I’m driving down broadway and I catch my reflection in a store front window.
I’m taken aback.
Who is that woman with her coffee mug, yoga pants and 3 ton beast of a vehicle that used to be the recipient of my judgement?
Ten years ago I would have made fun of that woman.
Would have said never will that be me.
I’m better than an SUV,
I’m more conscious of my impact than that.
This of course coming from a time when I didn’t own a car or a house. A time when I walked everywhere, hitched rides when needed, and knew the public transit system like the back of my hand.
But this summer as we packed every inch of our suburu outback to the brim with camping equipment and sand toys, groceries and beach towels, I knew we needed something bigger.
The view through the rearview included our 75lb pup perched atop the cooler and my son without an inch of wiggle room resting his extended legs on a foot-well tower that would tumble the second the door opened. I knew it was time to grow.
“Where will we fit another carseat?” I ask my husband.
“You’re right,” he says “let’s start looking.”
What we wanted was a car that could take us on off-road adventures to our favorite remote camping locals, could seat 7, just in-case of twins, or grandparents, or soccer teams, and oh you know, could it be fuel efficient too?
We soon realized this car did not exist and so we gave in and let go of our environmentalist values saying, we won’t drive it that much and the SUVs these days get the same gas mileage as our older hatchback.
So off to the dealership, to “just look”, reiterated by my hubby 10 times.
“We will not be purchasing today”.
“Okay, okay, I got it.”
Little did I know he was trying to convince himself.
We walk on to the lot and there it is and from the look in his eyes I know we aren’t leaving with out that truck.
So now this beast lives in our driveway.
My husband’s guilt is soothed by commuting by bike to work and I drive our hybrid most days. But when the dog is coming along, it’s an SUV day, so now every Wednesday I load the kid and the pup and drop them at their respective play groups, mapping my way across the city, becoming the woman I used to condemn.
Now we could go into a debate about SUVs. How horrible our dependency is on fossil fuel. The way we are killing our planet, or what a privilege it is to even own a car like this, let alone two.
But instead I’d like to talk about self-acceptance and non-judgement.
Because for me it’s a car that sends me into a spiral of shame. Maybe for you it’s a job or a new role, aging or your body, or maybe something else.
But seeing this image of me reflected in the storefront window offers a new opportunity to love myself just the way I am, internal judgements and all.
As I send her love and forgiveness, acceptance and understanding, I soften.
I soften to myself, I soften to the world, and slowly the harsh judgements that keep us separate dissipate.
We find our teachers everywhere, even in the driveway, who is teaching you today?
** DISCLAIMER – I suck at spelling and my grammar is even worse, but you know what? I’m not letting my inner perfectionist keep me from writing and posting here on this little blog. I mean come on, it’s a blog, so please excuse any errors and feel free to e-mail me any corrections as long as you are kind and remind me that grammar and spelling are not really measures of intelligence or value, but hey a more polished piece is always nice.