I decided to start a blog to get myself back into writing again. The truth is I miss the school tasks I once had – 2,000 words on the inside life of an empty cardboard box now seems like an interesting request and I may have grumbled about these seemingly mundane assignments at the time but deep down I loved it and the creativity it demanded of me.
Often I find recently that people don’t expect, demand or challenge enough of each other at all and it bores me. Throughout my life I’ve watched people become prone to having defeatist attitudes, towards themselves and toward others. I’ve had the attitude myself, I’m not immune, but sometimes the only way to overcome this is to take steps to prove others wrong and to say ‘I can do this, and I will do this’, without having to be asked or prompted or permitted.
I always loved to write but haven’t known where to start since nobody pushes me to now and I don’t HAVE to, I just want to. As with many things, if you want to move forward you have to start somewhere and if you don’t know where you just pick somewhere, just start somewhere, anywhere, and go from there. So, as this is my first blog piece I wanted to start from the start, to introduce myself as if I never have before. In the interests of transparency I think it’s important that you know your author.
Here I am – I’m a human! I fit into lots of boxes that people create to enable themselves to classify each other. I go in the boxes that say female, white, Irish, agnostic, single, middle-child of divorced parents and two other siblings; the boxes are stored to the right on the Kinsey scale, left on the political scale, probably around the middle on the IQ scales and an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale. Good luck finding me in the warehouse.
And that is only the tip of the iceberg, really some days I feel like an 1800lb cow that has been sliced up into tiny pieces and distributed quite unevenly into HUNDREDS of little boxes with the labels waiting to be scribbled in. It causes me a lot of anxiety and confusion. There’s one for the musician in me, one for the artist, one for the budding psychologist, one for the reader, the writer, the friend, the introvert, the wanderer, the photographer, the worker, the weirdo, the cleaner, the cat parent, the failure, the stranger, the activist, the athlete, the klutz. You get the idea, the list goes on. I have many parts and none of them define me in isolation. There are endless opportunities for definitions which are only part of a bigger picture that makes up a portrait of me.
I suppose you’re thinking I have some issues with identity. I do, in general, I have issues with stereotyping and forced labeling and concrete definitions because in the human condition there is always fragility, fluidity and changeability. I may be a puzzle of many pieces but so are we all and I hate to be boxed. It’s likely this will come up throughout my blog pieces.
And then, just to emphasize the changeability aspect, sometimes it won’t at all.
If you have read this far then I thank you and welcome you to my blog!
Some of the parts of me seem to contradict each other. Be warned. Fraught I am. This has been a struggle for me and I’m certain I’m not the only one. Some people just seem to hate it when they can’t put you into ONE clearly defined box. They get stressed out and just dismiss you entirely to go back to sorting out other more simple things. I let them.
On a personal taste level for example, I like listening to dirty, sexy, grungy punk music and heavy metal. It makes me very happy. But so does Taylor Swift, god help me I think she’s adorable. See the conflict here, but what’s a girl to do?
And for all the grunge and dirty metal that I love I’m also a very clean and neat person. I like to blast Marilyn Manson really loud, and do my ironing, or crank up some anarchistic, anti-establishment Sex Pistols and think about tomorrow’s pivot tables for my work. It’s therapeutic.
And what’s wrong with this? Not that I care to be judged on it. Everything I am or was, I believe you can handle it. It will never affect you unless you want it to or allow it to. I reserve my right to not to lock the lids on these boxes and jump between them as I wish. And the same applies to you, whoever you are, be who you want to be and let everyone else handle it how they need to. There really is no pleasing everyone.
In a simple world we would all just grow up knowing who we were meant to be and everyone would be equally happy with that, but this is not a simple world and often the people we look to for guidance and direction have opposing viewpoints, the signs we have to follow are then pointing in conflicting directions. It doesn’t make for an easy journey. So you have to take Fleetwood Mac’s advice and go your own way.
Just be honest about it as far as you can be, and if you have to make drastic changes consider the impact they could have and prepare for it, prepare those it will impact too. Basically, if you’ve boxed yourself in tightly and need a change- break out, but gently.
- Female yes. However, when I worked looking after young children they weren’t so sure about that definition. I don’t and won’t fit the stereotype. In fact, this is the case for many women, thankfully. I enjoy sports, I’m good at d.i.y (I try!), I like wearing sneakers and have absolutely no fear of spiders, dirt or breaking a nail. How radical of me. (Sigh)
- White, yes, I guess, but I have quite a few freckles, a birth mark on my back, lots of bluish marks from when I bump into things, some pink bits…(mind out of the gutter- scars are pink too!) some black hairs, some grey and a few multi-coloured tattoos, so really there’s lot of colour here and very little of me is actually paper white so I don’t understand this definition people need to perpetuate. Move on.
- Irish. I was born in Ireland, this is where I’m from. As I was born in the North of Ireland I automatically have dual citizenship but I’m saying no more to avoid a fiery debate already. Nobody chooses where they’re born. Moving on.
- Agnostic. Yes, went from altar girl to atheist to ‘for goodness sake I don’t care’. Can’t we just get real and work towards a common good- is that too much to ask?
- Middle-child. Two brothers, one older, one younger, both excellent, very fond of them!
- Divorced Parents – In 2003 my dad left my mum for a woman he’d been having an affair with. There was a bit of back and forth, some reconciliations followed by break-ups all over again and eventually a very messy divorce.
- To the right on the Kinsey scale – honestly, I don’t date that much recently but I’ve dated men, I’ve dated more women, I’ll date whoever the hell I want to and it’s nobody else’s damn business unless I say it is. When I settle down for life, then maybe we can close the lid on the box.
- Left politically – often described as a socialist, once a member of socialist youth. Really I just want equality and fairness and sharing and for everybody to be ok. Life is too short and the world too great for all of the misery, injustice and discrimination it currently holds. There’s no need.
- Middle on the IQ scales. I think I’m pretty smart, I test well, I can pull it out of the bag now and again. At the same time, some days I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on and when I’m over-tired I’m dumb as a brick. That’s just how it is.
- Myers -Briggs scale -INFJ – that’s just what the test said, and I don’t know how far I’d buy in to personality testing. That’s another day’s discussion.
Then there are the other labels – the definitions based on what I do, what I work as, what I study. All of these things that could change tomorrow but somehow tell you who I am. They don’t. I flit, I explore, I’m trying new things all the time. It’s fluid.
My first part-time jobs were in shops and bars. I had a long stint in a nursery and day care facility, did some free lancing in events, and did some volunteering before I joined an outsourcing group and started to make my way around the telecoms sector. I’m currently contracted out to a corporation looking after their telecoms account. A year from now I could be somewhere else entirely. I hope that I am.
I studied Psychology for a subject change and a learning curve, but mostly because I wanted to understand humans better. They/ we baffled me. Still do. I graduated with a 2:2 which is apparently worthless if you actually want to practice as a psychologist. I would have considered it otherwise but I accept the implications of the choices I made. I worked full-time during my degree, sometimes had more than one job and I felt I did the best I could under my circumstances at the time. I can look back and say I should have worked harder and focused better but it won’t help. Next time I will, if there’s a next time in my studies, which I hope there is.
For now, I work, I blog, I travel, I hang out with my friends and my family, my books and my cat and I’ll leave this here for now. On a hopeful note. Hopeful that you have enough to go on to understand a little of who I am and where I come from and hopeful that you’ll enjoy the blog.