If you haven’t figured it out already, based on reading from A to H, I’ll state it here nice and clear; generally? I’m fairly anti-label. But when push comes to shove, I identify as “In Flux”.
The idea of people being in flux is a fairly natural one. We are constantly growing and changing. The more we learn, the more we evolve. Who I am now is not even remotely close to the person I was 20 years ago, or heck, even five years ago. So the notion that we must have a constant and steadfast label that applies in all instances seems ridiculous to me.
Not only do I change from decade to decade, year to year, but from hour to hour and day to day. How I feel right now, laying in bed, blogging is very different from how I felt even twenty minutes ago while I was reading a novel to my daughter. So if I change as often as the air in my lungs, how can I be expected to identify as something constant?
Some days I feel very “girlie”, others I feel far more “butch”. I’ve always identified as female, but what that entails is different based on the circumstances surrounding me and within me. So I am IN FLUX. It just makes sense to me. In fact, it’s one of the few things that is constant and unchanging. I can say with certainty that I will consistently and constantly remain as an every changing and evolving person. 😉
What about you? Do you identify as a static being with a label? If so, how do you identify? Or are you, like me, constantly in flux?
P.S. – if you are up for it, I believe I posted a photo of a button a dear friend and artist made for me. It’s me, holding a label that says “in flux”. I think it’s on a post about AKA (the art gallery in Edmonton, Alberta). Scavenger hunt? 😉
There is something to be said for having such a handle on who you are that you can take a glance in the mirror and say “There I am. I am _____.” Personally I don’t know what it’s like. I’ve never fit neatly into a little box. Life is messy, and so am I. I’ve tried to stuff my vast and varied parts into an easily labeled box… I tried for many, many years to stuff myself into one. But there were always parts hanging out, keeping the lid only half covering the contents. I’ve come to be grateful for it though, as I’ve come to accept myself. That unclosing lid is what kept me breathing. I think I’d likely have smothered if I’d managed to get it on tightly.
There is this drive, this need in our society, to define ourselves. Like I said, I suffered from it myself for many years. Now though? I really don’t get it.
The minute we can slap a label on that box (whether the box represents others or ourselves) we can put it up on a shelf and forget about it. When a box has a label on it, we don’t need to dig any deeper. We don’t need to slowly discover it’s contents. We rob ourselves of that joy. Discovery, let’s be honest, really is a joy. And self discovery? It’s even more so.
Accept yourself as you are, and if you need a label, there are many out there. Take which one fits when you need it, and discard it when it no longer does. Allow yourself the discovery, and allow those around you the same. You are worth the time it takes to really get to know you. You are worth the joy of a slow reveal, the slow clap, the slow motion entrance. Grab that 80’s teen flick moment and just run with it! Be pretty in pink!
LMAO Okay, yes, super eye-roll-causing segway… but I HAD to get in this photo of the kid and I – all dressed in our matching duds – as we headed out for the walk to school. 🙂 And while it was a seriously dorky way to lead into the photo that doesn’t take away from the truth of it.
The minute you accept yourself as you are, and stop searching for a way to squish yourself into a nice neat box you’ll find your world will open up in ways you didn’t expect. You really are worth the joy that comes from slowly discovering all the glorious mysteries that make up that amazing package – don’t deny yourself that pleasure. Don’t slap on the first definition that seems like it just might fit okay. There is no rush. You have your entire lifetime to discover yourself, and those who are worthwhile in your life? They’ll happily take that time too.
For many people, gender is something that is in constant flux. Changing and evolving – just as we ourselves change, grow, and evolve. This changing is one of the reasons I am not in favour of gender labels (amoungst the many other labels I also disapprove of).
When we are young, or still coming to terms with who we are, gender labels can be useful. But they are just as likely to be binding, and constrictive, and not really indicative of who we are as individuals. What I do find interesting is how our label for the “gender variant” community has grown and changed.
A quick aside here? I don’t like the term gender variant either – at least not as I’ve had to use it above. After all… we are ALL variants. There is no “normal” gender except to be comfortable in who you are, regardless of your sex/gender identity.
All which can appear with or without the “A” at the end. And who knows where we will evolve from here.
Gender is about knowing oneself. And for those who insist, with fervor, that they are only two genders and that they themselves are clearly one or another… How many of you “ladies” wear blue? How many of you “guys” take care of children? Gender is a social construct insisting that traits fall into one category or another. Any variant from those traditional roles is gender variant. So, I insist, gender is about knowing oneself, and being comfortable within your self.
Labels are only useful so you know what’s in a closed box without having to open it. Labels don’t belong on people.
Tonight I spent the evening with Anthony. He was the coordinator for Camp fYrefly two years ago, so he’s definitely going to be my right hand man for the next six months. This job means so much to me, in so very many ways… and having a guy like Anthony by my side is only going to make it that much better.
