Why Different Isn’t Wrong

Why Different Isn’t Wrong


The other day in line at my version of The Happiest Place on Earth, Target or “Tar-Jeh” as I like to refer to it; I overheard a couple of women in front of me mercilessly scrutinizing the cashier.

“My God, will you look at those fingernails, they’re so long! And that color!”

Her friend stopped unloading her cart onto the conveyor belt just long enough to lean forward to get a better look.

“Oh yeah”, she replied, “How does she do anything?

It seemed to me she was doing her job just fine.

“And that blue color- bleck, all the kids are wearing that and I just don’t get it. It’s hideous.”

I was hoping that our checker Tracy, couldn’t hear them, even though they were making no effort to lower their voices, speaking with the same loud, rude, audacity I’ve heard some American’s use in a foreign country when they assume the victim of their vitriol doesn’t speak English.

Once they had finished verbally annihilating Tracy, they went to town on the lady in the line next to us.

“Oh jeeeeeez, she’s too old to be wearing shorts. Not with legs like that! One of the women snorted. “She should get that vein stripping surgery that Miki had done, then maybe she could wear those things…but then only in the privacy of her own backyard for godsakes.”

“Looks like a freakin’ roadmap. Disgusting! My eyes can’t un-see that” her friend chimed in, throwing cat food, tampons and a Snickers bar on the belt.

Because I was behind them I was fair game—and terrified. I became a swivel head, looking around with the intention of changing lines.
God no, don’t do that, you’ll just give them a perfect shot of your ass in yoga pants as you walk away. I’ll be damned if I’m going to give them that nugget for their nastiness. Better I just stay put, duck down or become invisible…….
I was certain I was to become the next victim of the Target Fashion Police.

Do you know people like that? That judge anything that’s different from THEIR “normal” as…….wrong?

Hey, ladies, with your overdone Botox, orange skin, and fake designer handbags, (sorry, but you asked for it) it’s not wrong – it’s just different.

I once took a friend to a group meditation which I attended once a month. She was interested in starting a practice, and I’d known these people for over ten years. A previous friend I had taken, described this group as an old, cozy pair of slippers – warm and welcoming. I thought so too.

Meditation was great. My friend seemed to genuinely like the people, chatting and laughing afterward while sipping her alkaline water.

On the way home in the car, I was in for a rude awakening.

Ernest guy…what’s his story?” she asked.
I knew who she meant, one of the men IS very earnest in his social interactions.
“Oh I don’t know, I’ve known him forever. He can be kind of intense – but he’s sweet, really.”
“Well, he creeped me out. Then that Birkenstock, ferret-faced lady, ha! She’s something else.”

“Hey! These are my friends, sort of….anyway…they’re sweet and harmless and they seemed to really like you.”

I was trying to keep my cool, but I wanted to punch her in the throat. OMMMMMM back to a loving place.

“Yeah, well, they’re not my people, too granola, woo woo, Patchouli, for me. But I did like the water. And the meditation.”

Too bad sister, because I’m never taking you again, I thought silently to myself, not wanting to start a car-fight.

I had heard this same friend level a judgment on everyone around her in ten seconds flat, but they were usually strangers, not people I knew. (I can only imagine what kind of animal MY face resembled.) Seems anyone who didn’t fit in some little box she had envisioned as “correct” – was wrong.
They were ferret-faced, creepy, granola eating (so what) freaks.

“The guy on the corner waiting at the light? He looks like a pedophile.”
“Look at that girl’s eyeliner, who did her make-up? A raccoon?”

I know this seems like a duh, but I’m going there anyway. Obviously, SHE had some self-esteem issues or she wouldn’t be looking around with such a cruel eye and a sharp tongue.

After I ditched that judgy friend for good, I still couldn’t escape it, the judgment that is—I started to notice it everywhere.

Two guys at Starbucks sneering judgmentally at one of those overly complicated coffee orders the Barista is shouting out at the pickup counter. You know the one: grande, half-caf, sugar-free, one pump, vanilla latte with extra foam.

So what! Why is my order any of your business and why is it somehow wrong?

Variety makes the world go ’round. I personally relish it.
In my opinion, it makes life and people watching supremely entertaining.

Because it is so glaringly obvious to me now, I promise to try not to make you wrong.

Be your badass selves.
Fly your freak flags.
Wear your blue nail polish, pierce, tattoo, gray out your hair, Kelly Osbourne.

DIFFERENT inspires me! It gives me ideas, things I would have never have thought of.

As far as I ever contemplate pushing the envelope, someone has been there, done that, SO last Tuesday.

Start paying attention, see if you can catch yourself or someone around you judging different as wrong.
It’s okay if someone loves pickled herring or sleeps until noon or sings the wrong lyrics to every song (that’s actually endearing).

What do you think? Clue me in. Tell me about it in the comments!

Love you, my different little tribe,


  • Dominator says:

    We start out by wanting to fit in with our tribe and it allows us to find an identity; a platform from which we can test out the world. Being different is part of accepting our uniqueness.
    Now I love the dance of being a member of many tribes and being different just the sake of being different.

    • jbertolus says:

      I agree! Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all alike?
      Thanks so much for the comment Dominator!

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