I am more than one person and so are you. At some point along the line I decided to stop wasting my time trying to be one kind of person. Our society encourages individuals to be defined. In fact we love to smack labels on just about everything. #basic ….who decided that was a thing anyways? We did. A collective whole noticed a trend or style or set of actions and labeled it.
Society has always enjoyed categorizing and is especially proficient at this. While a hashtag on Instagram has definitely upped my followers, life is not all about connecting the like minded. That type of categorizing can be really helpful. That type of grouping is called a community.
While we all want to be parts of a community, we also want to be individuals. This is where we can find pressures to conform. As a woman I have always felt pressures from the community I was a part of. We need individuals to conform in order to fulfill a role and thus keep a status quo in a group.
For example, I was raised in a highly religious conservative community. There was a pressure to marry young, have kids as soon as possible, not go to college (if you were a woman), and spend your life being the godly husband doting wife. In fact your ultimate label was a wife and mother. #wifeandmother would have been it for you. That defines you and that is all you are.
Needless to say I ran from this label as fast as I possibly could as I never felt the urge to have children (still don’t) and therefore I did not conform to the community.
Another common societal assumption is to put everyone on a singular path to success. It is often assumed that once you land a career you stay in that career till you retire at age 65. Thankfully the FI and FIRE communities have decided this is not the case. While it is common that people will switch careers it is frowned upon. Why? Because you have disrupted the status of expectations. What will one possibly be if not ____________?
I think that it is now so important for the communities within society to realize and recognize that people are multi-faceted. People will have multiple careers, hobbies, and personas. Here are my current labels. I am all of these equally, and that is pretty freakin cool. One day I may be none of these (unlikely for a few) but still possible and that is really the best part. Being an individual is fluid. This is called being human.
Probably one of my first labels that I accepted whole heartedly. The practice of creating and making comes naturally to me. It also bring me great joy. I love art. I always have. I think I enjoy the idea of no rules and having something that is fully mine. No one can take that from me.
A label that stems from not belonging at an early age. One that stems from travel and not feeling like I had “roots”. A label that allows for freedom and disconnect all at the same time. While travel literally gives me the breath to live, a wanderer is always moving.
I love my restless soul and moving feet. It keeps me inspired and moving. It also has not allowed vulnerability to grow; something that requires stillness.
The career I chose. A venture to inspire others and share. To help others find their voice and value. An honorable position and one that has brought me hardships financially. It has also brought me an intense amount of introspection. Kids have the uncanny ability to find your weaknesses. Often as I am teaching I can see a mirror pointed back at me. While challenging, I am also so grateful for this.
We all will be teachers at some point in our lives. I hope that I not only teach art, but also about humanity, kindness and acceptance. These are lifes lasting lessons.
Powerful. Strong. Independent. All of these are supported by Feminism in the fight for equality. I took a Women’s Studies class in college. My father warned against it. He asked that I guard my heart. His fear was made into a reality when I told him not long after that I was a feminist.
It was the label I had been looking for. It was the fight I had been in since I was born and I didn’t even realize it. It is uplifting and empowering. I am not flawless in this fight, but the mantra of “Her success is my success” sits on my vision board and the pink pussy hat makes its appearance regularly at rallies.
There is a sincere dedication in my heart to earn this label. To be the best possible partner. Offering the support and love we all crave as humans. I fall short often, but this is to expected. I am grateful for the forgiveness and understanding that follows. This is really the best investment I can make.
This label has also allowed for the most growth in my life. Teamwork, compassion and understanding are all areas of growth for me.
#What about you?
The list continues. I am curvy and fit. I am an animal lover. I am an activist. I am stubborn and kind. I am guarded and loyal. I am a leader and public speaker. I make with my hands and the computer. You really are so much more. Get out of that box that society wants to put you in. Be the many things you are.
Stop asking kids and young adults “What do you want to do when you grow up?” and start asking “What problem do you want to solve?” The second question allows for you to be all of the things you need to be.
So I ask you, what is your current hashtag cloud? What are the many labels you hold as your persona? I would love to see the comments blow up with all of your multi-faceted talents!
Cool post, I often ponder the difference between social tribes and individualism. Is it bad that I tend towards individualism?
I love that you lead with #artist. As a corporate drone, being an artist sounds exotic and creative.
Exotic! I love that.
I think tribes can be supportive, but individuals are essential. Thank you as always for reading.
Great post Bethany, it got me thinking about the different facets of my personality. I always find exercises like this challenging. It feels like writing a blog bio which is always impossible! After thinking on it I would have to include #career-focused, #introvert, and #homebody (I love to travel but also love coming home; I’ve never had the urge to travel long-term).
Oh my gosh, a bio is SOOO hard.
I love coming home as well now that I have animals. I think it is forcing me to put down roots. 🙂
I often find it hard to describe myself to people with just one label. Or to find something to talk to people about who I haven’t seen for a long time. Mostly I get hyped about whatever I discovered recently, which normally involves some sort of tax-hackery or energy consumption hack. So often it’s just a comment about a local sports team to break the ice.
Right! Sometimes I feel like we stay on the superficial just to avoid connecting (if we are tired or energy sapped). So we go for the sports team comment or the “what do you do?” questions and forget to dig deeper. This and I might be worried people will stop inviting me to things if I mention blogging or finances or art (in your case tax hackery) one more time. Haha!