I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together: The Beatles, the homeless, and the Golden Rule

It did not hit me until after I gave him: the man holding up a sign for money on the side of the road, five crinkled greens from my wallet and drove away. 

1) I did not memorize the color of his eyes.
2) I did not ask him what one food he would marry if he had the choice.

We all have quirky rituals when it comes to meeting new faces. New friends. I memorize a person’s eye color, though I never tell them outright. I add them to a concordance of blues and hazels and greens within my mind. And I delight in breaking the ice with the question, “If you could marry one food what would it be and why?” Sounds pretty silly but trust me, this question of matrimony (and the sheer insanity of the thought) has the capacity to absolutely chisel away the ice. (In case you were wondering: I would marry blueberry pancakes because they are pretty clutch at any time of the day BUT they are a great comfort when the world gets me down. Let’s just pray I never have to compare my future husband to them).

But I had neglected to do either of the things with the homeless man. So I kicked myself all the way home while wondering if he had blue eyes or brown. If he would marry macaroni or maybe chocolate cake.

I was angry with the fact that I had treated the man any different than I would a new face in a crowd. For putting myself on a pedestal in front of him. For judging him by his Dirty Clothes, his Tattered Sign, the Circumstances Dealt to Him.

If I could erase one thing from this world it might be judgment. I think it is the root of a lot of other problems. And what I cannot understand is why we walk around all day, two conversations constantly going. The first conversation we have with one another. That is the one that actually plops off our tongues in the form of Words and Dialogue. The second conversation is the one we carry in our heads, you know, the one with the little voice that makes us feel entitled to judge another by their status, the decisions they make and the person they are. We judge strangers, friends, loved ones. More often than we probably care to or even notice.

These days my mind has a hard time wrapping itself around anything but the act that is judging. It is all that I think about. And I believe I have started to look at people a little differently because of this judgment that is suffocating me… Seriously. Last night I was walking through the grocery store and my eyes caught the sight of another and I prepared myself to make a judgment of them. And then I heard this little voice say, “Who do you think you are, Hannah? What makes you so cool that you can judge that person? What did they ever do to you?” I kid you not, this is happening to me everywhere these days.

So I have no other choice. It is either change the way I see the world or be doomed to enter an insane asylum for hearing the voice of judgment in my ear 24/7.

Here is the case: closed. We should have admiration for one another, because we all pretty admirable people. We each wake up and we walk outside and we try to make sense of this thing called life. And that is pretty brave. Some of us have it easier. But tomorrow it might be harder. Some of us are forced to figure out life on a street corner, or within a broken family or while fighting a disease. But if you ask me, we are all pretty courageous. But more than that, we are all pretty equal. And if we only stripped ourselves of our statuses, the zeros within our paychecks, the clothes we wear and the privileges we have, we would see that we are all pretty Similar. Pretty Tired. Pretty Wonderful. Pretty Cool. Pretty Daring for being human beings in this broken world.

And Gandhi got it, Mother Teresa understood it too, Jesus knew it and Che comprehended. Even the Dalai Lama is all over this like bees on honey. That if we are lacking peace in our lives it maybe because we are forgetting a simple fact: we are here to help one another, to stand on equal ground with one another- not forge a distance or set ourselves apart. Treat others as you would want to be treated? Oh yes, now I recall.

And honestly, we waste a lot of productivity and energy by judging people so often. We could use that energy better. To Love Better. To Care More. To Be Better Friends. Better Lovers. Better Human Beings. And we could be so much more productive. Instead of judging (an act that gets us absolutely nowhere) we could sing songs, or create murals or start the next Woodstock. It doesn’t really matter, I just think there are better things to do with our times then separate ourselves with a pair of scissors called “judgment.”

Want to work at it with me? I have learned quite a lot for just trying it out this week. I have learned that I admire the people who work in construction. That I adore the man who pushes carts at the grocery store. That I have a newfound respect for the worker at Dunkin Donuts and for the people on the treadmill next to me at the gym at 5a.m.

