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Not Ashamed Introduction

After making the post below on social media, it was interesting (and sometimes painful) to process how others reacted to it. It quickly became clear to me that each of us assumes a whole lot of things based on a label, a word or two, and that what we assume doesn't necessarily overlap with what others assume or with the truth of the person to whom the label is applied. For the last few months, I've been thinking about creating this section of my site...A chance to spell out a little about each of the labels. Because who I am can't be boiled down to a label or even a set of labels, and some labels need more than our culture's new norm of 140 characters to explain.

In spite of being a very private person in many ways, I decided to make this series of posts on my public site because I hope that others might be able to feel a little less alone in some things and/or might be able to let go of their own shame (which feels incredible). Plus, if you're press, you can now skip asking me the same tedious questions about this and get to really interesting stuff ;)

The posts, which I hope to make each Sunday (though Life might happen and make things early or late by a day or two), won't all parallel each other in construction or content. But, this way, if you're hung up on labels about me, you'll at least have a chance to hate (or adore) me for the right reasons.

Original post (unedited):

I am about to list some things about me. Some are about me now; some are about past me.

Please don't comment unless you've read this whole post. :)

Some of you will think some of these are scandalous or horrible, but see no problem with others.
Others of you will have the same reactions but to different words.

I am posting these because (and this is the point) I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WHO I AM OR HAVE BEEN. And that is awesome! :D

Please do not comment to tell me I am brave to post these things. I am not braved; I am unashamed. :)

Please do not comment to tell me it's okay that I am one or more of these things. You don't need to tell me that; I am unashamed. ;)

Please don't post to tell me I ought to be ashamed. I will just delete your comment. I am unashamed. I did not arrive here, in many cases, without much examination/pondering/prayer.

Please don't post to argue politics/religion/beliefs with me. I'm not interested. I will delete such comments (or comments that bash any of what I've listed). I have probably done you that same courtesy when you've made posts that are the opposite of my current politics/religion/etc.

I'm posting this because I have had a number of situations lately where people have comforted me about some trait when I didn't need comfort, and I know the intentions are good, but it starts to feel like something negative.

This is not aimed at any one person. If you choose to assume this is a lie, you do both me and you a disservice :)

Please don't post apologies. I have just been assuming you meant well :)

For future reference, unless you can hear me speaking and my tone is clearly despondent or I straight-forwardly express concern, please feel free to assume that I am unashamed and okay :)

(See the smilies up there? That means this is not an angry post. Please don't take it as such.)

Please don't assume you have to like everything about me to generally like me, love me, be my friend, be my family. You don't. Nobody likes literally everything about any other person.

Please don't assume I judge you if you are some of these things and are ashamed. Shame is a personal thing. Just as I'll appreciate you not projecting your shame onto me, I won't think ill of you if you carry shame of your own.

Also, I'm not endorsing everything on this list or saying that it's awesome to be this or that others should try it. Some, sure. Others, nope. And many...they just are what they are and there's no judgement.

Every one of them is something that someone has, in one way or another, expressed that I should be ashamed of.

(Also, if you are the kind of person who reads lists like these and finds them reasons to judge my parents, friends, teachers...unfriend me. I'm very, very serious. There is no blame or responsibility for them to carry and I dislike you on principle if you think otherwise.)

But I am not ashamed of who I am or have been. Even choices that weren't great, whether in fashion or in action, are part of the path to having become who I am. (And you might have caught on that I am a fan of who I am....heh!)

I make, in general, good choices these days. I take care of myself and my people. I am kind, pretty, talented, intelligent, funny, and a load of other things that make me madly love me. I strive daily to be closer to my best self, to live a life that spreads love and light. And I fail daily, but I keep trying. I might not be everyone's cup of tea (and maybe even less so for some of you after you read this list), and I am okay with that. I'd drink me!

So, here are labels you could apply to me now or in the past (don't worry; the ones that are dangerous to my health are either in the past or under control now...please don't post concern) (also, these are posted in no particular order, so please don't try to read import into the order):

  • Bipolar
  • The kind of depressed that's not physiologically caused
  • Anorexic
  • Autistic
  • Bisexual
  • A geek
  • A nerd
  • Pale
  • A night owl
  • Fiscally and socially liberal
  • A self-hater
  • My own biggest fan
  • A daydreamer
  • A rock musician
  • Genderfluid
  • Ambitiously in pursuit of my dreams
  • A writer of scifi
  • An introvert
  • Reclusive (no, seriously...I need hours of alone time daily--sleep and work time don't count...I never get lonely...I can go weeks with only digital human contact...I can even go days with no contact at all before curiosity about some friend or other has me sending a note or looking at Facebook...I don't fear leaving the flat, but I'd generally prefer not to...)
  • Apparently very selective in my friendships
  • Ridiculously musically eclectic
  • Devoutly Mormon
  • A friend to multiple people who dislike each other
  • Suicidal (which does not mean the next label is a given)
  • Self harming (which, no, is not a necessarily the same thing as suicidal)
  • Victimised by a sexual predator
  • Violently angry
  • A pacifist
  • Unconcerned with acting my age
  • Verbose (yeah, you probably noticed that)
  • Precocious
  • Intense
  • Silly
  • A gamer (and not just video games...tabletop...online RPG...LARP--which I'd do all caps even if it weren't an acronym because I know that's the one I'm most likely to get scorned for...)
  • Serious
  • Pro-life and pro-choice (which is to say that I can't see--aside from a very tiny list of reasons--choosing abortion for myself, but that I support every woman's right to make her own choices)
  • Vegetarian (I did this for years...it's complicated...)
  • Related: For various health reasons, I also tried paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, absolutely no sugar, and a few others
  • Related: I eat sugar and meat and simple carbs and dairy
  • Sober
  • Goth
  • Punk
  • Not goth
  • Not punk
  • A regular patron of loud dance clubs and quiet bars
  • Celibate
  • Feminist
  • Poor
  • Sometimes, briefly, a little bit well-off
  • And there are a few physical illness/pain issues that don't allow me to do everything everyone, including me, wants or thinks I should do and I might not like it but that doesn't mean I'm ashamed

There are others, but you get the point. (Or I hope you do, because even I am tired of the list.)

TL;DR (for older readers, that means "too long; didn't read"): I am or have been a lot of things various people think I should be ashamed of. I am not ashamed. Please do not tell me I am brave or console me unless I ask. It is okay to like me without liking everything about me. I expect that's the case. Thanks :D

And here's where you can start your adventure into reading even more about my labels.

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