Labels & Boxes & Love

Normal. What is normal? What I see as normal maybe very different from what you see. For most of my life I never felt normal, but I think we all feel that way when we are disconnected from ourselves and from our source.

 

I think maybe that is why our Western consumer culture has created the ideals that if you live in a house with a picket fence, have a husband with a good job, a couple of kids in a nice school, you should feel good and feel normal, right?

 

You will have beautiful clothes, an expensive watch, a knock out handbag, starve yourself into an aspirational dress size and take regular vacations. Other people will admire you and aspire to what you have which will give you love and validation from the outside world.

 

The whole idea feels so desperately generic, I think fuck it, fuck normal, I’ll create my own normal, thank you very much.

 

I think our society likes to label people. It makes us feel safe, it gives context and meaning. People like to contextualize and decide whether you are part of their ‘tribe’ or not and if they can’t categorise you, they don’t feel safe.

 

I personally have a problem with labels. I do not want to be categorized and placed in a box and live a generic life. Or maybe others do categorise me and leave me in the ‘fucked up’ category because I am 37, single and childless which is the ultimate horror story for most women.

 

And trust me, I see the look on some people’s faces when they ask, ‘anyone special in your life?’ like I’m withering away from some degenerative disease called ‘single’ and internally I think fuck yeah, I’m still single and alive, happy and well, thank you very much.

 

Life is not black and white and I like to see myself as a smattering of 50 shades of grey which ironically tends to drift into my wardrobe choices.

 

Thinking of the labels or boxes I have found myself in, I have been a Christian Scientist, a Born-Again Christian, an Orphan, I’ve been a smoker, a non-smoker, I have questioned if I was an alcoholic, I called myself an Over Eater, I’ve called myself a vegetarian, a pescatarian, a flexitarian. All these phases, somehow building the format I find myself in now, not really assigning to anything, at all.

 

In some experiences, I have felt a sense of failure when I decided that I could no longer carry the label. A sense of grief that occurs when we switch our identity. When I have stood for something strongly for a long period of time and evangelized to my friends, only to realise that this path is no longer serving me, there is a sense of shame, of failure, the realization that I am losing parts of myself. Questions arise about what will people think of me? Will they still accept me as part of their tribe? Will I find a new tribe? I think people like to be part of tribes because it brings a sense of safety, the normalizing effect again.

 

But ultimately we are all the same, as human beings, we all have the capacity to feel, to love, we are all entitled to change direction and fuck up and say we got it wrong and that is okay. So long as we try our best and to treat others respectfully, our human experience may not be a linear and a pain free experience if we decide not to take the well-trodden path that was demonstrated by previous generations. 

 

It feels to me that we could unite so much more if we broaden our minds and live without judgment and acceptance of what is. Human beings are inconsistent, it’s a fact.

 

The thing that saves us from our feelings of separation and isolation, is connection. And what do I mean by that? I mean that we need to reach out to our friends, our family, our support network. We need to say, I don’t feel good, I feel scared, I feel alone. For some of us, we need to be vulnerable and learn to receive support. Perhaps most importantly, we need to learn how to cultivate a supportive and loving voice within. We need to nurture our inner child, not react on impulse of our childhood wounds and behave as conscious grown ups.

 

We live in an increasingly fractured society, where the labels and boxes are multiplying wildly. My fear with this is that the labels and boxes keep us separate. They say, you don’t understand me, because I am different. But fundamental things keep us the same, our core emotions, fear, anger, joy, excitement and sexual feelings. That all people, however intimidating or different they might appear to be, everyone has an internal struggle of some kind and with remembering that, it keeps me in a compassionate space.

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