Behind The Labels

Let’s just say I am easily confused. Easily amused and usually bemused by this life and all the crazy players who live it. All I know is – I am that I am – I have no desire to be something different. I find myself walking blindly around this earth, seeing everything that matters, if only to my own heart. I smile at strangers and speak my truth just hoping to make it to the next day all the while trying to share a little kindness on my way out the door. I am happy to the core with who I am and I don’t want to be like anyone else – after all, it’s our differences that make this life such an interesting journey.

Melissa Etheridge said, “I feel my heart break to see a nation ripped apart by its own greatest strength – its diversity.” These words can be associated with our country as a whole on any given day – just as easily as they can be wrapped around the lesbian community. The diversity within the lesbian community is often scrutinized and ripped to shreds – even by the women who make up the community. Everyone wants to label everyone else – “you’re a player…a baby dyke…butch….femme…jock…etc…” And if a person doesn’t fit perfectly into an expectation – judgment, exclusion and labeling begins. It’s like a bunch of chicks standing around the water cooler breaking down what they don’t really understand in terms that, perhaps, make them feel more comfortable with themselves. But with the labeling comes stereotyping and with the stereotyping comes limitations and with limitations comes the bottle necking of our community in terms of power (political and personal) and it puts a hazy filter on how we are accepted in this world we live in. To label is to define and in a sense confine an individual to living a life based on perceptions and parameters, boundaries and borders that we all too soon begin to believe and feel trapped behind, limited and defined by.

It is the diversity of the group – the ranges of faces and beliefs, colors and sizes, interests and education that make the group powerful, influential and maybe even more accepted by those outside of the group. It takes an outwardly opinionated person to make the introspective girl seem like a recluse. It takes a beautiful voice to make the people stop and take notice of an unfamiliar song that is being sung. It’s the athletic girl with the cool ass kicks that stands in stark contrast to the girly girl femme rocking the brown suede pumps. It is within these contrasts that the full tapestry of our community shows its eclectic personality. I don’t need to define who you are and you don’t need to figure me out – let’s just play nice and get to know each other for the gifts that we all bring to the table. It is an amazing thing to suddenly see the world through the experiences of another. It is enlightening – and it changes everything. It’s often hard enough to be out and about in this hetero world – but if we calmly find strength and unity in our differences we will surly be a community empowered, thereby utilizing the core strength of our diversity to make changes in this world – and with that reality – anything is possible.

I tend to over think from beginning to end and back again. I know. And I am still not sure where all the assumptions and labels come from or what they really mean. But if we open up our minds and our hearts to non exclusion and acceptance of our endless possibilities – the sky really is the limit on what we can accomplish together. And in all of this madness – I just have to hope that we don’t lose sight of all we are capable of becoming simply because someone else doesn’t see what lies beneath the label.

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About K. Guzman

Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.


5 Responses to “Behind The Labels”

  1. WOW and thanx! This is pretty powerful. I can only hope anyone who reads this takes something from it:)

    Posted by Jeanine | December 15, 2011, 12:16 pm
  2. I love you Kathy! I agree with Jeanine… I hope people take from this, and put it to work. I pretty much try not to judge and make assumptions on a daily basis, but this article makes me sit back think if I’m really being the best person I can be- and not get caught up with the people who do this. It’s people like you, sharing your knowledge, thoughts and beliefs that make us all grow…. I’d say it’s also somewhat of a “group effort”- We all give and take from one another. Keep positive Energy!!!! MUAH

    Posted by Theresa Zeglis | December 15, 2011, 12:59 pm
  3. Thanks Jeanine – provoking thought and conversations from readers is something I hope to continue to do!! Pass it on –

    Posted by K Guzman | December 15, 2011, 1:27 pm
  4. Yo T!!!! – pay it forward baby!! Thaniks for always reading and having something positive to share!!

    Posted by K Guzman | December 15, 2011, 1:28 pm
  5. Great job Kathy! <3

    Posted by Dawn | December 15, 2011, 7:39 pm

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