Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't Judge Me (please)

You talk down to my heart, my pride,
You challenge my journeys and my ride
You put down my success and joy,
All for your own selfish ploys.

You think you have a right to judge me,
Just because you can’t begrudge me,
The happiness I stand to gain,
While you’re still riding on your train.

You think you have a right to this,
To smack down my smiles and bliss,
You say you know me but you don’t,
You only see me through what I wrote.

You haven’t been through thick and thin,
You have no idea what shape I’m in,
You weren’t with me through the sludge,
I don’t think you have a right to judge.

Say what you will, I can’t care now,
I know I’m here and I know how,
You had nothing to do with who I am,
And so I’ll ignore what you say as you talk to the hand.

I know it’s not over; you’re not the only one,
There’ll be many more of this until it’s done,
But for right now I am not ready to budge,
Say what you will, but please don’t judge.

It might be jealousy; it might be for real,
But scars you cause are hard to heal,
Who are you to shout out loud?
What have you done that makes you proud?

When you stand with and hold my hand
Then if you want to judge I’ll understand,
But until I say you have an in,
I only answer to myself and Him.


Anon#1 said...

Really good!!!

Can you give us some background to what made you write this?

Anonymous said...

Where I live in Israel there is a phenomenon where families who are bursting out of their small apartments sometimes find the money to build a few extra rooms. There are areas where it is impossible to obtain building-permits, and sometimes they will choose to build anyway. (Whether this is the right way to go is not my point.) There are many occasions where they are almost finished all the renovations, and they get a knock on their door from the police for building without a permit. Who would call? Well, very often it is their neighbor who can't overcome their ugly feelings of envy, and not only ruin the chances for their neighbor to expand their apartment, but try to get them in trouble as well.
All I can say is: it is so darn SAD that people can stoop so low to try to ruin any bit of your excitement and happiness with what you have achieved. Or think they can understand why you chose to do what you have done. As you said, you know who you are and are trying to use the journey which Hashem guided you through to do exactly what He would want you to do; to give others chizuk. You have no one else to answer to. I don’t want to put down your precious home city, but what the heck, I will. I grew up verrry out of town, I mean very. And people are just not so judgmental and superficial in other places.
As for your other post- "What's Within": What you described- about feeling out of place when the children seemed much sicker than you- is similar to the way I feel when those around me are sick or when I hear of tragedies. My sister had a massive brain tumor as a teen, leaving her on a long road which resulted in many, many losses. I often felt, and still sometimes feel, undeserving- why is it that I have everything I could have asked for from life, and she has almost nothing? I constantly remind myself that I'm not the one running the show. While I can't attempt to have the answers in this lifetime, I know there are perfect answers waiting to be explained to me. Although the contrast in my and my sister's lives is sometimes heartbreaking, obviously the Creator feels that this is what we both need. It's so true what you said- it's not about comparing. After 120 you won’t be asked anything other than if you used your personal strengths in your own tailor-made, unique life.
I am so totally in shock that you are so wise at the age of 21, (not that I'm so much older- but still). Don't worry, I can assure you that you still seem pretty stinker-ish, but I am waiting for many more amazing writings which come from the depths of your heart. Your students are some lucky kids!

J.A.P. said...

anon #1- no background avail- sorry. Suffice it to say that I have been getting not-so-nice feedback from people who I feel have no right to say what they are saying.

Inspired said...

I think this is the flip side of leading a more "public" life.
It may not be jealousy in the sense of not "farginning", and being upset about your good lot, but a feeling of discomfort of some sort. When people are faced with the successes of others, if they are suffering through similar challenges and not meeting up with it in a way that they are happy with, it triggers unpleasant feelings. Perhaps guilt, and the feeling, "Why can't I be just as positive?" Now, some people may use that feeling as a springboard for introspection, and perhaps gain encouragement and inspiration, while others may vent their unpleasant emotions outwards.
Being as you are in the spotlight now, the Green Monster has more of a chance to rear its ugly head.
May everyone see resolution to their internal conflicts!

