- I’ve struggled with whether to write this post or not. With how to word it so as not to offend anyone. Considering all the possibilities of what might go wrong, whether it needs to be said or not, does it matter…
But, the thoughts just keep swirling in my head, refusing to be quieted. It’s my blog, my little space in the world, and nobody has to read it or like it, but maybe I’m not the only one feeling this way.
What I’d like to say is please don’t package me. Don’t look at me and make assumptions about who I am and stick me in a box and put a label on me.
I’m a complex person – because I’m a human being. It just goes with the territory. I make decisions, I change my mind, I make mistakes, I try to learn from them and I dream of a better world, but live in this one.
I am not a Democrat or a Republican or any other “party” for that matter. I make my own decisions and prefer not to follow the crowd. I don’t even know for sure what those party labels mean anymore. So many issues and so many decisions – how can it all fit under one umbrella.
I guess I’m not a liberal or a conservative either. I’m uncomfortable choosing one or the other. Once again, it depends on the issue, the facts, my belief system and how it all fits into the very real world we live in.
I am a follower of Christ although I am not actively involved in a worship community. I’ve become uncomfortable with the “Christian” label for much the same reason as any other. So many extremes within the “Christian” community and a lot of directions and movements that don’t appeal to me. I’ve chosen to go back to the Bible and my understanding of Jesus’ teachings and make my own way from there.
Here’s the tricky one – skin color. White, black, brown, yellow, red, or whatever. I’m an artist. Two of those aren’t even a color and they are all wildly inaccurate depictions anyway. Millions of people in each group and one label to identify them all? What the hell? That’s a pretty simplistic view of the world isn’t it? White culture. What does that even mean? Black culture? Same issue. Who made up those categories and made it the standard by which we identify each other?
I suppose that it would make life easier if we could categorize everyone so easily and know what someone believes, thinks and how they will act based on appearance. I’ve never found it to be true though.
I live in a manufactured home community out in the country in Texas…the South. I’m a stay-at-home Mom and homeschool. What assumptions are often made about me? I’m an uneducated redneck because I live in a “trailer”. I’m a religious, right-wing zealot because I homeschool. I’m a back-to-earth, hippy, granola mom because I stay at home with my kids. Or, my personal favorite, a gun-toting, survivalist, racist because I live in the country, in Texas. These have all happened, for real.
Maybe it would make more sense to get to know me rather than stick a label on me and call it done. Let me help you out…
- I live where I live because it worked out economically and fits in with the lifestyle choices we make. In short, we’ve got a big-ass house that we can make the payments on.
- I stay at home because I love my kids, and my husband and I felt that it was the right choice for our family. No judgment from me if you work outside the home. Your life, your choices…we all need to make decisions that work for us.
- I homeschool for a number or personal reasons…it works for my kids’ learning styles, our family, and fits in with the lifestyle choices we’ve made.
- I’ve got two Bachelor’s degrees and started on my Master’s. I’d probably still be in college if I could.
- I’ve got a garden and we eat a reasonably healthy diet. Nothing extreme though. I’m not a good enough gardener that we could ever live off the land. And I’m not sure that I could ever give up Cheetos or Oreos forever.
I could go on, but maybe I’ve made my point. Let me sum it up for you…
If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by for dinner. I don’t care what “color” you are, where or who you worship (or if you worship at all), where you come from, what you wear (I prefer some garb of some kind please) your occupation, your life-style choices, your economic level, your political affiliations, your mental health diagnosis, your heritage, your decorating scheme, your gun-carrying status (or lack thereof), or your dietary restrictions (just let me know ahead of time). If I’ve left anything out, let me know.
I do expect two things: Respect and kindness for me and everyone else around the table, and lively discussion that does not degenerate into labeling, name-calling, belittling or generalizations.
I don’t hate anybody. I also don’t love everybody (I know I’m supposed to, but I haven’t gotten there yet). And honestly, there’s some people I don’t like very much. I don’t feel the need to apologize for anything someone else has done, but I will empathize with your hurt. I will try to apologize when I screw up if I realize I did so. If not, please tell me what’s wrong so we can work it out.
That’s the best place to start…me and you. One on one. One discussion and one friendship at a time. I can’t fix the whole world. Nobody can. But we can each work together. Just don’t stick me in a box and put a label on me…and I’ll try to treat you with the same courtesy.