An activity I did on the weekend with my girlfriend, it started with a pad of sticky notes and writing down all the surnames I have had in my life and there has been a few. I know your already asking, how did you get so many surnames…. Well I was born Carson, mum separated, took her maiden name back became Dunn, mum remarried, had the name Stevens, I went back to Carson at 16 as my name had never been legally changed, married husband #1 took his name of Young, married husband #2 legally changed my name to Walters and now I find I get called Mrs Plow when my partner and I are not even married. I gave up as I was so tired of surnames and I deleted them and just took my middle name… I just wanted to be me, not what all these surnames meant.
Standing in front of the mirror, looking at all the surnames and my girlfriend asking me what ones do you love and what ones do you hate? This was interesting as it was not so much of loving and hating but more of a case of what each meant… It was a label, Mrs Young was expected to be amazing mum, Mrs Walters was a soldier and wife to a teacher and Mrs Plow is someone who I felt was the person who lost the identity of Kylie.. I felt that each time someone called me one of these names that an expectation was placed upon me .. each one meant acting or being a certain way.
If I took off the label I can see the lessons and values from each part of my life and it is not all great but its my life lessons.
The label thing does haunt us, when I was a single mother this was something I couldn’t stand to be called. Why am I just not a “mother” why do I need that label and why did I feel that it was so derogatory. It was me who was doing this.. I was saying that people believe that single mothers, battle with ex husbands, on benefits, require special attention.. I was allowing this label to dictate what I should be whilst I was solo parenting. So why do we do this?
I cannot believe the stress we put ourselves under, look at the campaigns to “run like a girl” and the labels that has caused by limiting what we believe we are able to achieve!
My daughter being a vegan, it would be so much easier just to be able to eat and be the way you want without having to label it for everyone else to understand and put in their tidy little box of different groups. I have learnt there is so many different levels to this and that when we have someone state they are a “vegan” or that label - we then as society like to point out when they are not fitting into that label! I cannot believe the guilt and stress caused over this, people striving to do good but feel so restricted within this that you a banished and shamed if you cannot 100% live up to a label. Seriously, I can’t do anything that strictly and well.
I have seen it with a girlfriend who after a failed marriage fell in love with a woman. This had a ripple effect for friends, family, ex and society in general. She was then labeled a lesbian which meant she was required to fit into that label. After about 5 years, the relationship had not worked and she fell in love with a man. None of this is intentional, she was being real, raw and brave and trying to share how she was feeling. You can imagine that ripple effect for everyone else because we needed her to fit into that neat little box of a label.
You don’t seem to realise that we do it on a day to day basis with our own family members who we would never want to limit. Just by saying to my daughter on a constant basis “You are amazing” created an expectation that she was required to live up to. My amazing daughter.. did this mean she was never allowed to fail, make mistakes and was now placed in a powerful little box? If only I had used the words of “how you dealt with that situation was amazing” how different it all becomes.
I believe and feel that we need to strip away those labels and practice to be raw and real. We not only do it to others but we unintentionally do it to ourselves. I have constantly stated that I am a soldier and I am unable to be the writer, artist etc because I am in my small little box with blinkers on.
I think if we can communicate in a better way but also not be so blinkered or judgmental, we open up a new world for ourselves but we assist all others in doing the same thing.
So if we so much need a label, then I am going with Flexatarian, I am flexible on what I eat, I am flexible in the job that I am doing, I am flexible and adaptive in my perspective of those around me.
Enjoy your day and lets try looking and thinking a little bigger and kinder! #thisisme #beingreal
I want you to be happy in your career; with my workshops we can tackle any issues that stop you from reaching that. You won't need a sea change but love who you are and what you do.