BY RENEE AUBERN
It is really astounding how many self-proclaimed "open minded" people are actually closed off vicious judgmental creatures. It’s hilarious, actually. Then again, my main mode of handling sad stuff is via laughter, so there we have it.
Two years ago, I had my epiphany—my moment of realization. Oh, what an ignorant, critical snob I was. That epiphany was actually the kick off to a series of realizations of snob behavior. Each one smaller and more bearable than the last. Truth be told, I’m still learning how to relax and see something for myself before casting judgment.
If you’ve ever claimed that a pop star you’ve never heard or that a book you’ve never read sucks consider this your welcome to the club.
I remember being around age eleven and requesting of my mother, "please don’t take me back to the broken people store," I was talking about Walmart. Oh, yes. I was that kid. I was a brat. If you’re wondering, no, she doesn’t let me forget that I said that. She’s quick to bring it up in conversation at every opportunity.
Cut to me at age twenty-two in Nebraska scrunching my nose at a Walmart. "I’m glad that New York City doesn’t have these stores." In hindsight it’s amazing I didn’t get beat up more or something.
My point there was that I was very closed off. Yeah, Walmart isn’t great, but it isn’t something worth getting in a huff over, either. Broken people? Don’t even get me started. I see the error of my ways, let’s leave this little anecdote at that.
In the age of the Twilight craze I was off with the cynics, deeming it a terrible pile of writing. Where did I gather this opinion? From the bits about the books I had heard from others, along with the criticism and negativity I’d also heard. Straight up mob mentality. I was the same way with Taylor Swift. Now I’ve come to realize that it is just silly. For the record, I read the books, and I liked them. I listened to T. Swift’s albums and I liked them.
Pause. Did you pass judgment on me just now? Check yourself. If you did and haven’t experienced either of those bits of popular culture for yourself, then this is exactly what I’m talking about. Live and let live. See for yourself before passing judgment.
Like I said, this isn’t the sort of thing that can be solved overnight. There isn’t an internal Snob Switch we can flick on and off—though, that would be helpful, wouldn’t it?
Here’s an easy way to check yourself:
1. The thing you’re speaking negatively of—have you experienced it for yourself? If yes, fine, let your opinions flow freely. If no…
2. Experience said thing. If that is something you are simply not willing to do? Alright, then…
3. Rein in the snark. Change the subject.
Why does this matter? Because life is too short to spend wasted away on needless negativity and ignorant criticisms. It just is. If sitting down with a country album, a cheesy film, or whatever else it is in question is simply too much of a time suck for you, then that’s fine. I’m not here to say See And Do All The Things! Though, what is life if not rife with a myriad of experience? But no, rather, don’t be nasty and critical about things you don’t know from personal experience. It’s an ugly trait. An ugly massively accepted trait. Come on, you’re better than that.
Renée Aubern is a dreamer, an adventurer, & a wayward traveler inflicted with acute wanderlust. She writes poetry and music. She documents the world around her in photographs and notebook scribbles. She finds inspiration in fellow travelers—their stories, their restlessness, their art is what drives her.