And I learned that no matter who I come across (NO MATTER WHO) I should treat them as I would my best friend. With kindness, loyalty, respect and compassion. And I should get better at memorizing their eye color and asking them what food they would marry and why.

And while I am on this, what food would you marry? And what color are your eyes?

59 thoughts on “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together: The Beatles, the homeless, and the Golden Rule

  1. My eyes are dark brown. They are the same color as my father’s, and I cherish that because in all other respects, I am my mother’s twin.

    And I would marry Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese (with the powdered stuff). I’ve eaten amazing food around the world, but this was the first thing I made for myself (at age 6) and, apparently, I’ll value independence above anything else.

  2. I am with you on erasing judgment from this world. We are all the same, we all want the same things and we all have the same needs. Yet we are all too busy judging one another and ourselves to notice our similarities. And it’s all rooted in insecurity. Maybe if we learn to love ourselves, we’ll have more love for others.

    For the record, my eyes are kind of ambiguous. Some people say blue, others say green. I say they are a mixture of blue, green and gold. And if I could marry one food it would probably be almond butter 🙂

    1. Maybe if we learn to love ourselves, we’ll have more love for others… You are spot on! I am on a constant quest to embrace myself and I think it helps me love the people in my life even better.

      And are we sisters? Seriously, I think we may just have the same eye color.. And I am an almond butter addict. I put it in my smoothies and on my sandwiches all the time!


      Hannah Katy

  3. judging others is my biggest, biggest flaw. i spend my professional time analyzing, parsing and looking for flaws; it’s been a tough road trying to keep that same instinct to nit-pick out of my personal life. i have to work at it a lot. it’s tough.

    my eyes are gray-blue. as for marrying a food? ooh, i think it’d have to be the crawfish etouffee at mother’s in new orleans. it’s amazing, it’s a little expensive, and it’s reminiscent of home.

    1. Very cool. That sounds so delicious. Wish I was closer to check it out! Things that make you think of home are always hard to beat.. Like apple pie for me.


      Hannah Katy

  4. Hannah,

    Another beautiful piece of writing, you are making some of the difficulties I am having on this trip seem so silly and I don’t need to get myself into them. It’s funny that you post this today because on my way to school this morning I passed all of the garbagemen cleaning up the streets and picking up the trash bags, and I can honestly say for the first time I have every really noticed that I thought that at least they are doing something with their lives, there is so much more to them than what they do and they are just making ends meet like the rest of us. We all need something to do, but it doesn’t define us, it is just one part of us and we would never want to be judged on one aspect of our own lives.

    As for what food I would be an eggo waffle, because no matter what time of day it is is always makes me feel a little bit better than before I ate it.

    1. Eggos are so good! Isn’t t funny how much of a comfort breakfast food can be?

      And I am so happy that my blog is helping you in your travels, that really makes me light up! My daddy-o is a garbage man and so I only need to look at him to know that these men are hard workers and I honestly tip my hat to them.. I would hate to pick up the garbage and trash of others.. Seriously would not be able to do it.. But someone has to and they do us all a favor in being the ones.

      Hope your travels are going well love! Grab some gelato for me!


      Hannah Katy

  5. Ooh, my eyes are brown, that should be a nice change from your seas of blue, green and grey! And I’d marry mangos, the good ones, not the overripe or over-tart ones.

    It’s all too easy to judge people isn’t it? I’m actually of the opinion that we can never really rid ourselves of the habit. All we CAN do is learn to shrug them off faster and not let them affect our behavious. To not be like Mr Darcy whose good opinion once lost, was lost forever. To not avoid reading a book because of its less beautiful cover.

    1. Some of my favorite books are the ones with the worn covers and tattered insides.. Those are the books with character! I am slowly learning not to judge people by their outward appearance.. I am slowly realizing that the media has done me a disservice as well.. We get a lot of our stigmas and stereotypes straight from it.. One word: WOOF.