The Babysitter said...

great poem.
I hope people aren't judging you because of your book, that's mean of them.
From reading your post before it sounds like your really confident about everything and that no one will be able to get you down. The post before was great, it had a strong message.
But I guess with all forms of "fame" there are things that come along with it. As the quote goes "different stroke for different folks" no matter how great you are, there are gonna be those that disagree, so you just gotta focus on the ones that adore you.

Inspired said...

P.S. How do people judge you? "Your cancer wasn't as bad as mine"?! Nebach, they're hurting!

J.A.P. said...

Yes Inspired,

People judge for what I went through, for how I dealt with it and for writing a book about it.

I try not to take anything to heart, but I know that I am not guilt free. We all judge others at some point or another and right now I'm just unlucky enough to be on the recieving end of it.

Anonymous said...

I recently finished reading your book. Wow!! Thank you it really gave me so much chizuk!! Its the type of book i will always remember and never get bored of reading over and over again. I cant believe anyone could find anything wrong with it!! Keep up the good work. there are many out there who need the chizuk!!

Mickey Mouse said...

There a the Judgemental people and the Accepting people. The Judgemental people are always going to have something to criticize... do yourself a favor and stick around the accepting sort... ignore the other sort anything you do they would've done better.

itsagift said...

Just wanted to show you something kool!! I googled "Miracle Ride" and found this (from the Jewish Press website):

Miracle Ride is Tzipi Caton’s very personal story of recovery from Hodgkin’s disease. While it features the customary story elements associated with detection, diagnosis, and treatment of a serious illness, the book packs in a lot of surprises.

Picture an elfin Orthodox Jewish 16-year-old engaging her medical team in feisty repartee, who discovers irony in the ordinary, and who is often downright funny in her unfiltered interactions with friends, family, teachers, and fellow patients. Miracle Ride is the outcome of a journal Tzipi wrote to chronicle her journey from sickness to health. Aware or not, this young writer makes clever use of stream-of-consciousness technique.

Most people tend to skip over a book’s preface and foreword. In this case, don’t. The preface was written by Tzipi’s attending physician, Dr. Michael B. Harris, who directs Tomorrow’s Children’s Institute at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at the Hackensack University Medical Center. He’s also Professor of Pediatrics at UMDNJ — New Jersey Medical School and at Touro University College of Medicine. Himself a man of great emunah, faith, he’s one of those incredibly busy medical experts for whom time expands when he renders personal care to his patients. His warm comments set the pace and tone for Miracle Ride.

Equally so with the book’s foreword, written by the woman we know only as Tzipi’s mother, whose loving perspective takes us viscerally inside a gut-wrenching series of experiences for her, her husband and Tzipi’s many siblings.

Tzipi Caton is a fighting realist with a deep trust in God. Her palpable faith flows throughout Miracle Ride. She lives, talks, prays, argues, cries and laughs as one who knows God is real, and is there for her. Her faith is not a placebo.

Miracle Ride begins in 2003. Tzipi remembers, “The first thing that went through my mind was that I must’ve had a brick in my neck. It was Thursday, at the end of first period, and I was bending down to get my siddur, when suddenly it hurt to move my head. Instinctively, my hands went to my neck and I felt two big bumps I’d never felt before.”

Tzipi’s spirited attitude, which suffuses the book, emerges in the first chapter when she quips, “Eleventh grade was so not a picnic.” She describes her joy at being Jewish and a girl – until she hit a hard wall of realization. “I was the girl who loved everything about being a girl. The clothing, the shoes, the makeup, the shoes, the accessories, the shoes, the jewelry, the shoes, doing my long dark hair, the shoes, and did I mention the shoes? My days as a Jewish American princess seemed to be changing into my days as a JACP – a Jewish American cancer patient.”

The story races rollercoaster-like through the shock of diagnosis, the search for the best medical care, the struggle for normalcy, the curious fraternity shared by fellow cancer patients, and a family and community that prays, cares, and wonders why. After many poignant twists and turns, the book hurtles toward an amazing-but-true story book ending that left this reviewer breathless with gratitude.

