Category Archives: Labels
It’s a double-edged sword. A two-faced creature. The stuff that either makes dreams come true or shatter into itty bitty tears. It’s the glue between relationships – personal or professional. It’s what raises the bar for a lot of us or, if not met, can disappoint and crush.
No. It’s not love.
Expanding on yet another post I wrote almost two years ago about boxes and labels and expectations being a big part of that, I’ve come to another crossroads in my still-developing life. I’ve been willing to accept that I cannot be contained, cannot be categorized, and I’ve reveled in that freedom. But it wasn’t enough. Others still criticized and pushed their expectations on me to be a certain way and, though I stood my ground, I’d found old habits threatening to resurface. I felt guilty and wanted to bend to their will.
So this time around I’d made it perfectly clear. Do. Not. Expect. Anything. From. Me. I am who I want to be, not who you want me to be. Not my job to fulfill your expectations.
It was easy for me to wrap my head around the fact that their expectations were their issue. Not mine.
Some people complied, some people didn’t and that, honestly, annoyed me because, damn it. I expected them to respect my request.
Ahh, but I’d gotten caught in my own box of expectations, didn’t I? It didn’t occur to me until my cousin mentioned that she was waiting for someone to do something and it wasn’t panning out. She then added, “Oh well. That’s my expectation. Gotta let it go.” This ah-ha moment hit me like a nice 2 x 4 across my ego. I had to release the expectations I had of others. Yeah, I know. I said “duh,” too.
It’s brilliant. Obvious and simple, but brilliant. I’d thought of all of the little expectations I’d had of other people and I just had to laugh, starting with the expectation that others will release their expectations of me. A close second was how events or situations should turn out. Unpredictable at best with all of the possible outcomes, it was far easier to release that expectation then to try to control something I had no control over.
So, yeah. This expectation thing is a two-way street, a journey that if everyone took, could very well circumvent a lot of frustration. As much as we might like to, we cannot control and we cannot predict what another will do. We can only observe and try to respect.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
My mind is still abuzz with the editing and book cover design for my soon-to-be-released YA paranormal (the book cover, by the way, is being created by Crystalyn Abercrombie, natural-born artist and expert inker, who should be known the world over - OMG, OMG, OMG – it is fabulous!!!), so for today’s post, I decided to clean out the mental closet – a nice break from the routine.
Following in the footsteps of my fellow bloggers, August McLaughlin, Amber West, Tim O’Brien, Natalie Hartford, and Tameri Etherton, each who have done posts similar to this, I thought it would be fun to do a little Q & A session with you all, at Tameri’s urging, to see if you knew how much of a Goody-Goody I was/am (or not).
Here’s how this works: I’ll list some things that I may or may not have done. Your challenge is to let me know in the comments section which items you think are true or false. In a couple of days, I’ll give you the answers.
This should be interesting. I wonder what impression you have of me, given the previous soul-revealing posts I’ve written.
So, let’s get started:
1. In high school, I was a forgery expert.
2. In the 1980s I made Tijuana runs and snuck bottles of Everclear grain alcohol back across the border.
3. I helped organize a relief effort for Hurricane Katrina survivors in 2005.
4. I snuck backstage at a UFO concert back in the 1980s.
5. In college I cut my hair within inches of my scalp as a dare from my sorority sisters.
6. I slept in the gutter outside of my college dorm after a particularly wild night.
7. While working in the Security Department in college, I was a model employee.
8. I stole a moped.
9. I used to make cookies and distribute them to residents in retirement homes.
10. My college roommates and I had were very thrifty and furnished our apartment with stolen furniture.
There you have it. How well do you think you know me? Educated guesses and stabs in the dark are totally allowed.
When my #wana711 blog-sister, Natalie Hartford, tagged me in her post, 10 Random Facts About Me, I thought it was be a great way to open my life up a little bit more, since we are all so intimate in a blogging sort of way. By revealing myself to you, I reveal myself to me, because I had actually forgotten about some of these random things.
The rules for this game are simple:
- Must be tagged by someone.
- List ten random facts about yourself.
- Tag four (I have five, actually) others to do the same and pass it on (it’s a good idea to ask them first because you never know where their comfort level is).
So…Let me get started.
- I was a child actress and model. Under the name of Deanna Martin, I shot my first commercial for the Bank of Seattle when I was five years old. I went on to model for Avon and some department stores. In the 70s, I had acting parts in Adam-12, Marcus Welby (playing the daughter of Sonny Bono), The FBI, General Hospital, and a few others. I think the biggest highlight was playing the daughter of Anne Bancroft in the 1973 movie The Hindenburg. I stopped acting when I went to college because I just wasn’t in love with the business. It’s tough out there, but I didn’t care about it enough to fight for the parts. I did have fun while it lasted, though.
- I love wearing stone and crystal pendants hanging from cords of leather or hemp instead of necklaces or bracelets made from gold and diamonds. Don’t get me wrong. Diamonds and emeralds and rubies are beautiful and I actually have some pieces tucked away, but I prefer the down-to-earth feel of the agate or jasper stones.
- I can’t/won’t/don’t know how/am too busy to cook. Never liked to cook, never was good at it. In fact, I regularly burn food along with the pots and pans. I just lose interest and get involved with something non-food related and eventually remember that I was cooking, but usually when it’s too late. Needless to say, my boys have learned to fend for themselves in the kitchen.
