Thursday, May 14, 2009

don't let anything stop you: by jess gonacha

sometimes i have little realizations into how i am judgmental towards other people that make me stop for a second and reevaluate how i want to be in the world.

this happened yesterday when i came across a photo of an older, overweight man wearing a fanny pack walking in some european city. my immediate first thought was something like "that's why americans get a bad reputation when they travel. god, people like that shouldn't be allowed to represent us!" isn't that awful? i'm even embarrassed and a bit ashamed to write it, but i figure getting it out there will help me let go of thoughts like that and allow more loving thoughts to come in. so, the great thing is that i stopped, and i realized that this man probably wanted to see europe. maybe he'd never traveled there before. maybe he'd traveled there a million times. maybe he just got a divorce, maybe his mom just died, maybe he just got a big bonus at work and decided to use it to see the world. maybe this was the best moment of this man's life. maybe he was living out a dream he'd had for 20 years. who am i to judge that? i don't know what's going on in anyone else's life.

i'm so quick to judge people on what i imagine them to be, dismissing people for such and such reason, embracing and admiring others for different reasons.... but we're all just people, yes? with our own thoughts and dreams and wishes and fears.... let's give each other a break!

and back to the title of the illustration: i called it "don't let anything stop you" because i imagine the guy in the drawing is visiting europe for the first time, had been saving for many years to do it, and had many reasons NOT to do it, but lived his dream of seeing europe anyway. i'm totally inspired by people that don't listen to the things telling them NO in their lives and just go for their dreams anyway and say a big fat YES to life.


  1. So true, I also have to catch myself before judging many a book by it's cover. I moved from the city to a small town and can't help being an urban snob sometimes. Great post, wandered by via The Camp.

  2. Don't be so hard on yourself, Jess- at least you have the ability to recognize your shortcomings, 'fess up to them, and work on improving ones that you would like to change. More people could take a lesson from you on that point.
    And who knows, maybe he is just a overweight dork who likes to sport fanny packs. No need to rationalize it or find a reason for him- just realize that he is what he is. ;)
    (And if it makes you feel better- my first thought would have been to make fun of his fanny pack if I saw this guy on the street. I recognize that I'm a bit snarky and try to work on toning it down. Sometimes. ;)

  3. nice post Jess. it's great you could be so honest with yourself, and with us.

  4. This is great. And completely in sync with what I've been thinking lately. I'm v. judgmental, which surprises me because I speak against that all the time. Must work on this.

  5. this is amazing. the artwork and the story behind it.

    i think we are all judgemental... much more so than we might like to admit. and i think that knowing this (about ourselves and others) prevents a lot of people (myself included) from doing the things they really want to do in life. we worry so much about what other people think, instead of worrying about what we want and need for ourselves.

    you are very brave for sharing this, and i think we can all learn from it!


  6. wow! what a great illustration and an honest, thought provoking post.

    i have been trying to work on this aspect of myself as well - i am particularly bad about judging others when i am feeling down on ME.

    i had been thinking about this myself today - that i need to be less harsh in my judgement of others, so the timing of your post could not have been more perfect!

  7. this is such a great painting and wonderful words to go with-
    Before I read what you wrote this image immediately brought me to think of a guy that walks around our neighborhood in VERY short shorts, a fanny pack, a sweat band and his headphones in- similar to this guy. I cringe every time I see him- but then I think, hey he is out walking and here I am in my car so knock it off.
    Thanks for reminding us that we all have our own story, even if our cover doesn't always tell it right off...

  8. It must have taken you so much courage to write this here. It is your honesty about yourself and how you feel that makes this blog, Jess.
    I too realise how I am harsh on others and myself & how many times I do it & don't even think tice about it.
    I love your beautiful art and where it comes from.

  9. ouch! what a kick in the pants! Love the illustration, love your story and love the message.

  10. you all are amazing! thank you for all your comments. :)

  11. As usual, great illustration, Jess. Your soul-searching on the judgmental reaction is refreshing. Ya know, if this guy had been walking around in Houston and not Europe, I'd say he was carrying his concealed handgun in the fanny pack. That's what the old guys tend to do! :)

    Again, beautiful work.