Miracle Ride is one of those once-in-a-decade books that pole-vaulted to the top of my recommended reading stack. Its particular Jewish cultural and religious setting is a stimulating backdrop for its universal themes of hope, courage, faith and determination. I got very attached to the personalities showcased in Tzipi’s journal. They enlightened my mind and deeply touched my heart. More than an entertaining human drama, Miracle Ride solicits action. When I reluctantly finished it, I knew I had to carry its impact into my world to make something better, to brighten someone’s day, to improve myself as a caring person.

There’s a compassionate spin-off developing with the publication of Miracle Ride. Friends, family, friends of friends and even strangers are committing resources to make this book available as an encouragement to cancer patients across the country. There is also hope that the book will generate more interest and support for Dr. Michael Harris’s vital work at Tomorrow’s Children’s Institute.

It’s been five years since Tzipi Caton’s miracle ride began. Today at 21, she’s a remarkable soul with a unique gift to reframe personal hardships into a storyline that can literally shift a reader’s view of what’s really important in life. She’s anything but shy in sharing the lessons of her recovery from cancer. Therefore, I predict we’ll see more published musings from this talented young author.

Woah! People should LEARN from your book - it should teach them a thing or two about having a positive attitude instead of looking for things to criticize!!

EY girl said...

this is poem is really good, it really sums up everything very well. You remind me of a great quote by Rabbi N. Weinberg of Aish HaTorah. He said about his starting of Aish HaTorah. "When you start something new everybody says you're crazy. When you're halfway succesful they say,'I knew it all along.' You know when you're really succesful: When they say 'I can do it better than you.'"

Unfortuanately we still have a lot to go with "farginning" others whatever hatzlocho Hashem gives.

Anonymous said...

Let me know who is "hurting" you and I'll take care of them :).

J.A.P. said...

Thanks Anonymous- but if you are who I think you are, you know I'm godd at fighting my own battles.

EY girl- loved that quote!

ItsAGift- thanks, I saw that review- They approved it with me before they published it. LOL

Pr said...

This is disheartening. I find that people (adults!) act this way when they feel threatened subconsciously by someone who actually knows more than them about something OR is clear that they learned a lot about life and are on a different level of living than them.
My theory is that, it hurts their pride too much and they have to put it down instead.
It used to hurt every time. Now I instead pity those who comment like this. I honestly feel bad for them, that instead of recognizing a chance to learn from someone else's pain, they have to find their own experiences to ever learn the same things.
It doesn't make being judged any easier, but like you conclude in your piece, If you are answering to only yourself and HaShem, it makes things easier to handle.
I sincerely hope that by putting yourself out there for the specific purpose of helping other people, you will be blessed with kindness from others on this next stage of your journey...

Anonymous said...

Sorry people are being so judgemental. I think what might bother people is that Hodgkin's is a relatively "easy" type of cancer (and I put "easy" in quotes because no cancer is easy) and it has a 98% survival rate, so they might feel that you don't know what it's REALLY like to suffer a light threatening illness. People with more complicated forms of cancer, who don't know if they're going to make it, and go through years of chemo and surgery, can look at someone like you and wonder why you feel like you're qualified to write the book. Personally, I think that if your book can give chizuk to others, then the fact that you weren't "that sick" shouldn't disqualify you from sharing your experiences but it helps to be able to see things from others' point of view.

Bas~Melech said...

My heart is hurting not only for you but mostly for the people who are having such a hard time in their own lives that they are not ready to accept others.

It's interesting that I'm reading this tonight -- earlier today someone was telling me about her very similar experience: She'd recovered from cancer and was eager to inspire others with her story, but some just weren't ready to hear it. Their reactions shocked her somewhat. Years later, as a professional, she now understands about how people cope in all different ways, and sometimes in the middle of an overwhelming situation you just can't listen to someone else's upbeat story.

So, while I sympathize with your hurt at receiving negative feedback, I also hope that from your more objective position, you will be able to accept these people and allow them the time they need to come to terms with their own pain.

little sheep said...

you're nice-you even say please! i'd be more likely to say "shut your fat trap and leave me be!"

it's interesting how people think they know the "whole" you, just based on your blog and book...people think they know more than do about everything and everyone i guess...