I’ve never been a daytime television sort of gal, but when I chose early retirement from my marketing career to pursue full-time housewife-ing and whatever-else-I-want-to-do-with-my-spare-time-ness, I picked up the habit of ironing clothes with Judge Judy streaming as background noise. It’s been a match made in heaven. Except for the ironing. I tend to skip that part now, much like I did today.
So after my hectic morning of baking and running errands, I decided to kick back on the couch for a bit and flick on the telly to catch an episode featuring my favourite female magistrate. I like Judge Judy. She cuts out all the crap and leaves no room for “he said/she said” stories, bogus reasoning, or manipulative perspectives. People come to her to sort out their supposedly sticky, complicated cases and situations.
But the moment they start telling their stories and explaining things away, she’s already figured out the truth. And as the viewer, you have too. The more each person talks and tries to prove something, the more guilty they sound. That’s when things tend to fire up and then quickly dissipate because she doesn’t tolerate crap. There’s no hiding from Judge Judy. She always sees a situation for what it really is and she’ll call a person out, whether they like it or not.
I think I like Judge Judy because I can relate to her. Oftentimes I’m the only one asking all the questions. I’m the one investigating. And I’m the one who calls things out when they make no sense. I am passionate when it comes to getting to the bottom of something that appears one way and is actually another. This is often the case with situations and dramas that occur within my own family.
Maybe that’s why they treat me the way they do. Maybe that’s why they stab me in the back when they talk to each other. Maybe that’s why they say things to me like, “You’re just being rude” or “You’re mean-spirited.” They want to accuse me of something I’m not. They try to insult me and hurt me so I will stop trying to bring things to light. They want to make me feel bad about putting them on the stand.
But what they don’t get is that I’m not the one who’s putting them on trial–they put themselves there. Often I feel as though I’m just a juror who gets told things and brought into situations I never wanted to be a part of. There’s always someone in my family who is trying to convince me of something and see things their way so that I can side with them and sympathize with them, regardless of whether or not it’s the truth. But deep down, they know I’m silently watching and that I’m always wondering. And what bothers them most is that they know I will only make decisions based on the facts presented before me. I’m not driven by emotion to the extremes that they are and I’m most certainly not going to make decisions based on them.
Sometimes I’m not even in the courtroom. I’m actually viewing everything from the outside, no different to the version of me who’s sitting on my couch at home and watching Judge Judy. I’m happy to let my family come to a decision all on their own without my input and without my involvement. And guess what? They’re just as happy to continue casting their own judgements, validating their own arguments, and making their own decisions–judge or no judge present. Truth, partial truth, or no truth evident.
I guess any normal person would find such a reality disturbing, especially because it involves family. Father, mother, siblings. But I’ve had thirty-one years of experience with it. I’m a bloody expert. I can see it now for what it is, and I’ve accepted the unfortunate reality that it will never change. There’s actually nothing left for me to do but to change myself and how I respond to it.
So today I must deliver my response. I will say to myself, “Stand up, get out of the jury stand, walk out of the courtroom, and leave it all behind.” When you live seven thousand and something miles away from a sticky, complicated mess, I guess it eventually gets pretty easy to just cut to commercial because the truth is, the show’s over.