You ever just feel like you’re different?
Everyone around you seems to have their shit together, or they think a certain way, and here you are- just not like them? I have had this belief all my life.
From as young as I can remember I’ve seen things differently than my peers- hell from my family as well; I could see whole pictures of the world as clearly as if someone had taken a photograph of the strings that bind us together, yet, I couldn’t connect with anyone. I understood things no one else did, and I was teased quite a bit for it. When I got older, my politics, those that deal with Government control- not Human Rights, were always centered, as I saw both sides equally- causing a lot of disruption between myself and those who couldn’t.
I still hold centered beliefs about politics, but I’ve grown more accustomed to having a liberal voice about Human Rights. It’s again something that’s very different than those around me, because it seems as if most people believe you can’t have both. You can’t be socially liberal and believe in liberty from governmental control. It’s caused me to not only confuse a lot of people, but alienate myself as well with anyone on either side of the fence.
My thoughts and ideas are creations of their own. A lot of time I don’t even know where they come from, hence why I spend so much time educating myself about them, or why I speak about them so frequently. I want to make sure I have some foundation of practicality to add into my spirituality so I’m tethered to something real. I see my thoughts and ideas as almost alive- these breathing things that can be killed with proper education, or perpetuated and grown in other people’s minds with enough watering.
But I see a lot of inanimate objects that way as well. I’m the kid who couldn’t decide which teddy bear to take to school because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of my other stuffed animals. I’m in my 30’s now, and still feel that way. My thoughts, my love, for those stuffed creatures have given them a life that I am now responsible for.
It doesn’t work that way with everything though.
It wasn’t until recently, as in the last few weeks, that I realized I don’t even consider myself a person. Personifying everything around me, including my dogs, makes it difficult to see myself as just a human and not a tangled web of attributes, spirituality, divine creation, etc. I see everyone else as people- the summation of all of the above along with their physicality, but I cannot see beyond my own mind.
It, this view, tends to create even more issues for people around me than it does myself, because a person who is not a person cannot be loved. The desire is there, to be loved, but it is almost as if I am missing the vital ingredient to believe I can be- not to mention should be. This creates a paradox where others who are trying to love me feel as if I’m standoffish or cold, rejecting love from them that I didn’t even know they were giving. For example: there are some people who actually enjoy being around me, and in turn, are hurt when I isolate.
I’d always assumed it was because I couldn’t be there for them, help them with their problems, or be the sounding board they needed. Which, let me tell you, is not only burdensome, but isolating in itself. To believe that people only want you around for selfish reasons, it doesn’t make you feel very loved, nor does it refill your cup when you already have a hole in it. However, that’s not always the case. There are people out there who actually care when I don’t respond to text messages or sleep through play-dates, and not for any other reason than they miss me.
It’s strange, and only a recent realization brought about by, literally, being told off by someone I love. I don’t know how to be a friend because I don’t know how to have friends. I just see people I love, these beings who exist in a spectral field of my adoration, who are around- not people who love me. That idea is preposterous!
Another deep conversation, which seems to be all I have with people, made me realize that I don’t even view my body as a person. You know the inner vision you have when you picture yourself? Mine is a room of windows and a black vault, my mind mansion- if you will, but not my physical being. Not even my personality or attributes- as I see those as consequences of who I am, not the bearing or reason I’m that way. When during this conversation I was asked what made me a woman, the only thought I had was the canal that makes my vagina. Not my ovaries, not my person, not my mentality, but this physical piece of myself that doesn’t even include the whole. Yet, when I look at other women, whether born in the physical body or not, I see them as women because they choose to be. I see them as women because that’s how they portray or express themselves. I have no idea what makes me a woman. It’s not a choice, I don’t fit into any roles, it just is- and in my head, it boils down to the vaginal canal.
In fact, to get right down to it, I can’t understand different gender-types simply because I don’t see gender in the same way as everyone else. Defined as either social roles, physical parts, or sexual orientation, I misunderstand labels simply because I cannot attribute them to myself- nor do I wish to, as I feel that’s confining. I don’t see male roles and female roles, therefore, I suppose technically I’d be non-binary, yet, I also don’t agree with the system that created those roles- so by establishing myself inside them, it’s almost reinforcing them. It’s like, to me, saying I don’t believe in Christian ideology, but I’m going to call myself Baptist, because I’m neither Catholic or Episcopalian. It’s the same spectrum, just fancier dressing, and in acknowledging that spectrum, you reinforce it.
I am Nicole. That’s all that matters. Other than my skin color, there is nothing about me- physically, mentally, emotionally- that cannot be changed; therefore, why limit myself to labels that pigeonhole me into permanency?
It makes no sense if you’re neurotypical, which is the absence of mental disorders or illnesses. My husband doesn’t get it. For all his greatness, he can be very dismissive of me and my tendencies; it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t even see themselves as a person. Many people who read this might believe my ideals mean I’m ant-LGBTQIA+; but that could not be farther from the truth. I’m anti-society. I’m anti-making-someone- feel-like-they-have-to-label-themselves-for-society’s-comfort. However, that’s just one drawback of being different- people don’t understand you unless you have a label.
For many people the issues are too close to them, and their vision- like their labels- are too narrow. I see connections in the Universe that others miss because they’re looking too closely. That doesn’t make me right, it just makes me…well, different.
For years, I’ve accepted that. Maybe I’m supposed to be the hippy witch who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. Maybe I still am that person, I don’t know.
