Or real human being?
I don’t like labels. They confine people, most of the time. But I get why people like to operate in that world. It’s easy to put each other in these boxes and define each other accordingly.
It’s easy, but not efficient. Maybe a way to look at it is to say that it is spiritually and intellectually lazy to only perceive each other by labels.
When I was a young girl, a judge decreed, in her judgment of a case against my family, that we were nothing but white trash. We were poor. That’s true. It’s true that my parents weren’t very highly educated. My grandmother and mother did their very best to stand up and fight a system that was stacked against them. My mom and grandmother did their very best to keep us together and shielded from the cruelty of those words. When my parents were together, my father worked two and three jobs to keep us sheltered, fed and safe.
After my parents split, my brother and I had to grow up very quickly. The intergenerational trauma of poverty, coupled with the reality that we didn’t really fit in society, drove us to be the best people we could be. We had younger siblings who needed us to be helpful in our struggles to continue to be sheltered, fed and safe. We were still just kids.
That label is part of me. I have done a lot of work to repair those fractured generational lines that have wreaked havoc on the foundations of our family histories.
Driven to work within the parameters that mainstream society set around us, like the fences and railroad lines of Manifest Destiny, I journeyed. Stumbled. Lobbed my hand-crafted grenades at people who I labeled. The journey has taught me. And scarred me. And healed me.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this. Maybe I see the fractures with the clear eyes that come from trying to become a real human being. And maybe I believe that we are living in a time that is closely paralleled to the times our ancestors experienced. That we have an opportunity to heal the fractures and make a better path for our descendants.
I am more than the labels that undisciplined people want to put on me. So are you.