Day 382: Why I was judgmental about yesterday’s blog post

I was unhappy with yesterday’s post, called “Different Ways,” because:

  1. I left out the traditional first word — “Day” —  from the post title (for the first time in three hundred and eighty-one days), which I didn’t notice until much later  (at which point I fixed it).
  2. I left out the driving point of that post, entirely, because I was feeling guilty about something.

I hope to fix that, now.

I confess, dear reader. I concealed something from you, yesterday. As Diana Schenk, one of my favourite readers and writers here at WordPress, wrote in a comment to yesterday’s post:

avoidance is one of favourite strategies. Well not really, but I do it anyway! haha

Thank you for that comment, Diana.

So, yes, in yesterday’s post I avoided saying something. I used indirect, rather than direct communication.1 And, as a result, yesterday’s post suffered.

Many of my readers still liked yesterday’s post, and for that I’m truly grateful. I’m not going to act like Eddie Van Halen, who berated somebody for praising his guitar work, when Mr. Van Halen knew his playing could have been better.2

Nevertheless, I was aware of my judgment about that blog post, all day. And, last night, I reality-tested3 that judgment, by asking my bf, Michael,  to read the post, and to tell me what he thought of it.

And this is what  Michael said: “It wasn’t one of your better ones.  And I was thinking, as I read it, ‘Isn’t this sort of about the car accident you just had?'”

And it was.

Now, before people get concerned, let me say this: Not to worry.  I was in a minor fender bender, a couple of days ago, is all.  The accident was so minor, that it’s possible that the other driver is not going to report the damage to the insurance company.  But I still feel some shame about it, because the accident was completely my fault.

Here’s what happened:  I was driving home from work, with  Waze (the GPS system I wrote about in yesterday’s post) on my cell phone, guiding me home.  Waze’s familiar voice and the surprising ways she sometimes alters the route  can help me let go of anxiety I sometimes feel, after a long day working at the hospital.

The ride home, on that particular night, wasn’t easy, because it was foggy, dark, and pouring rain. And Waze brought me home a different way, which involved at least one scary, unfamiliar maneuver into heavy traffic.

I’m not blaming Waze, mind you.  Waze was doing the best she could.  And I made it through that difficult traffic maneuver, just fine.

However, soon after that, when I was back on a familiar part of my route home, I stopped at a red light.  At that point, a text message came through on my phone from somebody I care about. I thought it might relate to something important, and …. BAM!  I had rolled into the car in front of me.

I felt awful, because this was totally my fault.  I had been distracted by my cell phone, just like those people in anti-texting  public service ads, who have done terrible damage.

The other driver and I exchanged information, in the pouring rain.  Her car had a little bit of damage. My car had none.

I reported the accident to my insurance company and — as far as I know — the other driver hasn’t reported it, yet. And no matter what she does, it’s going to be okay. It wasn’t the crime of the century.4 However, it WAS a serious mistake on my part, even though the consequences, in this case, were small.

As always, I learned something from my mistake. And, I’m going to figure out ways NOT to get distracted by texts that come in while I’m driving.

If you now read yesterday’s blog post, after finding out my secret, maybe you’ll see how that story was lurking there, in certain places.  Or maybe not. It was lurking there for me, while I was writing, even though I didn’t name it in the post.

I’m glad I’m naming it now.

So, as I end this post, what image should I include?  I have  photos on my iPhone of the other driver’s license and registration, but that’s REALLY inappropriate to share. What IS appropriate to share, right now?

Maybe something from Google Image, about a phrase I’ve written about before.

Image 6

I’m glad I’m saying that now, too.

One more thing, before I end. I’m remembering, for some reason, a metaphor that somebody used yesterday, at work. This woman was talking about how she felt shame about her sadness and grief, because she wasn’t used to crying in front of people. She said,

It’s like I’ve kept a curtain down in front of those feelings, my whole life, and now the curtain is up. And I can’t control it.

