You are so right... and for me it's about judgment.
I'm a half breed. Neither of the societies of the people who I am genetically connected to accept me. I grew up and outcast. I hated the feeling that I was being looked at and judged. That my own family, members of both sides looked at me and instead of seeing the traits that reminded me of them... they chose to focus on the traits that they resented from "the other side". There is no happy place from my childhood to run and seek comfort in except art and riding my bicycle.
My bicycle was my means of escaping the physical presence of people who I resented and hated back... and when out of cruelty and malice they took my bike away then I escaped inside my mind through reading. When they took my books away I could always draw or do something else like write my own stories.
I came to believe that people who are judgmental are so because they are fearful or they simply are trying to elevate themselves to avoid the smallness they feel inside. The same goes for controlling people.
I've never been a smoker. But I've been judged in other ways. I severed my ties with my family when I came to the realization that I didn't have to allow them to make my life miserable. I didn't owe them anything.
I also came to understand that ultimately we are responsible for no one else but ourselves. We define who we are. Period. There are countless numbers of people who will make instant judgments about you without taking a second to look deeper. It's a great shame and pity. And the truth is that you can't do anything to change their judgments. That's on them.
I do think that in a certain extent we are all going to make judgments about others. In deciding to not care and be resentful of people who judge us; we are in fact judging them. That's what took me the longest time to come to grips with.
I eventually decided that I am OK with that. I just had to define what the criteria for my personal judgments would be. It's pretty simple... are you self aware? Meaning do you think about your own motivations, feelings, and way of thinking in a critical way? Do you seek to be a better person by your own standards? Other people's standards are irrelevant; do you think about the things you have experienced and the choices you have made and try to learn from them... good and bad... so you can make better choices for yourself in the future? If you do this... I think the world of you. I don't care about race, sexual orientation, political opinions, nationality, religion, education level, or any of the other things people typically get hung up on.
I am so glad that I came across your collection. The honesty and depth of the things you write about... anyone who has judged you without taking the time to know you or understand you... it's is truly their loss. They are missing out. You've got a lot to say.
I will offer you one last bit of advice. I hope that after reading what I have shared above you will take this in the spirit it is meant. One of the hardest things for me (personally) to come to grips with and accept was that after a pretty miserable childhood that I was worthy of being happy. That it was OK to want and even demand better for myself. Understand that you get in life what you accept and invite. You have all the power to move past the things that hurt you and never accept them again. If you believe that you deserve better... then never accept less.
I haven't had contact with either side of my family... one side in 30 years. The other side in 10. And I've never lived a happier, more positive and fulfilling life.
Lastly, once you come to grips with understanding yourself and making healthy choices that reinforce the path that you've chosen... you will start seeing others for who they are... it's almost like a curtain is lifted. You'll be able to see the difference between judgment and miscommunicated attempts at caring.
When I tell you that I think the things you share are truly wonderful. I mean it. when I say that I'm so happy to meet someone who has such a good understanding of themselves at an age when I was still lost - that I feel the world is a better place for you being here and sharing your thoughts and feelings; I mean it. And when I say that because of these things I hope in time you find another outlet for coping that isn't so bad for your health; it's not judgment... it's me caring.
Thank you again for just being you. I'm really looking forward to reading more.