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Hello, my name is Janelle, and I judge everybody.

by Janelle Hanchett


So a few different things have come up lately that have made me think about the whole concept of judging others.

Or, perhaps, not judging others.

People tend to say that a lot: “Don’t judge.”

Or “I don’t judge.” This statement is, in my opinion, one of the hugest piles of steaming bullshit around.

And, most of the individuals I’ve run into who claim “not to judge” are the most raging judgmental people on the planet – they just keep it all inside – obsessed with the bullshit political correctness movement, wherein we all judge each other silently, but violently, and stand from our pedestal of righteousness and superiority since we “know how to talk properly and respectfully and non-judgmentally.”

Which is of course, in itself, a judgment.

Because as far as I can tell there is no way to avoid judging others. It’s like an auto-pilot reaction to life. I have been conditioned by my social, economic, cultural backgrounds to perceive the world in a certain way. I’ve developed ideas along the way regarding right or wrong, educated or not, classy or not – the list continues. I’ve been told things from a very young age by parents and teachers and the media, things that wedge themselves into the crevices of my mind whether I want them there or not.

I can’t just THINK that shit away. I can’t just erase them with positive self-talk and Oprah.

In my experience, the best thing to do with the judgments I have is to admit that they’re there, face them directly, and remain as willing as I possibly can to let them go should information come my way that negates them.

I try to keep my mind open.

And usually, that’s how it works for me. I think I know something. I think I know the way it should be done and oh yeah I get all self-righteous in that knowledge, until life hands me something in startling opposition to that belief – and I realize, in a flash…I was wrong.

Boom. Judgment gone.

I think that’s why so many people who haven’t had children are so judgmental of people’s parenting approaches. They haven’t had kids yet so they still think it’s easy and straightforward and universal.

And then they have kids and they’re like “Holy fuck I didn’t realize it was like THIS.”

Or they remain judgmental pricks and we hate them.

But after thinking about this for awhile, I think when people are saying “don’t judge” they actually mean “don’t condemn.”

And that I think is some sound advice. If I reject people because they’re doing something I don’t agree with, if I shun them or silence or ignore them, well then I’ve entered the land of closed-mindedness and I am sure to stay swimming forever in the pool of my own judgments and hate.

I have all kinds of people in my life who do things on a regular basis that make me wonder if they have some sort of mental disorder. But I freaking love them anyway. My love blows past my ego’s need to judge them. I watch my judgment come up. Maybe I say something, maybe I don’t. But I try to just go back to loving them. Because usually there’s more to a person than this one thing that really irritates me. And I know that. And I try to hold on to that.

Unless that thing is really fucking BIG. In that case, we pretty much can’t be friends. I’m not Mother Theresa, you know. (as shocking as that may strike you.)

Maybe I shouldn’t write my judgments on my blog. Maybe I should hold them all inside in case they are disproven at a later date.

Maybe. But I don’t think so. It’s way too much fun to let that shit go sometimes.

And if it turns out I’m wrong, holy shit won’t that sting even more! And then I get to get on my blog and tell all you guys “Oh, yeah. About that. I don’t think I believe that anymore.”

And that’d be okay.

And here’s the other thing. Some behavior should be judged. We have to use our brains to look critically at what this world is selling us, right? We gotta question, always question.

If somebody is beating their child they should be judged. Right? What if we just said “oh, well, let’s have an open mind and support them in their beliefs?”

Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Was he not judging? Was he not taking a look at this society and analyzing it like a jeweler looks at a diamond, assessing what was right and wrong, but with the eyes of the open-minded and loving and curious?

He judged, but he didn’t condemn. And his love made him profoundly effective.

No, I am not comparing myself to MLK, Jr. Um, that would be ridiculous. He changed our country. I say “fuck” a lot and whine about inappropriate kid clothing and guinea pigs.

He came to my mind because he embodies what I believe to be the epitome of a free-thinking, resistant, powerful individual. He was an excellent “judge.” He looked, he knew it was wrong, he worked with great power and determination to change it. And he did it out of love for all humanity. Though he could have, he didn’t condemn whites. Instead he loved people with such depth that he could see the universal suffering caused from hate and racism, and from that place of acceptance and love he resonated with people’s souls.

Yeah, I don’t do that. I also don’t love everybody.

But I do try, in my own small, unimportant, slightly pathetic way, to say things honestly as I see them, to stand up for a few things I believe to be true and right and real. I feel a little fear (but I do it anyway) every time I write a post that exposes myself deeply or opinions that may be controversial.

