Sometimes we want to box ourselves up, label ourselves. The little box feels safe. It’s good to have cosy walls: we can lean against them. The box is like a shoelace done up good and tight and safe. The labels help us to find our tribe, help us to understand who we are: the knitter, the green convert, the cat lover. We look down at our feet and see that the glass slipper fits and we were Cinderella all along. We belong to the ball!
But often those labels aren’t good enough. They are static and they only express a moment of who are. Post-modern thinking shifts us away from thinking in binary pairs (the knitter or the crocheter; the green convert or the resource guzzler; the cat lover or the dog lover; Cinderella or an Ugly Sister) and towards where we lie on a spectrum of multi-possibilities.
And what about my contradictions?
I am restless/ I am constant.
I am hungry for change/ I never want my son to leave home.
I am a health conscious vegetarian/ I am a sugar vacuum, ravenous for a boost.
I love to free associate, to journal, to write poetry/ I hate writing and the lonely boredom of the screen.
I want to be goal focused and productive/ I just want to hide out in a book unless something demands my time.
I feel deep compassion for those I teach/ I only want to teach those who try hard and want to be there.
I want the love and companionship of my family and friends/ I want to spend most of spare time in solitary pursuits.
At any one moment I could plot a graph of myself, somewhere along the continuum of these extremes. I am a spectrum of multi-possibilities: we are spectrums of multi-possibilities. Sometimes the box we’ve built becomes too small for comfort, the labels dangling from us seem ridiculous and don’t fit who we are today. What then? What shall we plot?
Well, then it’s time shake out those perfect laces and go barefoot, turn up to a tribe in the full knowledge of all the differences between each of you. Some of us can’t afford to wait for the perfect fit any longer. That would be foolish when we’ve already seen the glass slipper shatter.