I thought that was a wonderful metaphor, for the experience of shame. She and I discussed how the worst part of that, for her, was the lack of control over the curtain.

So, dear readers, I’m glad I took control, today, and raised a curtain, here.

Thanks to everybody who has been hurt — or who has unintentionally hurt somebody else — no matter what the extent of the damage. And a special thanks to you, for visiting.


  1. When I tried to link to a previous post about that topic, just now, I discovered another mistake I’d been hoping to avoid: I gave the same title to different posts: here and here.

  2. Michael told me that story, about Eddie Van Halen and a reporter at one of his concerts, last night.

  3. See this list for more about reality testing (and other helpful antidotes for unhelpful thoughts and behaviors).

  4.  This is something I sometimes say to myself, when my conscience is being over-active, like recently, when I took a rain check for a sale item that a store was out of, and then decided not to use the rain check the next time I saw the item was back on the shelf, but rather save it for a time when the item was no longer on sale.5

  5. If you understand this story, I assume that you have an over-active conscience, too.

  6.  I found that image, here, at Lia Halsall’s blog.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Day 382: Why I was judgmental about yesterday’s blog post

  1. Reading texts while driving is never a good idea, I don’t think. But yes, I have done it, too, Ann, uneventfully, so far. Knock on wood. Here’s what I think of Waze after today’s post. I don’t like that it takes you into anxiety-producing maneuvers on unfamiliar roads for a trip you take every day. Is that worth beating traffic? Finally: I liked your streamlined title. Time to scrap the ‘Day:’ perhaps?

    • It’s funny, Mark. My main motive for using Waze is not to beat the traffic. I just like the company, I guess. Your suggestion for streamlining the title reminds me of a suggestion I got from my friend Lawry recently. He requested that I change “The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally” to “The Age of Living Non-Judgmentally.” I think both your and Lawry’s suggestions are excellent ones. And in both cases, I choose to keep my established traditions.

      • I had the feeling that you would stick to your tradition, Ann. I volunteered my opinion happily nevertheless. I know you listen well and consider the comments!

      • And you know how good I am at turning down assignments, Mark, no matter how kind and wise they are.

  2. I didn’t catch the subtext of the last post, but then, I generally move in a state of calculated obliviousness.
    (Except when I drive.)
    (Usually.)

    I’m glad you feel better about facing up to the car tap, and hope it makes it easier to not fall into avoidance next time something comes up. Generally seems better to just name it and face it…

  3. You’re not alone. Car taps happen all the time, especially here in Southern California. I had one a few months ago with a van. My fault, and my damage was heavier. Driving takes total concentration. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Remember, seven times down, eight times up.

  4. Ann, you know I still love you, right? Who isn’t perfect? Right? Throw out the words shame and guilt and just learn the Lesson. For in reality that is all it is. DO NOT TEXT.

    I also think technology makes our brains lazy. I won’t have a GPS in my car, and only rely on memory, and when I do go into unfamiliar territory, I use Google Maps. And look at the anxiety provoking scenario that happened because a voice told you to drive in a place you didn’t know.

    Heck, to be honest with you, I don’t own a cellphone. Yes, we do have ONE which is to be used in emergencies only. I don’t talk on it, in fact, I dislike talking on cell phones. It distracts ones from the present NOW Moment, and hence, much in Life is missed.

    Just changing the station on my radio while driving can be hazardous. So many people think it is no big deal, but I don’t take chances when I drive. I’ve had my license since I was 16, am now in my 50’s, and I have not had one accident. Once, in a blizzard while driving home from a job, it was so bad, when I applied the brakes I went into a spin and slid into a railing. That was before cell phones were even around.

    In closing, I really do love you. And yesterday’s post, I didn’t read, so I don’t know what you concealed. We all conceal things, Luv, not just you. I recently had a conversation with a wonderful woman regarding my beginnings, and how I have not ever spoken the entire truth. I really don’t wish to. I’ve sat in enough counseling chairs to know rehashing the past doesn’t do any good. It is what you do with the Present Now, that counts.