- I’m a cardio junkie. I love running – on a treadmill or outdoors. I have to run at least one hour five days a week to maintain some level of sanity. I love physical activity. Summer brings on yard work, and winter brings on shoveling snow and chopping wood. The strenuous movements quiet my always-racing mind.
- I have a nightly routine with my son’s hamster. Before I turn in, I say goodnight to Coco (lovingly referred to as “The Ham.”) When she hears my voice, she runs to the edge of the cage and sticks her nose out of the bars to grab the sunflower seeds and peanut pieces that I hand-feed her. She’ll take four or five of them at a time and stuff them in her cheeks. This lasts less than a minute, but I get a kick out of it every time.
- I love, love, love la bella lingua – Italian. I’ve been studying the language for the last six months or so, and have a wonderful Twitter friend who chats with me daily. He DM’s me in Italian and I do my best to reply in Italian. Oh, he is so patient with me! In two years my posse and I will be making a big road trip overseas. I can’t wait!
- I am a direct descendant of Ponce de Leon, the seeker of the Fountain of Youth. I don’t know how many greats there are in front of grandfather, but my cousins have the family tree chart that lists my ancestors. Getting them to let me borrow the chart is just as challenging as finding the Fountain must have been! Also, according to my cousin, Alejandro Quezada, my great-great grandmother was an Indian princess. So, royalty runs in the family. With this said, I do believe I’d prefer to be addressed as Your Highness instead of Diana. *wink, wink*
- I’ve always had a dream of buying a big house with a lot of rooms, about 20 perhaps, and opening it up for runaways. I’d staff the house with cooks, counselors, fill it with computers, clean clothes, and lots of beds. I’d give the kids a chance to be loved and cared for. I’d help them get clean, teach them skills, and help them be a productive part of society. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for teens. I don’t know why. I just wish I could adopt them all.
- I love medieval castles. I’ve spent plenty of time on the internet searching for pictures and stories behind those fabulous structures. Maybe it’s a past life thing. Maybe it’s the royalty thing, but I’m looking forward to making a trip to the UK sometime soon to take a tour of castle ruins.
- I’m very unorthodox. Always have been. I color outside of the lines. I bend the rules or ignore them completely. I don’t follow tradition, though sometimes I think it would be nice. But I do things my way. Because it works for me.
There you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed yet another look inside my heart and soul.
Now I get to tag some of my favorite bloggers to carry the torch onward! Here are my choices (and I thank them for accepting – *waves*):
So, take it away, my friends!!!
“I don’t like being put in boxes. Boy, girl, dork, popular – those are boxes.”
“Sorry. But…” I wanted to know something. “How old are you?”
“Age is a box.”
~ From the pages of What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci.
Boxes confine. Boxes limit. Boxes keep things in and boxes keep things out. The only boxes I like are the ones that I put in storage because I have no use for what I’ve put in them and probably won’t for a long time. Like my high school yearbooks, my first lock of hair, hospital bracelet – stuff like that.
Labels are just like boxes. Slap a label on a box and we’ve got a perfectly, pin-pointable, predictable product. What happens when said product doesn’t perform in the manner the label on the box specifies? We send it back and get a full refund. In our eyes, it didn’t fit into our basket of expectations, and it gets the big, red Reject stamp across the front.
Same as putting labels on people. We label them, expecting certain characteristics and we are surprised and sometimes angry when prim and proper Mary Jane is caught dancing on the tables at a seedy bar, or the virtuous Mrs. Goody-Goody is caught washing down pills with a vodka tonic. How about Miss America showing some skin in pictures taken eons ago?
Society loves doing that – putting people in boxes and writing labels on them in big permanent markers. It’s easier to keep track of us that way. It keeps us in line. But that makes us feel like we have to live up to someone’s expectation – a heavy burden to carry.
One of the many problems with boxes, though, is that they create a finite atmosphere from which we can take our next breath. How can we be one way when we are supposed to act another?
I find it difficult to label myself, so normally I don’t even try, but as part of a workshop headed up by Kristen Lamb, we were asked to make a list of words to describe ourselves or how others would describe us. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
After I had written the word “calm,” I immediately wrote “explosive.” “Cautious” was followed by “impetuous.” “Focused” fused with “scattered.” One hundred words later, I was still not able to get a very clear picture of who I was – it was blurry at best.
Taking the time to write those words was a wonderful exercise because it made me realize I am all of those words, yet none of them, or maybe a bit of each, in a very –ish sort of way.
That probably explains why I could never hold down a traditional job. Most jobs have very specific boundaries in which to perform. I don’t do boundaries. Guidelines maybe. Boundaries never. Abiding by leases, contracts, rules, and regulations makes me break out in hives.
The same goes with time. Clocks are too regimented and too confining. I rarely give an exact time for when I will be somewhere. I know myself too well. It’s always 1:00-ish, noon-ish, or afternoon-ish. I’m often teased about it, but it’s an expected and accepted part of me.
So there you have it – the nuts and bolts of who I am – or who I’m not.
How about you? Do you fit into a mold? Can you identify yourself with just a few words? Where is your comfort zone? Let me know! I’d love to compare our lists!