Flags become boxes.
That’s the end point of this post. That, and I love people.
So I hang out with this group of people. And the diagram of us/them looks sort of like this. Many of us/them have had a variety of relationships with each other, and things would be what most call “complicated” if not for compersion, Telling It Like It Is, and loving each other enough to call bullshit. Trying to bust out the diagram every time I tried to explain my social structure to others got kind of cumbersome, though, so when someone started using the word “Tribe” to describe the mish-mash, I went for it. “Tribe” was used as a mailing list tag, to make sure I got everyone I usually invited to parties, plus or minus a few on what sort of party/event it was.
The issue is, of course, that having been named, it became an entity to some. Something to belong to or not to belong to, a [set] group of people. The flag which was waved to say “look at how amazing life is, this warm fuzzy feeling!” turned into a box into which some people went (and therefore others didn’t).
You can imagine the drama that unfolded. Or maybe you can’t. Thing is, I don’t give a damn for it. And explaining to someone that they feel excluded because they used a term in a different way is difficult. It means I’m the “cold” one because I refuse to buy into a system which excludes people by default, when they wanted an apology for being excluded. Cue cognitive dissonance. And that’s another “us and them,” isn’t it? Those who get it and those who don’t.
It’s the same issue a friend of mine had, when she was trying to find a lady-friend. She said Seattle has too many lesbians and not enough women. People who wrap themselves up in a Thing To Be end up only expressing one part of themselves. And I’m sorry, but I like the diversity of people. I love how different, sometimes at-odds, aspects of individuals play within themselves. I want to see that unfold. And if you’re not up to it, that’s ok, but you damn well better not assume I will also only be one thing in life. I contain multitudes (, bitches).
So I welcome you all to embrace the messiness of life, and not to be upset when some things don’t work out while others do. There’s enough in the world for everyone to be happy. Insert other phrases of hard-won wisdom here. Just breathe, all else will follow.
We are each responsible for drawing our own Venn diagrams around those we care for.
Sometimes people feel excluded because they are excluded. If they’re not feeling the included, it could have something to do with the language used, or it could be that they are actually not included.
It takes bravery to say, “I don’t feel like I’m a part of this.” It’s a disservice to that person to blame them for not reading the intent of faulty language.
Words are dumb, kludgy tools, with sharp, mean biases. So if they cut perhaps we shouldn’t then cast blame at the bleeder.
Strand – I’m not saying I blame the bleeder. That’s the thing. There’s no blame to be placed, and therefore I refuse to be blamed.