      Hannah Katy

  6. I judge, and I wish I didn’t.

    My eyes are brown. I would probably marry cheesecake, or possibly potatoes, because they are AMAZING no matter how they’re cooked.

  7. Very sweet post! As a teacher, I try to not judge my students and I also try hard to help them not judge each other, but it is not easy. Judging each other is human nature. I hope that I can get better at this.

    Oh, and my eye color is light brown. And if I could marry any food, it would be sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top because it is sweet, warm, savory, silly, and comforting…. I wish I had some now! 😉

    1. Oh my goodness. I have never tried that before but my mouth is watering as we speak. That. Sounds. Wonderful.

      And you cannot see me but I am clapping for you.. The world needs more teachers like you who are trying to sway their children away from judging one another. Thank you!


      Hannah Katy

  8. I love this post! While it seems so simple to say that we shouldn’t judge others, why do I have to constantly remind myself not to?? We look more at what is on the outside even though we are constantly told to really find beauty on the inside as well…

    anywho…I have totally been that friend with whom you’ve broken the ice so you already know I’ve thought long and hard about this…and it’s CHICKEN MARSALA!!!

    1. Chicken Marsala!?!?! Have I heard this before? ha ha. I knew you would get a kick out of this post. Perhaps I should forward it to the bacon and scallop pizza lover?


      Hannah Katy

  9. As usual you have written an amazing and insightful post. However, I disagree with some of it. I think that it’s good to be willing to have an open mind and take an objective view about a person, but I also think it’s important to be cautious.

    I’m not saying all homeless people are dangerous, but there are a good majority of them that have mental/personality issues which is usually the reason they end up on the streets – as unfortunate as it is. And this could be true for other situations.

    Have you ever read the word Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? As much as I dislike him as an author the book is interesting that it examines how our first thoughts about a person, situation or thing are often the correct ones.

    1. This is why I adore when you comment.. you always give me something to think about. And I totally agree with you, make no mistake of that. Although I would love it if we could all be friends there is a need to take caution in this world. Trust me, I won’t be going around attempting to skip and hold hands with everyone…

      Caution is key. Thank you for bringing it up.

      And no I have not read it.. I have read both Outliers and the Tipping Point and they opened my eyes to a lot.. I will add it to the list.


      Hannah Katy

  10. I ration that it takes far more energy to judge others n be rude, than to be genuine n kind. Why more ppl dont choose the latter is beyond my comprehension.

    Marry me, either sushi or muesli?
    -your brown eyed girl

    1. Can we lecture the world? It would be so simple! And we could feed them sushi and blueberry pancakes during the lecture. Ha ha. I like your way of thought.


      Hannah Katy

  11. I think we are all far less unique than we would care to imagine. It is scary to be the same, but there is also some comfort in that notion that everyone has basically gone through what you are going through and yet they survived. Some of them are even happy.

    My eyes are blue-gray and if I could marry a food it would be popcorn. Because it is fun and delicious, and yet still good for you. 🙂

    1. Touche Allison. Popcorn is a good choice! Have you ever put Brewer’s yeast on it?? Once I tried it I never went back to regular popcorn.


      Hannah Katy

  12. I just came across your blog on 20sb and I absolutely love it.

    To answer your question, my eyes are hazel (and become more green depending on what color shirt I wear). I love my eyes because they are the same color as my Grandma Rita’s and I never got to meet her.

    I’d marry mashed potatoes. They are my perfect comfort food.

    1. Mashed potatoes= sweet sweet goodness.

      And that is a really great way to look at your eyes.. I do the same with some of the traits I got from my grandma.. She passed on a few years back but it like I still carry her in little ways.. in my looks and my mannerisms.

      Thank you for coming by, hope to hear from you again soon!


      Hannah Katy

  13. I’m with you on this! Even just smiling at someone can make their day. I’m tired of judging and should do less of this and be more assertive & friendly with people I see everyday but of course be cautious too. I’m still afraid someone might come up and shove me in their car and kidnap me even though I’m 25 now. 😛

    1. Rational fear in the world we live in today, as sad as it may be.. I tried smiling more at people yesterday and it really made my day better. So cheesy but hey, I won’t fight a better mood.


