Check all applicable labels

23 June 2020

This is the third in a series of posts going back to 2017 where I attempt to describe the labels that apply to me. The first, “Guy-Adjacent”, I know some people liked a lot and resonated with some of the things in it, but it doesn’t match me at all anymore. It’s there, though.

In the preface of “My words,” I self-describe as neither being oppressed nor dysphoric, having pretty good mental health, being NT, being healthy.

That is, to a certain extent, still true. It is also not completely accurate, and I have come to realise, wasn’t even when I wrote the previous post. Self-discovery is a thing. Cease of denial is also a thing.

I am not NT (neurotypical). I, however, feel quite inappropriate in claiming the ND (neurodivergent) label. I don’t feel like I belong in either category, which could be anniying if I cared a lot about categories or labels, but I don’t really. I’m not presently interested in getting diagnosed in any particular direction, either. But I do recognise I am not NT, and that’s a step. I think.

I am not the picture of health. I have an invisible, undiagnosed chronic illness or condition, which after much questioning, sounds pretty similar to, if an incredibly mild version of, a named condition. But maybe I think that because several friends do have that named condition, properly diagnosed, and I recognise myself in my friends. I would never want to make their struggles and hardship about me, though, so I’m not going to associate myself with it. I’m also very wary of something that sounds very much like a general “we have no idea, let’s describe the symptoms and call it a thing” which I’m sure is helpful from a medical and also community point of view, but is super despairing from the perspective of someone wondering about what they have and if it’s ever fixable and with a dislike of doctors. I probably need therapy. And medical care. I don’t know if I’ll ever work up the nerve to push past my past experiences and get there, which sounds very silly because I KNOW I HAVE THE PROBLEM, WHY WON’T I DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Speaking of mental health, I don’t have impostor syndrome anymore. Wooo. It only took several years. I still have a latent fear of rejection. But I’m pretty confident in my skills now, and most importantly, I’m pretty confident in the skills I don’t have. I think that helps tremendously, from a privileged position, to admit to myself this vulnerability or ‘weakness’.

But enough about health. One other very important change from the previous post is to stop trying to avoid the word “label.” I will never like it much, but in the last post I made a rather obvious mistake, in that I described that “words” are about communication, and failed to realise that the word “label” is also about communication. “Words” is very unspecific. “Labels” might feel icky and have interpretations I’d rather avoid, but it certainly has specific shared meaning, and that helps tremendously in communicating what I mean.

So the specific things I said in the previous post are still true: labels are for me, labels are for you, labels change, labels are not absolute. Labels are useful to communicate along a shared understanding, but it’s still extremely important to me that labels are only about this communication and sharing, and are not utterly accurate, finite, bounded, prescriptive descriptions of me and who I am.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way: I am French, I am Pākehā, a New Zealander, sometimes a kiwi depending on context. I am technically European, but don’t really have it as an identity, and certainly do not feel like an NZ European, whatever that means. I am European in an Europe context, but not in an Aotearoa context.

I am kind of an introvert, but still neither like the word nor the implied dichotomy. I’ll claim solitaire, not the card game (I like French tarot, if you must know), but I prefer avoiding crowds and large social occasions. I’ve tried, I’ve been pushed this way, that way… doesn’t work.

I am gendermeh with boy flavour. I actively dislike “guy” as a gendered marker and as a group noun, but as a general address I’m not bothered. I don’t give a fuck about masculinity, or feminity for that matter. I’m very happy being me, and everything else can go. I am technically non-binary, and will claim that label, but getting increasingly disillusioned with the discourse around it; specifically, I feel that making it a sort of “third gender” is very reductive and misses the entire point. I neither have a strong gender identity, nor care to describe it. To make a programming joke: I am both weakly gendered and statically gendered, but I don’t fit in the type system.

I am cis in that I am not trans. That’s pretty simple. I don’t strongly identify as cis, but I am also not trans, and the least I can do for that community is claim this, in support.

Sexuality-wise, I’ll still claim both bisexuality and pansexuality, leaning towards one or the other depending on context. But I’m not sexual or romantic enough to really identify with any particular label. I’m not ace, and I’m not aro, but I’m not very ro either. I am neither poly nor mono amorous, but I’ll go with poly for lack of anything better.

This is roughly in the order I care about. And that’s pretty much it.