Let’s talk ‘Labels’
There is a lot to me.
I stand for the Punk ideals of Anarchy and direct action, but there are days when I think a little Hippie flower power would not hurt. I’m head over heels in love with androgynous bodies, yet I cannot decide whether or not I love femininity more. I’m already fantasizing of long baths, massages and cuddling with a gorgeous woman I only recently met. It doesn’t erase the fact that I felt the same way about a man a few years back. So “pick a side already” is a phrase I am quite used to.
I used to tell myself that I didn’t care; that Punk, Bisexual, Androgynous and sometimes Femme are just labels. At the end of the day, I’m a person and not a label. Moreover, I didn’t put these labels on myself, they did it.
Yeah right, I didn’t give a damn. Yet, most mornings I found myself racking my brain, trying to figure out whether or not my favourite Ankara scarf was too Hippie for my Punk crowd. Or if wearing a dress would confuse the girl who made a pass at me the previous day when I was in combat boots and a hoodie (You know… is she femme or butch or...). Or if life would be much easier if only I was solely into men or women and not both. On better days, I would raise the finger to the world, “Fuck y’all!” However, on days when I had little or no fight left in me, I compliantly fit into whatever box those around me wanted me to.
Those little boxes always reminded me of the little closet I had existed in for so long before coming out. It was hot, stuffy and I grappled for air most of the time, but it also offered a sense of safety. In a way it was home as much as it was prison. It’s somehow comforting to know that you always have a cliché to fall back to when need be, that you are not alone, that you are just one of many. It gives one a sense of belonging.
Cut on serious consideration… Does it really?
Home is not supposed to be a prison as much as it is “home”. At home, one is supposed to be free to be who they really are. That’s where charity begins, right?
Over time my resolve not to label myself has been strengthened. I no longer lose sleep over “pick a side already”. I no longer feel as much pressure to “underline one piece of myself” – as Audre Lorde once described it – because that is the piece of me that people need to key into. I realized that only by learning to live in harmony with my contradictions will I keep them all afloat. I can’t say that I am above all reproach now. I mean, I still spend considerable amount of time thinking what wearing eye make-up might or might not mean. I’m just glad I made a choice to define myself for myself.
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