But I’ve never had the gift of small talk or indirectness or beating around the proverbial bush. Consequently, I am really good at removing my foot from my mouth.

I am also so used to being wrong it isn’t funny. (Although as you all know, I still get worked up sometimes when others attempt to tell me I’m wrong. My ego stomps its foot screaming obscenities in the corner of the room, and I write pissed off retaliatory blog posts.) That’s because I’m also, quite often: childish, self-centered, egotistical and shallow. I get hurt feelings and want to retaliate and prove myself. Why? I don’t freaking know.


Because I’m a human. With judgments and disasters and successes and failures and tantrums.

I will try to love you. But I will let you down. I will contradict myself. I will walk out too soon or stay too long or speak the wrong words.

But at least I’m speaking them. And that, somehow, feels right.

Okay, honey, now that you’re 3, it’s time you start considering your future as a sex object.

by Janelle Hanchett


Okay, I tried. I did. I grasped my tongue. I held it tight.

No really. I did. I can do that. I’ve done it twice.

In my life.

When I was ten.

But I can’t any longer. My fingers are getting tired.

Can we just talk for a minute about some of the clothing made for young girls? Can we? Please? Thanks.

Let me just start this off with some obligatory save-my-ass caveats: 1.) We all have different taste in clothes; 2.) My taste, in general, sucks; 3.) I do not have anything against bows; 4.) I don’t judge you for how you dress your kid.

That last one was a lie.

If you dress your kid in any of the following garments, I will judge you. I will tell myself to stop judging you, but I won’t be able to help it. I will wonder what is wrong with you. (But I will keep it inside, then write about it on my blog.)

Just keepin’ it real.

Your daughter belongs in Hollywood? Really? She “belongs” in a narcissistic, drug-laden, cut-throat cauldron of materialism, sex and exploitation? AND, have you even asked her that question? Have you asked her, “Honey, would you like to be in Hollywood when you grow up?” What if she wants to be a neurosurgeon? What if? What if she wants to join the army and shoot people? Before you go dictating where your daughter “belongs” in the world, you might want to wait until she has at least a say in it. Just a thought.

Better said: “I’m cute. Mommy’s a self-appreciating ball of idiot using her child as a walking ego-boost. Daddy’s fucking his secretary because his wife’s a moron.”

Yes. Exactly. One of the profound universal truths of life: The Bigger the Bow, the Better the Mommy. It’s all about bows. You can be a crack-smoking prostitute AND AN EXCELLENT MOTHER if you put a big enough bow on your kid’s head. Or your own head. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of ambiguity there. Are they referring to the mother’s bow or the daughter’s bow? And if a mother is wearing a giant bow, won’t people wonder if she has some sort of disorder making her think she’s seven years old? And, if this is true, I really wish I would have known it sooner. Really would have saved me a lot of guilt, effort and worry. I mean if all I have to do to “be a better mommy” is use “a bigger bow…” shiiiit.

(have you ever heard anything so stupid? Freaking bows.) P.S. It’s not the bows I have a problem with, it’s the idea that motherhood can be defined by the SIZE OF ONE’S BOW.

How in the hell do you look at your sweet, innocent baby girl and say to yourself…”What I see in you, little one, with your chubby legs and innocent eyes…what I see is a “DIVA.” I see a future pop music star. I see somebody up on stage gallivanting in sparse clothing, rocking coliseums and making men drool. Maybe back in the day the word “diva” just meant “a successful female opera singer,” but today that word is all wrapped up in sex. Interwoven with sex. Inextricably connected to sex and the objectification of it, in the form of the female voice and body. How are you going to slap that label on your little girl? HOW?

Aren’t we all? Isn’t that pretty much why we’re all born? Just to “wear diamonds?” Is there anything more important in life? No. No there isn’t. And how do you get those diamonds? By becoming a DIVA, obviously. (Or marrying somebody for their money because though you “belong in Hollywood” you never quite made it and therefore must acquire The Meaning of Life (diamonds!) by selling your life (and your soul) to some man who can provide). Aim high, I always say.

I think this one is my favorite. “Step Aside, Barbie.” BARBIE. The most controversial “girl” toy in the world. A FUCKING PLASTIC DOLL. A plastic doll with perfect features, an endless wardrobe, large houses, fancy cars, hot men, a permanent grin and high heels… AND NO BRAIN. No brain! Just boobs (and a supernaturally tiny waist). Yes, isn’t that our greatest dream for our little girls? That they become PLASTIC? That they become BRAINLESS? That they become mere shells of individuals, perfect in every physical way, perfect in their sexiness, and perfect in their mindlessness?