      Hannah Katy

  14. I love this post. Each and every interaction I have ever had with a homeless person is branded on my mind. I do not live in an area with much poverty, so when I do travel to NYC or other places where there are commonly homeless people, I find the interactions to be very meaningful. Like you, I usually walk away with some kind of thought on how I could have made the interaction better.

    As for me, I have blue/gray eyes and I must admit, I’ve never thought of marrying food before, but I think if I had to choose, I’d have to say cheese. It has a lot of personality and can make so many bland dishes scrumptious.

    1. Cheese makes everything better.

      And I think you and I have a lot in common, though I have said it several times. Whenever I used to go into NYC I would bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless people that I encountered.. Maybe it did not make much difference but to me, as a 7-year-old, it was better than doing nothing at all.


      Hannah Katy

  15. I love you for writing this and I think we’re all guilty of judgment in some form or another. I work in an area with a great deal of poverty and homelessness and it’s definitely changed the way I see the world – knowing I work somewhere where we can actually do something to help these people and seeing lives turn around 180 degrees makes me realise anything is possible. I get asked for change every day, and every day I hand out flyers showing them that help is there waiting. But at the same time I am guilty of judging the ones who stumble up to me barely coherent, rambling on about something in an intoxicated haze… and I don’t like to admit it, but I think that’s something we all do. Thank you for raising our awareness of our own tendencies and making us recognise that changing our thought patterns is entirely possible.

    Oh, and I have light brown eyes, with a darker green around the edges. And I’d have to say I’d marry Indian food – especially Palak Paneer. I could live off that stuff! 🙂

    1. I think we are all guilty of this.. It was like I was outstretching 5 dollars and attempting to give this man some kind of dignity but I was really taking away his dignity but judging him on our differences.. Oh what a wicked web we weave sometimes..

      And this may sound crazy but I have yet to try indian food. Perhaps I should?


      Hannah Katy

  16. I agree that there’s too much judgment in the world. People walk around with their noses up in the air, thinking they are better than the next person. Truth is, no one is better than anyone.

    I relate to this post so well – being judged for some of the things I’ve done in my life or of my race, etc. It’s sad really, to know that there are still people in this world who judge others. As much as we want to believe we’re all created equally and we should treat others as we would want to be treated, it rarely happens.

    Beautiful post.


    1. I think all we can do is seek to better ourselves and hope it rubs off on the world.. I know that when I carry a positive attitude and a warm smile, people often ask me what I have that makes me smile so much.. What do I have? A brilliant life surrounded by beautiful people. That is more than enough!

      And thank you for the compliment love.


      Hannah Katy

  17. Oh this is so good, Hannah! For one of my jobs this summer, I am working at a church that has a brunch for the homeless in the neighborhood every morning and a food pantry that is open while I’m here on Fridays. Initially I was a bit freaked out that I would be encountering all this on my way to work, but thanks to Prof. Land’s class for the Honors Program (where we read Another Bullshit Night in Suck City – AMAZING!), I realize that these people have so much in common with me and that they deserve the same amount of respect I would give anyone else I could encounter. There is also a sober house attached to the rectory of this church – a 7/8 house as my boss calls it, and that too has been eye-opening. Every one of these men that I have met have been so kind and helpful to me. What amazes me is that some of them are so young (30s/40s) and the fact that they are at this stage at their recovery, when they’ve probably relapsed at least once, is so remarkable to me. While it could be so easy to judge them based on their past, I have a tremendous amount of respect for them that they took the initiative to become sober and have made it so far. And they give me hope that the people I know who struggle with addiction can overcome it too. The striking thing is that they look like any other stranger you could meet – nothing about them screams “Former Addict.” It really makes one think about all those strangers at the gym, office, or on the street that we see on a daily basis who could have these painful secrets – we never know who is coping with some kind of harship.

