What the labels won’t tell you

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything public, this has mostly been because I’ve been in a kind of ‘retreat’ mode of self reflection, looking at the world, myself and the illusions I create, cling onto, and the suffering that comes from that. (The other is because I’m developing a new writing project to generate some quick cash – hopefully.)

But now I’ve returned to a state where I feel the need to express some of the inner journey I’ve been on. I’m come to realise that it’s in my nature to express myself and then hold myself in reserve and to see that as a condition, something that comes and goes, rather than beat myself for being inconstant.

In line with the change of the blog description I also want to hone in on what I’m doing here for my own clarity if nothing else: recording the journey of acceptance within myself and therefore the world at large and offer these as reflections for others to consider.

Sometimes there may be a theme, other times there won’t. I know if I commit to too strict a form here I will hold back if I don’t think it fits. I have started three blogs over the last year, and countless diaries which covered basically the same underlying theme, the one I’m pursuing here, but because I gave it a strict pattern to follow at the start I found I abandoned at some point (often after a fair bit of work).

Now I want to use this as a reflection on my practise. I want to say there is no rule, only that which presents itself to me to be shared. So for my next piece I want to talk about labels…I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time but once again wasn’t sure where best it fit, but talking about the limitations of labels by it’s very nature doesn’t fit under a neat category.  

When I first joined MySpace and filled in all those tick boxes and dropdown definitions of who I am, you have no idea how long I debated about what to put, mostly because most of the options where unsatisfactory. I’ve since learned on a personally level that this is because labels, judgements and boxes limit who we are with an idea prescribed often by someone else.

If we never discriminated in the mind between gay and straight would we ever have need of a sexual orientation tick box? Would it ever require a label to tell others what side of the fence we fall on, so they ‘know where you stand’?

Labels for me are dividers, creating walls where none exist. Although they might represent some small glimmer of truth, they inevitably cut out too much to be accurate. For example, in my profile on MySpace I put down as my status ‘Swinger’ and ‘Bi’ but this really isn’t true, they are just the closest choices I had to my particular situation. I don’t go sleeping around with other peoples partners as is the usual connotation of ‘Swinger’.

However, if I were to specify my own label I would probably have to put ‘Poly Bi-Curious’ but even this short hand term isn’t right as it requires explanation: ‘Poly’ as in Polyamory which means ‘many loves’ I believe. This represents an understanding I have with my partner that, should the other find someone else they can love, we allow each other to explore it in the open and not limit each other possessively. So far the 8 year relationship has had 2 men and 2 women in it at various times, but at present it’s just me and Ray.

And also I say ‘Bi-Curious’ because I’ve mostly had relationships with men but I’m still attracted to women and curious at exploring that (and have done on occasion) but more times than not I fall for men.

So how do you define that with one word? Even if I were to say ‘I’m Poly’ it’s mostly likely they won’t get the reference and I’m stuck having to explain myself again or not raise the point in the first place, making it harder to meet like minded people.

In my opinion, like passing conditions, we can only use labels if we keep in mind they are just a shorthand pointers to a far bigger truth and not something to identify in its entirety. After all, our thoughts and identities change too depending on conditions and therefore no label can truly capture the flux of human nature. Seeing that has helped me let go of the need to judge myself and others, to accept things as they are, as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ after all are just labels too.

I offer this as a reflection…

Published in: on December 22, 2007 at 5:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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