Home » Life Lessons Learned » Hello, My Name Is…

Hello, My Name Is…

We are all born equal. Each of us enters the world with the same chance to become an astronaut, a racecar driver, a firefighter, a writer. None of us have an innate predisposition to have a better chance at becoming any of these things. But after only a few moments on Earth, society already attempts to put limits on what we will do in our life. By wrapping me in a pink blanket and telling my parents I was a girl, society already tried to place me on a specific track of life. And growing up as a girl, I began to believe the messages I was bombarded with of what it meant to be a girl. Before I knew it, I believed I had to be skinny and beautiful and that I needed a boy to be happy. Luckily, I was able to pull the veil off of that misconception fast, and reveal the truth. Those ideas aren’t reality. It doesn’t matter if I’m  overweight or thin; beautiful or ugly. It doesn’t matter if I wear a skirt or a pair of pants. It doesn’t matter if I pee sitting down or standing up. Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter if I’m considered a girl or a boy. I have a well-abled body and a developing mind and that should be all I need.

Somehow, we’re all put into these categories: boy, girl; friend, enemy; musician, athlete; writer, mathematician. All too often, we look at people as one or the other, black or white. But really, we are each gray. We are a combination of good and bad qualities alike. I may be a good writer, but I don’t understand other languages. I may be a good handywoman but I can’t fix a broken heart. I may be a good friend but I’m not a very good lover. And I can be all of these things at once. In Jeannette Winterson’s novel, “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,” she tells the tale of a prince looking for the perfect woman. He defines perfection as flawlessness. When he finally believes to have found the perfect woman, she tells him his definition is wrong. Perfection is not flawlessness, she says, but rather a balance of good and bad qualities.

The labels we categorize ourselves with act as a way to identify ourselves. All too often, however, we get trapped within the restrictions of that label, too afraid to reach outside its limits to do something new. Instead of the label helping us to find fulfillment, it is all too easy to let it limit what we think we can do. We become unhappy because we no longer believe in ourselves. But being that we’re free people first, regardless of our sex, gender, occupation, or class standing, we each have the ability to be and do anything we want. Nothing can hold us back except the limits we place on ourselves.

We must work across labels. It’s okay to be a writing, musician, mathematician who bakes cookies on the weekends. There are no rules. There’s only what is. We must free ourselves from the expectations we are “supposed” to fulfill. We must ignore labels and do what we want anyway. We must do it when the whole world says no. We must do it when everyone says we can’t. We must prove them wrong. We can. There will always be one person who believes in you. Yourself.

27 thoughts on “Hello, My Name Is…

  1. You go girl! You do whatever makes you feel complete, music therapist, women’s right activist and everything in between and know that no matter who tells you otherwise, it’s ultimately your life to lead! Love these posts, and thanks for the baby shout out!

    • So glad you enjoyed it. Right now, I’m in college and it’s so easy to get caught up in the labels we’re given. Math major, Creative Writing major, the list goes on and on. But I like so many things that it’s hard to choose. I wish I didn’t have to! I’m also taking a Women Studies class this semester and it really opened my eyes to how there are no reasons for having things so binary in our lives. We shouldn’t be forced to choose one or the other in anything we do. We can do both. It just takes determination and sometimes a little courage.

  2. True fact! Soviety puts people into categories, that´s how it is and along with that there´s a lot of pressure on us. If we don´t function like our role tells us, we get strange looks. I´m a girl and yes, I do girl things like baking but also I love everything that is according with computers and stuff. Sometimes I can answer more questions about it than men and the glances and confustion about it by them feels pretty good. 😉 Also i know boys that can cook better than some girls for example In jobs it´s even worse. Find a male in a female categorizes jobs and the oppsite. Maybe 1 out of 500? We all should do what makes us happy because we only have this once chance to do it. If more people would break those gender rules than we might have a chance that we can be what we want to be.

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I completely agree with what you’re saying. We’re people first, our gender shouldn’t matter. We should be free to do anything we want no matter what gender it’s “meant” for.

    • Oh my gosh, I LOVE this poem. In high school, someone defined love as “seeing an imperfect person, perfectly.” I think it definitely goes along with the poem 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh no . . . am I going to be the nay-sayer? The awful person who says, “Well not quite . . .”

    I think I am. However, in my defense, I just wrote a ridiculously long post on the failure of economics to be a predictive science mainly because it tries to limit what it means to be human. So I’m not a 100% nay-sayer. Like you said: it’s not black-and-white. My nay-saying is a light gray 🙂

    But let’s imagine something here: everyone in the world wants to be an actress. We all work hard, get involved in community productions, and work our way up. What happens? We all die by the second rehearsal either from malnourishment (no one was growing food) or horrible cases of gangrene (no one was maintaining our sanitation departments).

    Honestly, the sentiment is nice and very inspirational. But it can also be dangerous. How will people feel when they try and fail? With a world telling you, “You can be anything you want so long as you try hard enough,” you start to think the problem is you. But it’s not! So many aspects of becoming whatever it is you want to be is outside our control, and they can all be summed up in one factor: market accommodation.