However, labels are important in this world- even if I don’t want them to be, or personally believe in them. “Hippy witch” makes it seem like, to others, that I’ve chosen this life- this way of thinking. It also means, to them, that I accept the consequences of their judgment or hatred, because it’s a choice; when in reality, I’d give anything to just be normal. It makes others view you with a squinted eye, never quite believing if you’re for real or not, but when you start prophesying your beliefs- they listen just in case you’re the next Muhammad. They come to you for advice, they follow your blog, they listen to you when you tell them all about the spiritual hooey-dooey shit. But, if they find out you’re Autistic instead, suddenly everything makes sense and your transgressions are forgiven. In trade, however, the trust is gone. When it’s no longer a choice of yours, they begin to see you as broken and so, too, is your advice. Because with that label, with that diagnosis, you’re suddenly someone else to them. You’ve changed without ever having doing so.
Spiritual Genius, and I don’t mean having all the answers I just mean the gifts we’re given, is a mental disorder. I don’t say that to mean all of us are sick, or that we have mental illnesses, but as the proper definition of the verb disorder: to disrupt the normal. It is literally seeing what isn’t there for the rest of the world, and in expression, contextualizing it for them.
It is the woman who can see auras, or the man who reads tarot with a deftness that leaves goosebumps on your arm. In psychology, or society, they are crazy, eccentric, or even mentally ill. But their label doesn’t change them. The woman who can tell that you’ve had a bad day, without speaking to you, simply because the colors in your aura are affected is still the same whether she is schizophrenic or simply eccentric. The man who can give you answers that don’t make sense at the time, but come to be clear in the future, is the same whether he is prophetic or bipolar.
Yet, science and society constantly try to fit people into these boxes, and it’s for no one’s benefit other than those who don’t understand the way we think. Those people need explanations as to why that woman can see aura’s and they can’t, and when that label comes, it’s easy to dismiss the aura reading as nonsense- simply because they cannot believe, through their own experience, that gifts like that exist.
Before my son was born, I taught Special Education- specifically children with Autism. I related to those kids better than any adult at the time, including my own boyfriend (whom I married). They saw the world differently, communicated differently, and loved differently. They were just as human as the children in “regular” classes, yet they were also treated differently. And, not for any other reason, than because that label defined them as different.
I am pretty sure I sit somewhere on the spectrum. My self-diagnosis puts me somewhere near Asperger’s, but I realize they’ve changed the label to something else now. Which makes me question, if labels can change- why use them?
However, I will never have a label. I’m too old to seek a diagnosis, because there’s nothing the world can do for me at this point, but even if I wasn’t- would I still be hailed as a spiritual genius?
Would my Have You Been Hexed?? post still be viral (or at least my most popular post, I don’t know what defines viral statistically) if it came with the tag that the author suffers from Autism? Does my label of Bipolar negate the fact that I can be pissed off at someone for realistic reasons? Does my interest in both men and women mean that my monogamous heterosexual relationship with my husband is somehow fake?
Yet, labels make us feel safe. For some reason, narrowing our scope makes us feel accepted. I know my very first feeling when I read the chart above was relief- holy shit, I’m not crazy- I’m possibly autistic. But, is that not, too, society’s fault? The belief that I need a label to find a community accepting of me is utter bullshit.
A recent example is that I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I joined a few Facebook groups hoping to gain advice and a sense of camaraderie in a confusing time. The judgement I faced in those groups, from everything from asking whether something was GF (and not already knowing) to offering solidarity to another newbie, was horrendous. Without malice or argument on my part, this community that I’d been recently labeled as a part of, was unnecessarily cruel and territorial. Of course, I left those groups, but that left me navigating a world created for people without this disease alone. The same as I’d been before I had a label.
Because, for me, that’s the other issue with labels- those who have them covet them. They are possessive and territorial against anyone who joins their community, perhaps jaded by society’s acceptance of themselves, causing them to suspect everyone. Are you really Celiac if you don’t know that there’s gluten in Soy Sauce, or are you just pretending because GF was a trend?
Are you really part of the LGBT community if you find both sexes equally attractive, or are you just a whore?
Are you really Bipolar if you don’t need medicine to regulate your moods, or are you just emotional?
Are you really? Are you sure? Because, really, I have been diagnosed and I don’t think so.
It’s not any kinder in those worlds, nor is it any less ostracizing. The only difference is now you’ve been labeled and can never return to normal society without stains.
I have been called powerful. I have been called a genius manifestor. I have been called a bad ass witch. I have been called a friend. I have been called a great listener.
Why can’t those be the labels that define me? Why can’t everything else that I don’t understand about myself, or even those that do but don’t fit into normalcy, just be things that make me amazing?
So what if I can’t eat gluten, like having sex with men and women, believe that the Universe is alive, hate Big Government, and practice witchcraft? Is my advice any less resonate to a Christian simply because I use pray in a different way than they do? Is my love any less fierce to a black friend simply because I’m white?
No. It’s not.
Then why do we need to label everything in order to feel seen? Label the hatred, label the atrocities, label the criticisms that divide us, and label the injustices that hurt us- but stop, for the sake of our world, stop labeling what is different, good, and pure. Label physical conditions that need help or adjustments to life, but stop labeling eccentricities as mental disorders.
I am me, and you are you. As long as we love each other, communicate, and have patience, the labels just give us excuses to judge.
I refuse to judge you.
Spiritual genius or psychological diagnosis, I don’t care. If what you say resonates with me, I will love it. If not, I may question it, but I will do so respectively and with kindness. And, if it has nothing to do with me at all, I will listen and allow you space to be yourself without judgement or hate.
Because, for me, it doesn’t matter what you’re called- you’re still you.
And I love you.
Until next time, my friends…