I’m not sure how many days or weeks ago it was, but my dear Sparkly One, Ra, wrote about how she likes to get everyone celebrating international label day on the 21st of November. I thought I’d join in, and sent her a pic of me being silly, with a flower in my hair, lots of sparkles added, and the label ‘Glitterbomber’ across it, because one of the things I am DEFINITELY getting a reputation for is glitter…which I think is a WONDERFUL thing.
But it got me thinking about which other labels I’ve been given, or which I assume, and how they impact, and how I’m thankful for them. Well, some of them, at least.
So I’d love to invite you to join in with the conversation and share a label you feel applies to you, and why it matters. Do it NOW, then come back to read the rest (also, bear in mind, if you’re the FRIST here when this publishes, GET DAT STAKED NOW! Cos too many of y’all who get here secund or thrid or umpteenth, have made the rookie mistake of reading the whole post first!).
Glitterbomber – I *love* my reputation as a spreader of
craft herpes *twinklysparklygoodness* in the form of glitter. I love that I’ve had people message me weeks/months after receiving a parcel from me to say that they’re STILL finding glitter. I love that I get to bring shine and sparkle to their Real – it’s a tangible way of making my presence felt, and it’s ALWAYS with love (no matter what some might say). Something which has been really fun is that people have begun to tag me in glittery things on Facebook, because of this reputation, and those glittery, sparkly, shiny things are ALWAYS conversation points, and so friendships are strengthened and The Village gets built, and I LOVE that even more.
Daughter/Sister/Aunty – These are some of my favourites. Yes, they’re role labels – familial ones which describe where I fit in the tree, and what relationship I have to each of the others at the opposite end of the branch, but they matter to me. It’s taken a long time for me to get to a place where I feel that I’m a halfway decent any-of-those, and now I think that most of the time I’m a pretty good all-of-them. This week I got a text from my Sis cos Neff got awarded Star of the Day at school, because he’s an awesome dude and he did really well, and he wanted me to know. I assume this means it matters to him what I think of him, and that I know he does well, and to be proud of him. I love that. And I am, SO proud of him.
Retinal Screener – ah, the day job. It’s either that or “screening lady” (though sometimes it’s “love/dear/sweetheart” and on one stomach-churning occasion, “babes”) and it’s a label I wear with pride, even though most of my patients are incredulous that I enjoy my job so much. I do, though. I love that I get to see a new person every ten minutes. I love that I get to drive around the county, seeing different areas (except when it’s raining – I never love that). I love that I get to play an active role in protecting people’s sight. BUT…
…what I REALLY love is that I can describe my job as “driving around in a white van with blacked out windows, flashing people.” *giggles*
Writer – Yes. I am. I love being one. I love that I can express myself through words in a way which untangles the inside of me, and which CONNECTS me to other people. So really, the thing I love most about this label, apart from the inherent creativity and fun of doing the writing, is YOU!
Million Percent Girl – this is what Vince calls me, and I think he’s right. I really enjoy being as girlie as possible (even though I often feel that I don’t succeed, and have been told that my ‘look’ tends more towards the androgynous). It’s something I’ve always aspired to, partly because I’ve always felt as though I was never capable of doing the ‘pretty, feminine, girlie’ thing. So…I give it my best shot. But to be honest, I think the label also pertains to the very *squee*ish drama I’m capable of creating. I get so worked up about things like rain, or not knowing how to do silly things like change the clock on the oven (admittedly, lots of girls probably love rain and know precisely how to change the clock on the oven, but I do NOT do them, in a flouncy kind of way, which is the antithesis of the male ‘get on with it’ attitude), and I park my car like a girl, and just…so, so many things which make me fit the stereotype. Yeah, I embrace that, too.
LGBT – is this a label? I suppose it kind of is, and it’s the one I’ve been on the run from for the longest time, for many reasons. It’s also one I now rather enjoy having and owning. I’ve found it LOT easier to associate with now I’m not trying to keep it hidden. It sits a bit uncomfortably with other labels like ‘ex-wife’ and ‘invisible mom’, but none of those labels are mutually exclusive, however much like it they seem. I think the thing I like least about the juxtaposition is that the one seems to undermine and depreciate the others, as though hoodwinking or slyness were involved, and that was NEVER the case. To the people who would ever be impacted by this label, full disclosure was made and events occurred rather outside its orbit. To the people who were never going to be impacted, and who found out after the fact, perhaps they will judge or turn up their noses. It’s their right to do so, and my responsibility is to just be the best ME I can be, however that might be taken.
Depression/Eating Disorder – my mental health labels contain REALMS of fun and shenanigans within them, but in all honesty, having them is better than not knowing what’s going on. I also think that they allow me to identify with others who have similar labels, and that they allow those others to identify with me. We’re back to CONNECTIONS and The Village there, and building up community and each other in an effort to all be supportive and encouraging and help each other to win, a little bit, at life.
Trans Ally – I’m kinda proud of this one. I hope that I would be willing to stand up in support of ALL minority groups, but this one’s close to home, and it matters to me to be recognisable as someone who is willing to step up and myth-bust and encourage and engage, on behalf of the trans community. I went to a local Trans Day of Rememberance event on Friday night, and standing in the dark in the city’s only gay nightclub, amongst a small, candlelit group as a HUGE list of names were read out, was profoundly moving. Perhaps I didn’t do anything much, but standing there, being counted, being supportive as the community acknowledged and remembered with respect the names of those trans people who were killed in the last year just for being trans; it mattered.
Extrovert – hammered home again to me on Friday evening, when I was completely at ease in a room full of strangers, enjoying the chance to make small talk and connect. I get very lonely on my own, and absolutely THRIVE off being with other people. Fortunately for me, I’m (allegedly) easy to get on with and be around, and I have reliable introvert sources who say that I don’t drain them, and for anyone unfamiliar with introverts and being drained even by people they like, that’s NOT a common thing, and it IS a Big Deal. So I’m thrilled to pieces to be an extrovert who can mostly get along with anyone.
Friend – this is absolutely my very favourite label of all (see? I save the best til last) and the role I most enjoy filling, out of any other. I cannot express enough how much it means to me to have FRIENDS, because I spent the longest, most lonely time growing up, isolated and without any – thinking I wasn’t worthwhile enough. It astonished me when, at 16, starting with Vince, I discovered that I was, in fact, likeable. Since then, I have gone from strength to strength in terms of numbers of friends. I now have people tell me that I’m the most networked person they know (see? If there’s potential for The Village to grow, I WILL build it) and I can think of no more beautiful litmus test for ‘connected’ than the fact that my people – my friends – let me visit them all across America, let me stay with them, AND road-tripped me to the next person. It was an incredible testament to friendship, and I no longer have any excuse to think I’m not friend material – the feedback suggests I definitely am. Which is wonderful, because being a friend to people I love is just WONDERFUL and I never want to lose it. Ever. Ever.
Bonus labels – “Awesome” – crowdsourced from a group of ONE: I thought, at the beginning of writing this, that it would help me to see what a friend thought he would label me as, and that, he told me, was his opinion of me as a person. It made me blush. it still does, but I’m smiling and so happy he thinks so. So I’m gonna include it. I have Liv to thank for “dorkily sexy” – it’s new (I only got given it at some point in the week) and I’m just trying it out. I’m flattered but not entirely convinced about it. And I will forever love ‘bean’, which my sister called me first, but also Kimmie tends to call me it, as in ‘human bean’, and I rather love that, too.