My dream for you, honey, is that you will take the place of BARBIE when you grow up.

Step aside, Barbie.

My daughter’s a-comin’.

And she doesn’t get to chose what she wants for herself. She doesn’t get to wear clothes she can play in. She doesn’t get to THINK about what she wants to be.

Because I’ve already decided all that for her. She is a diva. She belongs in Hollywood. She was born to wear diamonds. She will be the next Barbie.

And when you’re 7 I’ll start dressing you in mini-skirts and heels. When you’re 9 we’ll start on make-up. At 12, oh boy! At 12 we can do fake nails, bikinis and halter tops! Won’t that be fun! And when you’re 17, my dear, I’ll get you your first boob job so you really can someday take Barbie’s place.

Now come here, honey, put on this bow, so everybody can see how much I love you.

It’s bullshit, I tell ya, the crap they make for little girls. And they are forced to wear it.

Before they can even object.

The Asshole Diaries, Chapter 1

by Janelle Hanchett


I am an asshole. Just an average, everyday prick. I piss people off because I am self-absorbed and unaware and pretty much think about myself always, no matter what.

But I am not without compassion. There are, occasionally, some altruistic tugs on my heart strings. For this reason, I have decided to help any budding assholes (huh, that sounded weird) who may be trying to find their way to full dickhead status but just can’t quite make it. You know, struggling. So every now and then, I’m going to write a chapter in my book, entitled, The Asshole Diaries, in which I highlight one aspect of my douche bag repertoire.

And then I’m going to sell it on Amazon for an obscenely cheap price (which will catch your eye) but exorbitant shipping cost (which will make you utter “dick” under your breath). You know, cause that’s how I roll.

So today, let’s talk about parking.

Assholes park in a very particular ways, and they go something like this:

  1. Across two spots, especially if you have one of those lifted 4-door trucks with “Piss on Chevy” sticker on the back. Or Ford. Or whatever it is. Yep. Just go ahead and pull right in sideways. Right across those lines.
  2. If you can’t park sideways across two spots, at LEAST position yourself diagonally so you take up just enough of a second spot to make it physically impossible for even the tiniest car to park next to you. Make sure you do this when the parking lot is full, so everybody gets to drive by and see you taking up two spots, but just barely.
  3. Another winner is to find the dirtiest mini-van or SUV you can, full of car seats and booster seats and kid crap, and park as close to them as you possibly can. I’m talking an INCH or TWO away from it. Just make sure it’s on your passenger side (obviously), so you don’t have any trouble getting out, but the mother has to wrangle her toddler and baby and spastic children into their seats from the other fucking side of the car then crawl her fat ass through the side door across the center console and into her seat. Because she can’t open her door far enough to wedge the said fat ass in.

Because the ASSHOLE parked too close.

YOU CAN be that asshole.

Aim high.

I’m here to help.

Until Chapter 2…

On the Occasion of being Called Unoriginal

by Janelle Hanchett


I have accepted my lameness in most areas. I have fully embraced my sub-par performance in pretty much every facet of my life, particularly parenthood.

But today, somebody referred to one of my blog posts as unoriginal.

And that pissed me off.

Because it was true.

It was unoriginal. She was referring to the last post I wrote (about Ava getting flipped off). I could begin with a link to the post I wrote about sarcasm so perhaps this commenter could see that I was just ranting for the sake of ranting in a silly, over-the-top way and there was not much seriousness in it at all. But the truth is that when I got to the end of the post I said to myself “and…now what, Janelle? Where you going with this. Say something interesting.”  But I was too fucking tired. And I just wasn’t feeling “deep.”

I’m sure that has never happened to the commenter in question. I’m sure she is universally profound.

Not me, though. Sometimes I just rant. Sometimes I write shitty blog posts. Sometimes I FAIL. Thank goodness there is always somebody though, standing at the ready with their flaming sword of truth to show me the error of my ways. Ah, the flaming sword of truth. I stole that expression from a friend of mine.

So setting aside the fact that she misunderstood an entire blog post on account of the fact that there is no sarcasm font (or something) and somehow thought the purpose of the post was something other than a base, superficial rant, I would like to write a few things about my ACTUAL response to this whole flipping-off thing.

