Our community is a microcosm of occupational and social status. There’s a constant and dynamic shift, shimmy and evaluation of status and your relative place within the heirarchy. It doesn’t matter if you resist, you are a salmon in the stream. You gotta get up the river and spawn or die.
It’s not necessarily mean spirited. Sometimes, there’s a real joy in splashing around with your fellow thespians, crew, directors, audience, writers, producers, everyone.
I’ve worked in positions of widely varying degrees of status-oriented exposure and have felt, resisted, perpetrated and been bowled over by the stream, the salmon, the rocks, the water and the fisherman. And the naturalist photographers putting together those fishing magazines. This is not my constant state of being, but here’s how it has played out at various times. See if either of these perspectives ring a bell with you…
There have been moments in my life when…
If I didn’t have, or didn’t perceive I had status — I judged people who looked down on me as lacking in awareness and as insecure, thus elevating myself in status to myself and to anyone I could get to listen to my pithy and insightful observations.
If I did perceive that I was in a position of status — I judged the people who treated me differently because of it as just as bad as those who “obviously don’t know who I am.” Thus enabling me to raise my status by being exclusionary.
Oh, Susan, Susan, Susan…
I’ve got some funny stories — not all of them tragic and many with me as my own victim. (I’ll save them for a salon topic later.)
I’m not proud or ashamed of these experiences, but to live a year of significance, I require honesty. I won’t say, “Don’t judge me” because you may not be able to help it any more than I could at times. I don’t say that to be mean. It’s really okay. I wasn’t evil for having these thoughts. The miracle is that I get to choose what to do next. I can honestly say that as I’ve trod my path, being automatically judgmental and status-oriented has radically diminished — especially in the last year and a half. It’s been hellaciously hard, but also such a relief.
It’s freekin’ amazing what happens when I see myself and others without judgment or status. Such freedom. Freedom to consider and choose. Freedom that feeds my ability and energy to pursue my dreams.
Susan Scot Fry
I confess to feeling really terrible about this post. It’s tough to air what feels like dirty secrets — mostly because, no matter how I explain it, it’s easy to think that I’m making a statement of who I am. Of how I operate right now. It’s not like confessing I don’t like to talk on the phone. That confession was almost cathartic and engendered numerous (sometimes whispered) simpatico confessions.
I woke up Sunday morning with an Aha! moment. I had caught myself reflexively judging a couple of people for their dismissal of me. The day before, I’d been in a volunteer situation with many people I didn’t know. Some I was introduced to, some not. Later in the evening, I’d look up and smile as I passed them by and they’d pointedly look away. Just to make sure, I tried it several times. Yep, I was not someone who mattered. I was a “wannabe” because.. I don’t know… maybe because I’d helped and didn’t make a point of having any creds…? Eek.
I can honestly say, I was more bewildered than hurt. That’s just not how you treat people. In MY judgment…
My experiences with these few people prompted my reflections. This isn’t unusual for me. I’m one of the most introspective people you will ever meet. I often ask , “Why do they do that?” which is frequently followed by, “Do I ever do that? Why?” My Aha! answers prompted my confession.
Forgive me. I’m really not that bad. Oh wait, I’m judging myself again.