I haven’t felt that lighthearted and that quickly connected with someone in a very long time. It was honestly like breathing for the first time. We just instantly seemed to accept one another as we were, for who each of us is. No expectations. Just open and honest. And by some twist of fate, we have SOOO much in common. So many of the same drives, the same passions. It really was awesome getting to know him. I am so looking forward to our next tete a tete.
At one point, a couple hours into our evening, Anthony got really quiet. And the tone became very serious. He said to me, “I don’t want to offend you… but…” I was nervous about what might come next. Questions and statements that follow something like that can be brutal, and slash a person to the core. He finished, looking quizzical but open and honest, staring into my eyes as if searching, “…are you in a heterosexual relationship?”
I’m sure I broke out into the biggest, goofiest grin. I laughed brightly as I answered in the affirmative. And he grinned and laughed with me.
It felt so good to be accepted for who I am without anything about me or my sexual identity just being assumed. Everywhere we go, people instantly judge us. They make assumptions about who we are, how we identify, making labels for us for their own convenience and security. It was amazing to NOT have all that taken for granted, to just be allowed to be me without it mattering, with the question coming almost as an afterthought, yet with concern about how it would make me feel.
Anthony? Tonight you affirmed for me all of the reasons I first wanted to apply for this position. Thank you!
It’s amazing to find such a fast friend. One you can open up to and share secrets with so very quickly. And I believe I’ve found that in Anthony. I look forward to many more evenings together with my right hand man.
Yay Camp fYrefly!
I am often astonished by ignorance. I shouldn’t be. You’d think, at some point, I’d get used to it… but I don’t. Ignorance always astounds me.
One of my friends recently posted a picture on her profile, she looked absolutely smashing! Yet one of the first comments posted insisted that she was “not a girl” and went on to list all the reasons why she’d never “pass” as female. This particular friend, despite the ignorance displayed by this commenter, held her head high, and exhibited more poise than I’d have mustered. She knows this individual may not ever truly accept her for who she is, yet she still shows nothing but kindness and love towards them… and THAT, above all else, screams of Womanly grace.
Why must we hold Women, and girls, to such high standards? Are we not all people? Do we not all have faults? Why must we be bombarded by the tabloid version of feminine beauty? And why, oh why, must there be jerks out there who feel that is the way it SHOULD be???
What makes a person a Woman? Is it her uterus? Is it her breasts? Is it her soft facial features? Or is it her strength?
Women are powerful, women are beautiful. Women are amazing. And there is no definition of “Woman” that you can give that would be acceptable to me.
I am a proud third-wave feminist. And I believe that Women cannot be boxed up, put on a shelf, and slapped with a definitive label… And anyone who tries to do just that does a greater harm to themselves than they could ever do to us.
Gabrielle? This post is for you. You are beautiful, you are strong… And he’s right, you’re not a girl… you are a WOMAN!
BTW, when my daughter saw this picture she said “Wow! She looks like a girl from the movies!” 🙂
Breeder. It’s a word you hear passed back and forth with very little thought at many of the events I attend. In LGBTTQ circles it refers to folks who are in hetero relationships. Little to no thought is given to the word, and depending on who it is coming from it can be completely benign or laced with arsenic. Regardless of who says it, it hurts my heart every time I hear it.
Personally, I hate labels. It doesn’t really matter if there is any negative connotation to them or not. I don’t like them. Why can’t we all just be who we are, and leave that up to others to discover as they get to know us? Why do we need to cover ourselves with these long shipping crate stickers declaring ourselves “this” or “that” or “the other”? I don’t see the need.
So… I hate labels in general. But I really hate it when someone calls me a breeder. I have a daughter. I am involved in a heterosexual relationship. Is that really all it takes?
My husband and I had been together for TEN YEARS before we made a conscious decision to become pregnant. And if we ever choose to do so again, it will be given equal weight – but in all honestly, our one daughter will probably be the only child who ever comes from our bodies. Does that make us breeders? Really???
I know heterosexual couples that I’d be tempted to call breeders. Folks who had children because that’s just what you do. You get married, you have kids. People who have baby after baby after baby… people who barely give it a second thought. They may have earned the label.
But people like myself? Who choose to have a child after years of careful consideration? I’m not a breeder.
I know people who are involved in homosexual relationships that, given the opportunity, would be breeders. They get married, and they want to have kids – because it’s just what you do. The only thing that slows them down is that it takes a little more planning when you have to outsource for parts.
Maybe I’m being a little sensitive, but I think I’ve earned that right. Being involved in dogs, all I can think of when I hear some woman being called a “breeder” is a bitch with a litter of four or five puppies… laying on her side, passive and resigned, as they all jostle for a nipple. I don’t think anyone really deserves that.
So please, think twice before you call someone a breeder. I know, a great deal of the time, it’s not said with anything negative behind it… but it’s not a nice word, and it certainly doesn’t convey anything positive. Like any label, it has the ability to harm – so please think before you throw it around.