But wait a second. Can we talk about context and purpose for a moment? Let’s get something straight. Some posts are deep and profound and REAL. Other posts are silly and shallow and NOT REAL.

But I digress.

This commenter also discussed “veiled violence” and admonished us for going on and on about how we’re going to “cut a bitch” (which is so funny it’s making me LOL as I write this. I effing love you people.)

The Flaming Sword of Truth. Yay.

Beyond the cute use of alliteration, I’m not totally sure what her point there was with the “veiled violence” thing – perhaps that we should be teaching our kids something beyond “cutting people.”

Oh COME THE FUCK ON lady we were JOKING.

You wanna know what I really told my daughter? You want that? You want fucking original? Fine. You got it.

I told her people are assholes. I told her some things happen that leave us feeling desperate and abused and vulnerable. And that hurt turns to rage. It manifests as anger as our ego tries to protect itself. Then comes the urge to retaliate, the apparent need to act out and “get somebody back,” thinking for sure if we “really get ‘em” we’ll feel better and some of the hurt will go and we won’t be angry anymore. But it never works. We talked about the futility of that retaliation, how when we retaliate with more violence, we just become sick inside ourselves, and end up feeling worse than before, deep down, no matter what we may tell ourselves. We suffer like our abuser by holding onto rage – and we infuse with power that which we struggle against.

I suggested she look for the Buddha nature in that woman – for the spirit of God within her, making her our teacher.

I told her about Ghandi – about how he was shot in the heart point-blank on his way to a speech, and as he fell, he looked in the eyes of his murderer and whispered to him a blessing of love and forgiveness.


No, I did not suggest to Ava we hunt this woman down and kick her teeth in. I did that on my blog, where it’s safe to be over-the-top, shallow and sarcastic.

Well, usually.

If asked, I will deny it.

by Janelle Hanchett

The other day I did something insane.

Okay. More insane than usual.

I baked bread, cleaned my house and prepared a balanced meal.

No I didn’t. But that woulda been cool.

I did something weirder. Against all reason and logic. Don’t ever do this no matter what kind of behavior.

I woke a sleeping baby for no particular reason.

I was gone all day. And I mean ALL DAY. I was gone the night before. I got home at 10pm, the whole house was asleep. I walked into her room. I saw her lying there in her crib. I felt weak in the knees loving her.

I walked out.

I went into Ava’s room, touched her head. Love. Went into my room, saw Rocket on our floor, where he’s been planted every night for the past year or so. Whatevs.

Then I brushed my teeth and got into my own bed. And then I felt it. This yearning. This need. For my baby. I just needed to smell her and touch her. I just needed HER.

I thought “you can’t just PICK HER UP, jackass, she could be awake for hours and then you’ll be awake for hours and regret the whole thing and be exhausted and hate your life tomorrow.” My next thought was “Whatever. If that happens I’ll deal with it then. For now, I want my baby.”

And like a freaking maniac I got UP from my bed went into her room reached into the crib and lifted her onto my chest. Her face fell against me. There.

We sat in the rocking chair and nursed. That lazy, half-interested, sleepy nurse. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I smothered my nose against her face.

And she did wake up. And it did suck a little. But my god it was worth it. Every single bit of it.

While I was rocking with her in that silent house, having broken a cardinal rule of motherhood, watching her eyes flit open and lock mine and her lips spread into a sly smile, I thought to myself “Well now, this sure isn’t something I would have done with my first kid.”

It’s true. I NEVER would have done that with Ava, even if I really really really wanted to. Would have been too worried about it. What if she doesn’t go back to sleep? What if she wakes up at 10pm for the rest of her life? What if what if what if what if. Always so worried about DOING IT WRONG.

But I guess that’s one of the joys of having multiple kids – ya just don’t give a shit any longer. It’s all so damn crazy, what’s one more sleepless night? What’s one more tired day? What’s one more hour spent soothing a toddler?

And in the end, what am I gonna remember?

There’s quite a freedom there. It almost makes up for the fact that there are three kids around irritating me all the time. Almost. ALMOST.

B y the way, on a less cuddly note, do you ever feel like telling your kids when they’re bitching about something totally trivial and ultimately irrelevant (like a lost water bottle or Lego or how their sibling mistreated them again), “Look, you’re gonna have to find somebody more interested in this kind of thing because I can’t even muster a response.”

Oh, okay. Well I do.


6 Comments | Posted in posts not fitting elsewhere. | November 1, 2011