Sunday, April 03, 2011

Labels - not a fan

I mentioned the other day to a friend that I'm not getting along with writing. She suggested I redefine myself - spinner, knitter, caregiver. I didn't like those definitions. For one thing they don't fill my life(okay, maybe the last one does)like writing did and none of them feed my soul. Or pull my brain out through my eyes so perhaps that's not a bad thing.

I'm not a fan of labels. I find them limiting. We're told to claim our identity, embrace it. Own it. I am a writer. I am a knitter/spinner/crocheter/photographer/painter. I am so much more than all of those things. I'm definitely creative but as previous posts would suggest, I don't exactly like to be tied to any one thing. I follow the Muse wherever she may take me.

I'm also reliable and meet deadlines. I can be practical. I have a job that pays me enough that I can indulge my creativity without stressing over whether it will pay the bills.

I'm a tree hugging conservationist. Who happens to love auto racing in its variety of forms.

I love animals but still eat meat (though I'm one of the few chicken-eating vegetarians out there)

As soon as you stick a label on me, regardless of what it is, I feel stifled/confined/restrained by that label. I'm a contrary bitch who will cut off my nose to spite my face(not literally, I'm too vain for that). It doesn't make sense but I've learned that about myself. I'm a rebel at heart. Yet I'm not an anarchist either. Some rules are there for good reason. It's the labels to which I object.

It all started when I was a wee mite in the 60's(ah, yes, that does explain so much) The idea of gender was presented to my young mind as something over which I had no control. I couldn't run around without a shirt because I was a girl. I had to swelter in the heat while my boy friends were FREE. Being a girl didn't seem like as much fun. I didn't want to be a girl(I'm not so sure I wanted to be a boy either but those were the only options presented to me at the time)

This isn't a blog about transgender, it's about labels and the idea to 3 year-old me that I was limited in my abilities because of my gender was the foundation for my hate affair with all labels. It's ridiculous to suggest that because one thing is important to me, or a part of my identity, that another thing can't be as significant.

Okay, yes I am a girl. I do not have a penis, and despite what I told my other 3 year-old friends I did not have one and it fell off. I like being a girl. I liked being a tomboy and climbing trees and wearing dresses and halters and high heels and playing goalie for the road hockey team and being defense on the soccer team and all sorts of other things that had nothing to do with the label of gender.

So while I do think it's important to acknowledge who you are (I am a writer) don't let that limit you in your experience. I'm taking some time to simply experience life instead of recording it. Be who you are. Don't limit yourself. Experience yourself to the fullest.


  1. Is it okay if I apply the label 'friend'?

    p.s. Happy Day!

  2. As long as you're not just a fair-weather friend. Oh wait, you live in the PNW. We're good :)
    p.s. Thanks

  3. Labels - I don't believe much in them, either; but I believe that we all have an internal narrative that is our touchstone for defining ourselves: Creative, shy, academic, etc. The nice thing about definitiions, as opposed to labels, is that you can have more than one.

    oth, just because you want to define yourself as, say, artistic or athletic, for instance, doesn't mean you really are, anymore than defining myself as not short is going to change my reality. I do wonder, though, if people always get the difference between who they are and who they want to be. Sometimes you can't have it both ways, and I think that conflict often leads to a lot of unhappiness.


    Sorry, its a quiet morning and the cat is dozing beside me, so I'm feeling all contemplative and philosophical. Ignore me. But not her.