This Is Why I’m Judging You
By: Brittany Priore Illustration: Kelley Marcelle Malka
I have never been a judgmental person. I’m usually the friend anyone can come to with anything and I will listen to whatever they have done, whatever they are thinking, or whatever it is that they are feeling. I’ve seen it all, I’ve heard it all, so nothing really surprises me anymore and regardless if I haven’t seen it or heard it before, it’s not my life to judge. As a friend, and as a fellow human being who has gone through their own fair share of hardship, I’m only here to listen, help, and comfort. However, my listening isn’t silent. I am that person who asks a million questions- only out of pure interest I assure you! I find other people’s logic, reasoning, and perspective stimulating. I love to understand people’s actions- good or bad. I love to listen, but I love to talk even more.
As someone who loves to talk, I’ve never been the type of person to push my opinions and beliefs onto other people. I will most definitely help you understand my reasoning and actions if asked- so be prepared, but if not then I keep those reasons to myself.
So, it was surprising to me when a friend recently asked, knowing I’m a vegan if I judge other people who choose to eat meat. Out of passion, love, and anger and without thinking I immediately said yes. We sat on my couch and discussed my answer for almost two hours. As I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole I didn’t want to be in, I realized once my friend left I really needed to evaluate what it was I had been saying and thinking in those past two hours.
I felt awful saying I had reined judgment on anyone and the way they choose to live their lives. I’m so open-minded and accepting of almost everything else, so why did I feel such anger when suddenly asked if I judge people who eat meat? Why did I immediately respond by saying yes? I speak without thinking probably 85% of the time. I have diarrhea of the mouth on a daily basis. I’m so honest and open with people that I never seem to know when too much information is just that- too much. So was this another diarrhea of the mouth moment? Was I speaking without thinking? I really didn’t think so. I had too much anger toward the question.
It hurts and saddens me to know that people turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of animals. I was raised in a household that strongly supported and respected the lives of animals. I was never allowed to go to the circus, zoo, or Disney’s Sea World. I was raised to eat meat, but I wasn’t raised to enjoy animals for entertainment or to wear animals as fashion pieces. I was raised to adopt and not shop. As I got older, it was a major adjustment for me to see that other people weren’t raised that way or that some people just don’t have the love for animals that I do. It was a major adjustment for me to see that my own brother, who raised in the same household, goes against many of the things that were instilled in us as children. I’ve always disagreed with his choices but I have accepted them and him as the person he is because we are all different in many ways- not by just body types, skin color, and religion. Our perspective makes us different. And we can’t judge each other because we see things differently. This is always something I’ve believed. So again, what changed now?
I quickly realized it wasn’t that I judge people who eat meat. Do I strongly disagree with them? Yes. Does it make me not like someone or think poorly of them because they choose to eat meat? No. Some of my favorite people choose to eat meat. However, I stand adamantly in my beliefs that an animal should not be killed or hunted for sport. I stand adamantly that an animal shouldn’t be worn as a coat or a belt. I stand adamantly in choosing to use vegan and cruelty-free products. But that’s just me, I’m pretty extreme in my beliefs and I don’t expect everyone else to be. I do, however, expect people to take the time to realize there are certain brands or companies they can avoid that severely mistreat animals. If you want to eat meat it, eat it! But does it have to be with a company that abuses their animals? If you want to wear makeup does it have to be with a company that tests on animals? If you want to wear a leather belt does it have to be from a mass manufacturing company in the states that kills an animal just for their skin instead of from a 10-generation owned farm that uses every single part of the animal?
My point is, I was too quick to judge. I was too quick in speaking without thinking. I was too quick in forgetting that some of the people I love and respect the most wear leather, eat meat, and adopt from breeders. Not everyone is like me and I don’t expect them to be. But I do expect people to educate themselves more so they can understand why eating meat can be unhealthy for us. I do expect people to gain better knowledge into understanding which companies and brands mistreat, their animals. It’s not only important to be educated on these matters because of the animals it’s important so we’re not being taken advantage of by these companies anymore.
I was filled with so much anger when asked the question by my friend. It’s not that I judge people who choose to eat meat, it angers me that people don’t educate themselves enough to understand what really happens and goes into the mistreatment of animals for the sake of our own personal enjoyment. There are so many little things we can do to make a difference and still be able to enjoy the things we love. When my friend asked me that question, I answered out of anger because I was angry. I answered out of disappointment because I was disappointed. I answered with judgment because for a brief moment I was judging. But now I would like to admit, I no longer judge and wholeheartedly apologize for the judgment I placed upon those who just don’t know better. But I do hope with this, if you are one who doesn’t know better, you are inspired to take matters into your hands and educate yourself because you deserve it and the animals deserve it too.