    Love, (((HUGS)), and more (((HUGS))), Amy

    PS I have victory to report. I swear my CD jackets move and I loose them. Yep, just like your gloves. Yesterday, I found a CD jacket that I have been looking high and low for … It was exactly where I just unthinkingly dropped it. I try so hard to put things back where I found them, but when on the run, or when words come in my head, I tend to “Oh, I’ll get this later”. Hmmm……and later never comes. 🙂

  5. I know that the whole point of this blog is to step away from judgement, but I hope you don’t mind if I make one. Today’s post is poignant, sweet and in a quiet way, brilliant.

    Yesterday’s post seemed different from your other posts, not so much in its quality (your posts are always a pleasure to read) but because you seemed more distant from your writing than usual. Thanks to today’s post, I understand why. (And I’m so glad that neither you nor the person whose car you bumped into were injured.)

    The two posts taken together offer a fascinating study in the process and art of writing and so they’re kind of a gift to your readers — many of whom, I notice, are also writers.

    If you hadn’t committed to posting every day, you probably would have held onto yesterday’s post and then tweaked it today — and then we would never have seen it in its original form. Possibly not at all.

    Even if you’d ultimately crafted a post about your accident and your feelings of guilt as touching as the one you wrote today, we wouldn’t have been able to see the difference not only in subject matter but in tone. In both posts, you tried hard to reach your readers, entertain us, give us something to take away. But one of them left you unsatisfied because you were holding something back that you weren’t comfortable holding back. Because of your openness, we learned not only what you were hiding (guilt), but how it altered your writing and the kind of work you had to do in order to write something that you were more satisfied with. Writing is not easy, and it’s not just a matter of picking the write words!

    By the way, today’s post means a lot to me personally. (I am not as open as you are, and so I am not going to disclose why. Even if that makes me feel guilty. – grin-)

    • Re: “The write words.” That wasn’t meant to be a pun. That was a mistake. Really.

      I hope you don’t mind that I slip into my regional spelling of judgment/judgement in my posts. I try to stick to the spelling you use — it’s the title of your blog, after all, but I can’t help adding the e. I’m trying not to judge myself too harshly for that.

    • This comment means a lot to me, too. I read it earlier today and its various facets have been shimmering in my mind since then.

      Writing is not easy, but you make it look easy.

      I continue to be extraordinarily grateful that you read my posts and express your thoughts here.

      And in response to your second comment:

      I love “write words.” And of course I don’t mind the way you spell judgement. I first learned to spell it without the “e” when I was writing my senior thesis on Jane Austen in college. The title of my thesis used the word “judgment” and I HAD to learn to spell it the “write way” for that place and time. Spell it however you wish; your thoughts come through either way.

  6. Please be careful, when you are driving. 3 years ago, where I lived in Denmark that time, I had to run like hell, when I heard a crash from 2 cars, to help if it was not too late.
    One young woman at 22 years old did drive directly to the corner of a truck, the car was not nice to look at, and she lay on the street, still alive, but died at the hospital. She did use the sms in her phone, and we found her phone 25 meters away in a garden.
    Please don’t speak or sms when you are driving…..
    Irene

  7. If your lawyer hasn’t approved this post, I would delete it immediately and do an entirely different one. Remote as the possibility is, if the wrong person found it, there could suddenly be a case of “whiplash” and you’ve already admitted fault.

    Sorry to be negative, just looking out for your.

  8. Hopefully, I learn something from your lesson. Thanks for the wake up call

  9. Hmm, AnElephant finds this all very interesting if somewhat intense.
    As someone who has wrecked cars all over Europe for many many years he is surprised at your concern over a little boomps.
    But understands and agrees absolutely with your views on distractions caused by mobile (cell) phones.
    And he loves your blog.

  10. Pingback: Day 388: What was your intent? | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  11. Pingback: Day 389: Company | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  12. Pingback: Day 612: Not the only one | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  13. Pingback: Day 675: Eyes | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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