Several years ago, I met a beautiful soul who trusted me with her story... a story filled with heartache as she grappled with the labels the world tried so desperately to assign to her. She didn't fit the mold. She couldn't be defined by the labels of this world. She felt lost and alone. Eventually, she blossomed into herself as she learned labels are not for human use; finally believing she is more than any one thing people tried to describe her as.
Although our stories are very different, I understood her pain. My parents (who have worked through their shit and are beautiful people now) both battled addictions as I was growing up. When young children are around addicts, they learn how to adapt to any situation and take on the ability to code switch. This is a survival method and serves them well (for a moment). However, it also creates identity issues, when a child learns to code-switch in order to meet the needs of those around them they learn to ignore their true selves in order to present in a way that is acceptable to their peers and family losing themselves in the process.
In my twenties, I had an intense dream where I was standing in front of a large mirror, staring at myself. The mirror shattered, sending glass into the air. I tried to put the pieces back together quickly as I felt ashamed that it was broken. I knew this was a metaphor for my identity, how I viewed myself, and how I put too much emphasis on how people saw me. I knew I had to let the way I present myself to the world shatter so that I could find wholeness and just be the person standing in front of the mirror - unbothered by how the reflection was received. Seems easy, right?
I am a personality test nerd and love to learn about human behavior; measuring myself up to all the different descriptions and labels; I am an ENFP (sometimes INFP), High I and D in the DISC profile, & Ennegram 7w4, I am Taurus sun, Virgo moon, and Capricorn rising (if you know what any of this means you are probably an outlier too). Below will be a link to these tests if you are curious. Although I can recognize myself in these tests, they do not define me as a whole. I have searched my entire life for answers, not really understanding the question I was asking. I have studied world religions in depth. Searched for mentors. Searched for wisdom. Searched for love. Searched for understanding. Searched for myself. After taking several child psychology courses, I learned this behavior is pretty normal for people that felt misunderstood as children. People like me can spend their lives looking for labels that fit; often feeling like a square peg being forced into a round hole. Although I can fit in anywhere within the bell curve at my heart, I am an outlier.
People want to label others in order to make them fit in a nice neat, orderly box; I can't be confined in a simple orderly box. Part of my healing journey has been coming to terms with the fact that I might not ever fully fit anywhere- and that should be okay. It is for me. I searched the world for all the shattered pieces of the mirror (my identity) in order to accept myself fully; whole and integrated. The more I searched, the more I understood how much I rejected pieces of myself in order to please people in my life. Slowly, (I mean REALLY slowly) I became open to all of myself, every piece. I learned about shadow work and bravely faced my own darkness- asking what I could learn from it, then accepting the lesson and myself fully. To say it was hard would be making light of very intense work. Sometimes, I can feel myself slipping into old patterns of rejecting myself in order to be accepted by others. Usually, I recognize it quickly and adjust myself accordingly. Sometimes it takes a minute...
What does this mean? I am a complicated person that people have a hard time "figuring me out."
I used to feel like I was filled with contradictions, but now I realize I was just trying to cling to labels that were not meant for humans.
I am an animal lover (big time), I can barely eat meat sometimes, I hate hunting... but I LOVE a beautiful leather bag.
I am very spiritual but not a huge fan of organized religion (although I do love our little church).
Again, I am very spiritual but I love the F word. Honestly, I love all the words but especially the F word. I spent years watching every word I said, making sure they were just right... not anymore.
I need words of affirmation, but it makes me very uncomfortable.
I am cautiously open with people but would prefer them to be fully transparent- I'm working on balancing this out a little better right now.
I do yoga, pray, and meditate- like a lot, but I judge people way too much and would totally be open for throat punch Thursdays or fist in the face Fridays.
I am a perfectionist who doesn't do anything perfectly.
I tried to be good, but I am a little wild.
I am a little wild but I love good boundaries and need them to feel safe- so I can be a little wild.
I prefer the quiet but I am really loud when I am with my people.
I could go on and on.
What's the point?
I can't be defined as one thing... neither can you. We are all human, which means we are so much more than the labels people and the world has tried to use to box us in.
Little Lessons Everywhere
Labels are not for human use... they confine us and limit who we allow ourselves to be.
Survival methods serve a purpose but at some point they will demand to be dealt with.
It is important to have people that understands all your parts... and loves you anyway.
It is more important that you understand all your parts... even the ones that scare you.
The parts of yourself you try to push away and hid usually contain the best lessons... and FREEDOM!
The Adventure of Me by Rob Riccardo
This is the journey of the soul, it's the adventure of me No matter what I'm told, I know that I am free To roam my own way, to flow in my own sea To chase my own dreams on this adventure of me!
Are you surprised I shared something other than Trevor Hall? Me too... I'm full of surprises.