    As for my eyes, they are a green-ish brown color, depending on what color shirt I’m wearing. They are the exact color of my father’s (I have a lot of his traits, but my mother’s height!). Sometimes I wish I had my mom’s beautiful blue eyes, but these green-ish brown ones are pretty unique! And for food – hmm, I would marry dark chocolate – without fail, makes me feel better no matter what mood I am in and puts a smile on my face. Pair it with caramel (like a Milky Way Midnight) and I’m in heaven. 🙂 This is a great icebreaker question by the way, I may have to use it for SEARCH! 🙂

      1. You got it, you got it, I repeat: YOU GOT IT! That was originally the intent of my post though I never really got to the point.. That we never really know what each of us are dealing with on a daily basis. That is an important reason not to judge someone.. And I envy your position this summer, I would love to experience that ! Hence why I am looking forward to being so close to a homeless shelter next year in the Bronx!

        And You should totally do this icebreaker for SEARCH. It comes off as strange but it is such a good way to break the ice.. And when you hear other people’s answers you are always like “Oh my gosh, why didn’t I think of that?!?!” Ha ha, marriage is a commitment.. Your food has to be ready for it.


        Hannah Katy

  18. ash – lovely post. i’d have to marry eggs or ice cream. eggs because i can do “breakfast” for pretty much any meal. scrambled, fried, boiled, whatever. but my true food love is probably ice cream…. i’m just not sure i want to marry the weight associated with it!

  19. This is one of my biggest struggles. I am SO judgmental. It pains my heart to say that. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about it. I feel like I’m so bad about looking at someone and judging them so quickly. I need to get better at it. I will. You and your challenges. 😉

    I have green eyes. And I would marry chocolate, preferably peanut butter covered in chocolate.

    1. After my own heart. My favorite desert is Oreos with peanut butter aka heaven.

      And yes, take it as a challenge.. Seriously, I have been challenging myself with it all week. God is really placing it on my heart like a heavy weight. Try to look at strangers a little differently, or walk around smiling and saying hi to random people.. It is a great feeling. I promise.


      Hannah Katy

  20. Thanks for the comment. That is AWESOME that you are going to work for the UN. You’re right, that’s something you should most definitely be PROUD of! I agree with you about the blessing of a college education. It truly is a wonderful thing. What is your degree in?

  21. Hi Hannah,

    Coming in during the last comment act here! We share a sociology degree … I didn’t find it helpful until years later when I realized the critical thinking it taught me was in short supply. It’s one of the most important skills yet rarely taught. Now, I’m using it to change the world! I know you are too.

    Ah, judgment. I believe we think ill of others because we think ill of ourselves. Our society does not lift folks up, it pushes us down — which makes zero sense to me. We’re born feeling pretty good about ourselves. Why then spend the next 80 years beating folks up? Another backwards moment.

    If you look at everyone that crosses your path as someone sent here to help you achieve your own greatness, I believe you will see them in a different light. Each person you treat with dignity leaves a piece of the greatness puzzle for you. Collecting these valuable pieces has helped me lessen my judging considerably, although I still do it at times — reminding myself when I do it will take that much longer to finish my puzzle!

    My eyes are brown with some hazel and I would marry a ripe tomato. Cute, juicy, healthy, versatile and delicious. Thanks! G.

    1. You and I are very much alike.. I knew there was a reason behind it! I totally see the connections between our efforts to shift the world and the sociology major.. The study taught me so much and showed me how to see the world completely different.. And to think that I came into college to study journalism and just picked up the second major because I adored it.. I had no idea what I would do with a sociology major I just knew I was madly in love with the field. I would not go back for the world.

      And in regard to the people we come across, I do the exact same thing! Every person I meet I associate as someone who is meant to be in my life for a reason. It makes a person ten times more tolerable when you know that there is a lesson you should be pulling from them.


      Hannah Katy

  22. I’m a new-ish reader and follower – I found my way here after you became featured blogger on 20sb. And I must say, after reading for just a week or so, I absolutely adore your writing. You have such an amazing way with words.

