Put your labels on the table

Someone called me a ‘psychiatrist’s dream’ the other day. I think it was meant as a friendly little joke. I didn’t laugh. But even so it got me thinking about all the labels people have so creatively and persistently tried to stick on me over the years.

There’s quite a volume when I think about it.

First there’s the frankly rather unsporting ones about my appearance:

  • You’ve got an interesting jaw line
  • You’re ‘quite’ attractive
  • Lip up fatty, fatty reggae

Hmm. Let’s move on shall we.

It’s the ones that go beyond the outer appearance that intrigue me. Here are some of the best ones:

  • You’re loud, opinionated and brash
  • You’ve got all the mothering instinct of a turd
  • You’re not a team player, you’re Little Miss Independiente
  • Uh oh here comes Asperger’s Woman
  • Brutal
  • Blunt
  • Freak
  • Weirdo
  • Robot woman
  • Jesus freak
  • Uh oh here comes ‘the alternative’
  • You asked for it
  • You deserved it

Oh and then there’s the raft ‘Why Do You Have To’ questions: Why do you have to:

  • think about things so deeply?
  • analyse things so much?
  • take everything I say literally?
  • be so serious all the time?
  • be so intense?
  • be so emotional?
  • be so unemotional?

Yeh. I know. The last two contradict. Both made by exes, so go figure.

Seriously, how easy is it to just wholesale take on board all this? Very, I’d say. Despite their amusingly insulting nature, they could all genuinely describe me at the touch points of my life in which they were said. So the question is not so much ‘are they true’, but ‘how much longer after those touch points do I let them linger?’ How much do I let them take root, and grow and fester and become toxic, defining realities for me for the rest of my life?

W.C Fields apparently said “It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to that counts.” I like this a lot.

it ain't what they call you

A lot.

Loads of people have already written on the subject of not listening to the condemning and negative things others say about you, but instead speaking out life-affirming and positive things instead. Look at yourself in the mirror and say “I am beautiful” every morning type of thing,

Yeh. Nice idea, but that just ain’t me. I wasn’t born in a tepee and I need something a little more robust to fend off the onslaught.

OK so what does a hardened cynical old mare like me do in an attempt to find an ‘antidote’ to all the labels that have been proffered me over the years? Here’s what. I’ve taken a look at what the bible says God calls me. And in my own fragile and piecemeal way I’m learning to trust and (astonishingly) receive those things more and more as wholly true and loving and good.

Here are some of my faves.

He rescued me because he delighted in me. – 2 Samuel 22:20

I am already clean – John 15:3

Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

My name is permanently engraved in the palms of (His) hands and no man shall pluck (me) out – Isaiah 49:16

God knows me completely. – 1 Corinthians 13:12

He hears me – 1 John 5:14

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