Please Don't Put Me in a Box
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
I don't like labels.
I think they're too easy.
A few nights ago, I was spending time with some friends: just chatting and talk drifted to identity. How do you identify?
I don't like that question. I don't like it on any level. Ultimately, I didn't answer. I identify as a lot of different things. I feel like I wear a lot of different hats. Which version of me do you want?
I think labels are dangerous. It's too easy to put people in a box. Our spirits were not to be finite and contained.
There's a very out of the box anime called "Yuri Kuma Arashi" in which bears have started compulsively eating humans so we've built a Wall to keep the bears out.
In time, the bears figure out how to disguise themselves as teenage girls and are soon infiltrating our world and making themselves very much at home among humanity. In theory, the bears want to use this opportunity to determine which girls would be the most delicious, but sometimes they find themselves developing complex feelings for the human girls.
There are lots of plotlines with bears falling in love with the human girls, human girls being eaten out of jealousy and possessiveness, but one of my takeaways was that the bears couldn't understand complexity. They wanted to label their relationships with the girls. They wanted to be able to put a complex relationship safely in a box, even if that meant that they had to eat the girl they loved and put her for all eternity in the box of their stomach.
Like the bears, we often crave simplicity. We want to understand our fellow humans on a basic level. We don't want to struggle with complexity in our relationships.
We need our children to be children. We want friends to be friends. We want lovers to be lovers. But all of these relationships exist on a continuum.
We can love more than one person at a time. Our children can teach us valuable lessons even as we attempt to guide them toward adulthood and independence. We can care deeply for our friends even as we struggle with disappointment or anger towards them.
Relationships are not simple.
Just as we are not simple.
I am a mother. I am a friend. I am an artist, but I pursue lots of different creative paths that don't always show up in my booth at a festival.
Nothing about me is simple. I don't always understand who I am or what I believe.
I am constantly evolving and changing. Who I am today, I might not be tomorrow.
I don't want a label.
Let me be free to experiment. Let me be free to change and evolve.
I don't need to be devoured whole to be understood. You don't need to put me in the box of your stomach to be certain that I love, and that love can be infinite.
It wasn't meant to be contained.