Thursday, February 18, 2010

I am not a can of soup


Today I'm struggling with finding my voice. I feel fear at speaking up and voicing my true thoughts and opinions. I fear being judged and ridiculed for having an opinion as for too long I lived in a family system that discouraged any form of autonomy. Yet - I am choosing today to not accept this as my story any longer.

For too long I wore the labels that others gave me; at the expense of developing any sense of self or feeling of control over my life or life choices.

As a small child one label I wore was "brat"; others were stupid, selfish, idiot. In time more labels were added to the list like whore and slut (thanks dad).

When I was married "bitch" was added to the list.

And when I got away from the violence in my marriage I became a "victim".

When I entered the mental health system - a whole but injured person - I was given the label "mentally ill", "addict" and "alcoholic" to wear along with the sub-labels of "depressed", "bi polar", "dysthymic", "paranoid", "psychotic" among others.

And I wore each and every one of these labels very, very well. I carried the shame and believed that I was "less than", that I was broken beyond repair.

And today I am speaking up to say - I am not a label.

I am. Period.

I exist and I have every right to exist, to breath, to experience a world and a life that knows no boundaries, to decide what kind of person I will be, what kind of future that I will live.

Today - I write my own story and continue to shed the labels that in the past have left me feeling helpless to improve my lot in life and hopeless that I even could have a life of my own choosing.

Today - if I was to wear a label I will choose it. And today I would choose to "label" myself as curious, intelligent, caring, wonderful, kind, considerate, empowered, brave and courageous....

Today - I am and I am free.


Anonymous said...

Your post has reminded me of how much I've had to deal with issues around labels - ones given to me and ones that I have chosen to take.

I've had to deal with different labels but the issuses are the same.

I've written about it here: I-dentity

Susan said...

Thank you, Mike for sharing that here. Labels can be so painfully limiting until we become aware that we have the power to cast them off and become who we choose to be.

I read your post - it is very insightful and a wonderful expression of the strength you have shown in your journey. Thank you again for sharing it with me.

megan said...


At first I loved the image, and then I LOVED the post. Sending you tons of love and energy to help you make this point a springboard.

I remember hearing about, and then implementing, a mental image of building an altar or putting a stake in the ground and declaring: I won't be going past here again. Like a visual reminder that this is life changing moment... I hope this is one for those for you too!


p.s. If you don't mind and have the time, could you swing by this link and take my survey for me, I'm really in need of some input...

Susan said...

Megan; thanks much for dropping by and your encouraging words! I like the idea of a visualization or a ritual to mark those important points of "aha's". And to be honest it has taken some time to find my voice and feel safe enough to write from there...but it has been the friends and support I have found in the "clouds" that have made this part of my journey so excitingly wonderful and productive!

And course I'll stop by...:)

Be blessed!