    This post is so inspiring because judgment is so (unfortunately) ingrained in us as human beings. We waste all the energy criticizing others in our minds instead of using it for something better.

    And, to answer your questions – I have blue eyes and I would marry a turkey and provolone sub sandwich. 🙂

    1. One) I think you have a pretty solid marriage ahead of you. Two) Thank you so much for signing on to read, I am really glad you are enjoying the blog. And I love love love the 20sb community. So good, right? and Three) It was just this week that I began linking judgment with energy.. Now, as I am actively turning the cheek to judging others, I am already finding myself a lot happier and more optimistic.. I dare say we are onto something.


      Hannah Katy

  23. Beautiful.
    This is something to think about every morning when you start the day.
    Thank you for this thought-provocation.

  24. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog! You’re a really great writer and I loved this entry!

    My eyes are brown. Although a lot of people love their brown eyes, I hate mine. There’s nothing special about them, I feel. I know I should be grateful to have eyes period, but would it have hurt God to give me blue or green?

    On a more positive note, I’d marry frozen yogurt! It’s fun, vibrant, and is truly unique (depending on the person creating theirs!). All of these I’d look for in a husband. Plus, while frozen yogurt has the ability to comfort me when I’m down, it also has the potential to satisfy me- also qualities in my future husband! 🙂

    Keep the posts coming!

  25. Well I have brown eyes and I’d marry Belgian waffles with toffee sauce because I love them hehe. Then again Profiteroles would come in a close second lol.

  26. Since I saw “The Beatles” at the top of this post (and well, because you gave me the link), I new this is a must read!

    HOWEVER. …Hannah. I was quite heart-broken to have finished it and not read a discussion about my grand music obsession that is the Beatles!!

    To answer the question, I am a brown-eyed boy, and I would marry the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The yummy delight that never gets old, I choose the PB&J for its loyalty and commitment, and the fact that our intimacy had not died since childhood. That is marriage worthy right there.

    “And what I cannot understand is why we walk around all day, two conversations constantly going. The first conversation we have with one another. That is the one that actually plops off our tongues in the form of Words and Dialogue. The second conversation is the one we carry in our heads, you know, the one with the little voice that makes us feel entitled to judge another by their status, the decisions they make and the person they are.”

    I want to say, I absolutely loved this. Why must we only half-present, with our minds in a la-la land, impeding the natural discourse of a genuine and harmonious connection between two beautiful, sentient beings? ah… And might I add, I love your vision for this new world. It’s like John Lennon’s “Imagine,” where there are no boundaries between all humans–a great brotherhood of man. There, the Beatles, I said it!

    However I must say: I think there is more, for me, to the Second Conversation in Our Heads than the judgments we make about others. There is the judgments we make *about ourselves*. When I talk with another person, there is a simultaneous, distracting dialogue that goes through my head; It is an overbearing self-criticalness (is that a word?), that constantly evaluates what I have said, if it is cool, all tied with a desperate hope that the other person will buy it too. It makes me hesitate, it makes me stutter, it stifles my enthusiasm, and it stunts the growth of what could be a great blossoming of a conversation. To me, this is a sad state of affairs, for I think it’s a pretty egocentric tendency that forsakes the genuine rapport I have with someone. I want to be fully engaged with the other person, absorbing THEIR heart and their stories–not the legitimacy of my own. Being preoccupied with my own status and extrinsic perception, difficult as it may be to extricate myself from, is not only impeding my social relations, it’s just plain silly. But it happens… For me, self-love is the most challenging love.

    Remember the heart-stapling thing? If we’re in a conversation, my love for you is a sure thing; The rest is just ensuring that I can safely, and successfully, staple my heart onto yours. Because I love everyone!

    P.S. — Bluberry pancakes is a fine choice. I do say, the restaurant I used to wait tables for, J. Christophers in Atlanta, had AWESOME blueberry pancakes. But these weren’t just any other pancakes with blueberries on top: these are blueberry CRUNCHCAKES. They have granola added in the batter, and on top. So Yummy !

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