The gist of the matter.
By Sue Langenberg
It is no wonder that so many of us have identity crises in life. In the span of one day we can be identified as motorists, shoppers and homeowners with a few more accusations thrown in like egoists, materialists or artists. A good day would be a lottery winner and a bad day would be flu sufferer.
There is never just a plain old person who has a name and a life with fully-realized and respectable thoughts; just an “ist” or an “er,” clean and simple, faceless and all is well. I guess that it has something to do with our need to organize the entire population of the world into convenient boxes.
I had a friend who put everyone in boxes. Everyone was a “they” and “they” were all alike. That would include women, French, Chinese, and throw in all those English who can’t cook. Had he ever been to these places where “they” were all alike? No, he had never been away from his own box in the Midwest, but he just knew that “they” were out there. About women, everyone knows “they” are all alike.
About labels, I dare say that many of us set ourselves up to search for an identity long ago. It begins about the time that we toddlers test our parents when our first word is “no.” We have graduated into our first label with all the other “terrible two’s” that are “all alike.” About the time that my teenage zits erupted and parents doled out too many rules, I searched at length for a distinct sense of self that no one else in the whole world would share. It would not be confused with a rebellious teenager or an unpleasant flunk-ette.
My first endeavor was that I would invent something to change the world and be lauded to win a Nobel Peace Prize. But then I suddenly remembered that I had no creative ideas. Back to being a regular teenager flunk-ette. Next was the inspiration that I would pen great and grand literature. But then the teacher wouldn’t let me get through a sentence without red marks. Still a flunk-ette.
Then I considered being a top runway model, but the zits, the zits. Everywhere I turned, I just couldn’t get out of my label.
So we grow up as a stereotypical thing just like everyone else. All college students must be partiers, wives are likely standing at the stove, grandmothers are sweet and kindly, and all jolly people are probably fat.
I decided long ago that I would never be accused of being labeled anything normal, still searching for that all distinctive identity. Not that my life has become lackluster or anything, but I spent the morning as a certified pajama-er. That was at the same time that I was an accomplished coffee-er. Not to be confused with an ordinary couch-er, I spent the afternoon as a professional worry-er that things were not getting done in my house. But I refuse, of course, to be a regular scrub-a-dub-dub-er because that would be too close to a regular identity of the females who are “all alike.”
At least I have gotten more realistic since the days of being a world changer or classic author. I am no longer a zit-er or flunk-ette.
There are still identity hazards to avoid in life, however. I am trying to avoid being a senior citizen who frumps around and sits in a rocking chair, or a retiree with gray hair and arthritis. There is also the hazard of being a multiple chin-er and official complainer about what body parts are falling.