I am a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a best friend, granddaughter, niece, cousin, a survivor, a Jewess, Nerd, Geek, Star Wars fan, Trekkie, a writer, and just about every label you can come up with for a woman in love with life. First and foremost, however, I am a human being.
For the longest time labels defined who I was. Not because they fit but because I was trying to squeeze into society’s mass produced skinny vanilla latte definition of what it means to be human and female. I was trying to become invisible, to hide from the people around me so that I could enjoy my creativity, my passions, and those of others without attracting attention. It wasn’t until my entire identity was threatened – someone who used to matter (and no longer does) – that I realized how little the labels mattered and how much less it mattered that I fit into anything mainstream. Hell, my father used Star Wars VI as a baby sitter when he would work from home and my mother was running errands.
The broadest of the labels, and the ones that mean the most – outside family of course – are my status as a Nerd/Geek (take your pick, I answer to both) and my status as a “bad Jew.” It’s a kidding title, and one I claimed myself, because I gave up on following the prescriptions of my faith at a young age. I believe that whatever Almighty exists is in everything you do and that (s)he cares a lot less about whether or not I keep kosher as opposed to how I treat people. I don’t want to go to a single place of worship on a specified day – it’s illogical. Why does or would any deity care where I pray so long as I pray. Besides, bacon is delicious.
I also cling to my Nerd/Geek status because it covers so many other things, labels and parts of my identity that don’t have to be separated from any one thing. I can be a Geek without being a fan of BSG but not the other way around. I can be passionate about my writing and have every detail planned out to the most innocuous things. Have impassioned debates about whether or not the new Star Trek films are as good as the originals. Vent stress by getting into a light saber duel with my friends or my boyfriend and know that, at some point, we’ll forget why the duel started because we’ve all started pretending we’re Sith or Jedi. Go for periods where, one specific thing in all of SciFi/Fantasy, is my mental escape during the day. Or jump from one to the other. And, at the end of the day, watch a Football or Hockey game with the same passion and fire that a High School or College All Star does.
After the core of my identity was challenged by a the above mentioned “other,” I spent a long time reevaluating who I was and what it meant to be me. To be the human experience – though not in those exact terms. I realized that the people who mattered would take me as a I am. One way or the other because I was “me.” No labels. They didn’t want me to fit into the mainstream any more than I – now- realize that I did. So it became a matter not of belonging to a group but finding a group that belongs to me. People – friends and family – who don’t always get my jokes or references but still laugh. Who make comments – that might irritate me – because they care, not just to get a reaction or feel better about them selves.
My identity – labels or not – is my own. I dance in the car or at my desk if I get into the music. Think up random scenes for stories in my head and have created entirely too many fan-characters and original characters/stories to keep track of. Really ought to try and rectify that. I would rather spend a day hanging out with my boyfriend and our mothers (or a handful of friends and family) just running errands or chit chatting than not. And if I could, I’d cook – a lot.
As Bernard M. Baruch once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” If you do that, you decide what labels (if any) are applicable and will be accepted by the people who matter. After all, that’s exactly what being the human experience is about.
What is The Human Experience? It is the validity in your story and the story of 7,000,000,000 other people in this world. How do you put a label on being human? You don’t. You open your heart and listen. This is the foundation of our publication, The Human Experience, and we want to hear your story. Join us in spreading the diversity of the human experience with the world by sharing your story.