I have a Jiminy Cricket judgment coach who sits on my shoulder and wags his finger at me with annoying consistency.
“Lucky for you,” he says (I’d like to say smugly, but I’d definitely get a reprimand for that). “Lucky for you, you don’t have to have an opinion on that.”
Most times, I agree.
Together, we navigate my morning newsfeed with unfettered fascination and an understanding that people come by their beliefs for deeply personal reasons. Thanks to Jiminy, I have friends whose political leanings span a range from radical to regressive and I respect (though don’t always agree with) them all.
He gives me free reign to own and express my opinion in matters of overt cruelty. I am allowed to call out racism, for example, in the interest of education and hopeful elimination.
But other areas get a firm no.
He has been consistent in his stand on motherhood. Every mother gets to navigate her own way, and I am encouraged to offer requested advice, and to hold back on unsolicited opinions.
“Lucky for you, you don’t have to have an opinion on that,” he’ll say and I obediently tamp down my thoughts on how to handle a screaming toddler in a grocery store, or what constitutes proper nutrition for a selectively vegetarian teen-ager.
He can be a little snide in matters of fashion, and I sometimes sense an eye roll when he says things like, “Lucky for you, you don’t have to have an opinion on micro mini high-waisted shorts because you’re 53-years old and they aren’t made for you anyway.”
Whatever, Jiminy. I get it.
He’s been with me as long as I can remember, and I appreciate that. He knows, for instance, that I feel strongly about children’s birthday parties because I was once invited to one by a girl who said, “My mother said I had to invite you.”
He knows about this incident, but he still advises me to hold off on judging people for the guest lists they prune. I agree with him on this, of course, but he’s had to be stern with me to get there.
We’ve had some excellent conversations, just Jiminy and I, in the middle of the night when the twin sleep-robbers of caffeine and Catholic guilt keep us both wide awake. He understands I’m a work in progress and he’s been a patient sensei all along (though he’s worked up a sweat with that Kardashian clan and their relentless pursuit of fame at all cost. I mean, seriously, how shallow can – I’m sorry, what? Did you say something, Jiminy? Yes, you’re right. My apologies. Lucky for me, I don’t have to have an opinion on the Kardashians. I can just scroll right past them.)
See there? I’m #blessed to have that little bug in my ear. We all face a nearly constant stream of judgement solicitation from social media and the world all around. Like Jiminy tells me all the time, though, we don’t have to do it. We can set down our gavels, give a little whistle, and maybe even learn a thing or two.