On labels and definitions

Yes that is most certainly one of my obsessions. I keep going around and around it many times, if I could be bothered to find them I could link so many different posts where I’ve dissected this subject over and over again.

The point I’m at now is: definitions and labels are only a problem for me as far as I let them be. I have made them my problem. People have caused me problems because of them and that I couldn’t help, and I wasn’t always old enough or experienced enough to have a clue as to how to respond to that, but now I am older and although not much wiser I can decide how much of a problem they are to me.

I had a dream a while back, where my daughter and I got stranded in an extremely foreign-looking Russia. The Embassy we asked for and were directed to was, amazingly, just on the other side of the road, and it was an Italian embassy. Of course. I may not feel very Italian, Italians may have not been very nice to me mostly, however, I have an Italian passport and they are the ones forced to help me should I get stranded somewhere.

In that, I am Italian.

I am also Italian if that makes any sense because most of my blood, excluding that Swiss German intrusion, comes from the political and geographical area known as Italy. Issues, such as Mediterranean anaemia, present in my sister and father, are due to their being Italian: it is a Mediterranean condition, as the name implies. Hence, I am Italian.

All and every comment about my cooking ability or lack thereof, my emotionality, my “passion”, my native language, those are all bullshit.

But you know, they are for everyone. “I am worried about this”. “Ah but of course that is because you suffer from anxiety just don’t worry about it!“. That is bullshit too, people who suffer from anxiety are just as entitled as everyone else to worry and not be dismissed because they suffer from anxiety.

“I am feeling sad today, melancholy”. “Oh god people who suffer form depression are so tedious!”. Depressed people are entitled to feel sad too.

“I vary, change, the very essence of my thoughts, and passions, and wants, and wishes, and drives, and everything else so frequently it drains me, it exhausts me, please make it stop.” “You are not bipolar what you feel is perfectly natural considering the life you had, so just accept it.

There is your definition, the most important one: as long as there is a generally acceptable justification for whatever you’re feeling, as long as others feel you are justified in feeling or believing or thinking something, you are a.o.k..

I wanted to say: well excuse me, but I don’t feel it is acceptable, or normal. I am a grown up, I am aware of all the traumas and all the painful things I may have been through, I am also aware of all the good ones and I do not believe that my brain should have less than 100% ability because of those things. I choose not to accept that. It is not normal for me. For you, however, and anybody else, you have to accept it because that is the way I am, plain and simple, whether you diagnosd me or not, whether you labelled me or not, people should accept me and respect me as I am.

I am tired of trying to find a place for me, a place with others like me. In a way, I believe my teenage approach to this issue was the best one: the moment I was defined by someone, I changed tack. I wore a nice bomber jacket, I was called “paninara” (a type of purely Italian incredibly idiotic fashion for kids), I took it off. The first boy who loved me, really loved me, when I was 12-13 and dealing with being defined a slut, defied all his friends by remaining my devoted friend, even when he had been dumped as a boyfriend, by me. He remained loyal to me and defiant in the face of others until he died, a year later. He was just 15 and more mature and intelligent than any of those clogheads put together.

My “rebel” approach was “oh really, think you can define me? Looky here how I mess up all your preconceptions”.

That didn’t stop words hurting, and jobs lacking. My life has been determined and set in motion every time by definitions. Other people’s definitions, even when I refused them. I fail to make one of my dearest friends understand just how much I dislike being one of her “two favourite Italians”. Or my friend’s eye rolling when he found out I translate into English. Surely I am a native Italian speaker, even though I learnt Italian in South America when I was 8 for the first time and perfected it my stay in Italy, which ended when I moved to Britain in my late teens.

It seems people don’t know how to deal with you unless they define you. “My god, you are SO INTENSE.” So, now you have defined what I am, and implied that it is a negative, will that help you deal with me? NO! So what the hell is the point?

By defining you, they are restricting you, putting you in your place, limiting you, enclosing you.

To hell with them, I say.

Asides from the travel emergency and medical reasons, I am whatever I am doing in that moment. If defining me helps you, if it amuses you, that is fine. Sometimes you just want to stereotype and generalise because it’s fun and gives you something to talk about: I do it too!

But it is up to me to let that get to me or affect me in any way. Most definitions are just words thrown out there, only you can decide how much they limit you, how small they make you feel.

Who am I now then? I am a person, and I hope one day to have a big house where people can come and stay and feel welcome and leave taking with them self-dignity and pride in their own selves. So I take antidepressants and betablockers, so what? I can still do it.

How I will finance that is anybody’s guess. You may say I’m a dreamer, but that is me, and I feel it will happen. Any other definition, is only by the way, and only holds as long as I am being that: mum, wife, pet provider, friend, gamer.

Surely I can cope with being Italian for you, if that amuses you and I. Anything to make us smile.

My favourite birthday sharer (the other one is Britain’s PM David Cameron and now I understand that astrology is just wrong :((( Maybe Cameron’s was just a bad batch).

Watching the wheels

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23 thoughts on “On labels and definitions

  1. So here’s a bit of the ridiculous that I tend to drag along with me, but here’s my point: I don’t hate Justin Bieber. He might not be an amazing musician or whatever and his music might be bubble gum but I have an affinity towards him. He’s a fellow Canadian. But he’s a stranger, so why should I care? I dunno. I just do.

    We like what we like and we think and feel as we please. I’ve stood up for Bieber on my blog and had lots of people say they were not fans. But that’s ok. It doesn’t change my opinion of those bloggers, but a part of me worries that they will change their opinion of me. You don’t want to be pigeon-holed and neither do I.

    I agree with you that our focus should be on the human experience in general. One thing I’ll never forget from grade 10 English is that in poetry the iambic pentameter mimics the heartbeat, this means that those poems written in that meter are about the topics that we can all relate to: love, heartache, etc.

    This Johnny Cash song is apparently iambic pentameter

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I hope one day to have a big house where people can come and stay and feel welcome and leave taking with them self-dignity and pride in their own selves. ”
    On this blog, you’ve created this home for us Billy. So for now, you’re already making it all happen. I’m one of those dreamers too.

    Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. and….

    I’ve given you my “Respect” Award for fellow bloggers who consistently reach out to other bloggers, offer support, are kind, struggle to understand differences in people, and who treat themselves and other people with kindness and respect.

    You don’t have to do anything for this award.

    You can choose to copy the Award Picture from my post and give the award to the people who have earned your respect or you can do nothing.

    This is my way of saying thank you.

    You have earned my respect.

    http://robertmgoldstein.com/2015/10/27/the-respect-award/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am touched, this is beautiful. Thank you so much, especially as I wish I could do so much more, be all those things, more, be more present… thank you xxx

      Like

  4. You are so right. I can’t be gay because I act so str8. I can’t be st8 because I once loved a man. I can’t be sane because I once went crazy. I can’t have a mental illness because I once worked as a therapist. I can’t be old because I act so young. I can’t act so young because I’m really so old. I can’t be knowledgeable because I didn’t go to school. I can’t know nothing because I have a degree…The absurdity is that we know that our labels are lies but we use them anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely think people want to label not just each other, but everything. It makes it seem less scary when it has a name. But it’s also very limiting, and people who cling to those labels often can’t see beyond them, and that leads to a lot of judgmental narrow-minded nonsense the world could do without.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get it, I really do. My quest towards labelling my self confirms it, if you can name it you can vanquish it, control it, and so on. Put as you say, we should remember that in the end the only label that really counts is Human. We all have that in common.

      Like

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