Here we go with the first writing prompt of the year. I don’t expect anything wonderful to come out the first few times I write these, but things improve with practice.
The first prompt I’ve chosen is,
What can happen in a second?
A snap judgement, for better or worse happens in one second. The instant you lay your eyes on someone, your brain has decided its figured that person out. Clothes. Hair. Facial expression. Body language. Visual cues can give a person everything they need to know about someone. Financial situation. Marital status. Personality type.
It doesn’t mean that snap judgement is accurate.
Judgement is good. It prevents the young girl from wandering onto a dark street alone.
That one second is also very dangerous.
It convinces you that you don’t need to get to know the person. It convinces you that you’ve learned everything you need to know. One second. One impression. It took me longer than it should have that a person is more than a first impression.
Judgement is good. It helps you recognize danger.
Judgement is also bad. It destroys the potential in a person before you get the chance to learn anything else.
Judgement called one of my best friends loud before I got to see how incredibly strong and independent and thoughtful she is. It told me not to make eye contact with the girl who I would grow to have the most in common with. It convinced me a classmate was snobby when she is one of the sweetest people I’ve come to know. I wouldn’t have any friends now if I’d gotten stuck on that one second of judgement.
There is one instance where my snap judgement was right.
I saw him on the bus – glasses, reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Smart. Bookish. Maybe shy.
In that instant I wasn’t wrong. But because it wasn’t a negative judgement, I opened myself up to the opportunity to learn so much more about him.
Maybe I’m not getting as hooked on that one second as I used to.
Maybe I need to start having more positive judgements.
Maybe that’s what’s more important.