    It’s harsh, and I disagree with this capitalistic world, but it’s the truth. In my book, I wrote a story that addressed this exact issue: “Model Citizen.” When your self worth is so tied up in “you can be anything,” the fall is that much worse when the world says, “We don’t need you to be that, we need you to be this.”

    However, this is not meant to be discouraging. It should be encouraging. Life is not a goal, but a journey, and our society, only six thousand years old (the earth is 4.5 billion years old . . . didn’t want people getting confused on my position), has A LOT of journey to go before it is perfect. Hell, there’s more to do than the whole seven billion plus lot of us could achieve in one lifetime. Isn’t that exciting!? We could all live to be one hundred years old and journey the whole way to something better and never feel finished.

    A lot of people will see a negative aspect to this assertion: “So we’ll never reap the benefits of what we sow?” Probably not, guys. But if we make the journey still, it will be for love rather than greed, and love has a sweet and salty tang to it that complements journeys much better than the foul bitterness of greed. Trust me on that 🙂

    Anywho, I loved reading the post. A good post gets you thinking: doesn’t mean you agree. And I hope you made it this far into my long-windedness to recognize that 🙂

    Julien Haller

    • Thank you for your thoughts. However, I think you’ve forgotten that not everyone has the same dreams. Not everyone wants to be an actress. Some people dream of being farmers and dream of being doctors. And they should have the encouragement and inspiration to follow their dream regardless of what others say. Yes, the economy doesn’t make reaching your dreams easy, and some people’s actual talents don’t align with their dreams and yes, they may fail. But that shouldn’t stop them from trying. I think it is all too often that we hear we will never achieve our dreams and I think it’s important to hear that maybe we can. You’ll never know if you don’t try. I also think it’s all too often that people feel painfully restricted in the categories they are placed in (whether that be their occupation, gender, or class) that are completely made up and arbitrary. Some people truly suffer because of these categories that they feel they are boxed into, like a female who identifies with the male gender. I think it’s important to help others realize that these categories aren’t real and that we are not actually bound by these things, we just imagine we are. No, society doesn’t make it easy to move outside of these categories, it takes a lot of hard work, but for those who are willing to put the effort into it, it is possible.

    • I continued thinking about your thoughts last night and thought of some other things.You asked “How will people feel when they try and fail?” Well, if they were working toward a dream they will have enjoyed the time they spent working toward it.The end goal will not matter as much as the journey they spent getting there. Also, they haven’t necessarily failed until they decide they have. You can always keep trying. If you choose to work toward a dream, your journey is fulfilling because you are loving what you are doing and regardless of whether or not you reach the specific dream you started off with won’t necessarily matter. Because dreams change and evolve. You don’t have to have just one. I think people need encouragement to break free of the boundaries they may feel restricted by. I think we all need to be reminded that even though we may “fail” in reaching our dreams, it will have been worth it because we will have enjoyed the path getting there. We can choose to follow this path instead of one restricted by categories. Maybe it’s an idealist way of thinking but I’d rather be an idealist with hope than too much of a realist who is discouraged. I also think it’s important to note that everyone may be created equal but not everyone dreams equally. Thank you for your thoughts, really. It’s great that my post has got us both thinking.

      • I think I agree with you. Like I said, it’s about the journey, not the finish line.

        I guess sometimes the world does not have room for our dreams, and that’s okay. For me, I would love to become a full time writer, but I doubt it will come to pass. Regardless, though, I still write, and enjoy the writing in and of itself, even if people never read it.

        Anywho, I’m happy you and I could take this opportunity to expand our horizon 🙂

      • It really is about the journey. And that’s the best reason to write, for ourselves. If something comes of it then that’s great. But if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Because I will know that I’ve loved every word I’ve written. I’m glad we were able to talk about this too! 🙂 Feedback is always great!

      • Hey there! I liked our exchange so much I wrote a little post about it. I hope you will read it and let me know your thoughts!

        And I’m now even more anxious to hear your thoughts on my book! I hope you will have time to read some of it soon!

        Anywho, great dialogue today. You really kept me interested. I hope you are having an awesome night and I’ll talk to you soon.

        Julien Haller

      • I will definitely check out your post! I’ve got to figure out how to read it on my computer but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten 🙂 I’m glad that our discussion sparked your inspiration! Have a great day!

  4. It’s funny how some of the categorizing that is placed on us is meant to help us focus and make things easier for us, but many times it does the opposite. What you say is true and you didn’t even have to mention the really negative ways we categorize others. Well done!

    • It is so true! I have found myself put myself in categories and then realize that is the source of my unhappiness. And I see my friends do it too. They really can restrict us. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! 🙂

  5. I have stumbled across your blog and I am very glad I did. This post really caught my attention and has inspired me to blog about the topic of ‘how society views gender’ in the future. 🙂

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