made up the tension or that he’ll think I’m ‘too forward’ or worse and it’ll end up the same way a lot of my evenings that include Disaronno go: dramatically, then downhill.
So I don’t. I sit there refraining, which makes me look uncomfortable and on a bad trip. All because I’m worried about what someone will think. Or what the people around me will think if (or when) he quickly pulls back away from me.
Judgements are all around us. What we wear, which brands we use, which drink we pick in a bar, how we do our hair or make-up, how we speak and the words we use. It’s because we live in a world where people look to categorise each other.
So, I’ll lay mine out: I’m categorically and actually for real a bit mental and I’m okay with that. I’m really insecure, I’m dramatic, I can be either a bit emotional or stone cold, I hate how I look and I hate my voice and yeah, I have problems.
But none of that matters - it makes me who I am and I don’t care what someone I don’t know thinks of that.
Basically, this Lent, don’t give up eating cake because you want to appear healthy, give up something you seriously do not need in life: stop caring about what judgemental idiots think of you. Now, get yourself a fork and eat that cake.
Follow Katie on Twitter: @katielizawright