'We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another' - Luciano De Crescenzo (an Italian writer, actor and director)
I read this quote a while back, and believed that it talked about two people in love, and the connection that is created when they recognize the other as the one and only soulmate. Thus two wings becoming Universal Magic.
But now I see that it can also apply to men and women in general.
Have you ever noticed how we use the differences between the two sexes to describe or emphasize how we basically will never understand each other completely?
And commercials use this regularly.
According to Heineken, women only love clothes and shoes, and men, well, love beer:
If you believe commercials, men and women are defined by their primitive urges, (out of date) notions of what make them tick, and a weird competition between them.
According to this world, we can be categorized, tagged and boxed.
There is a huge amount of people who dislike being categorized, but the strange thing is: we continue to participate by our own (lack of) actions.
Not so long ago, but still a lifetime away, I worked as a secretary at a large notary's office. Part of my job was to instruct and supervise secretaries who just joined the firm.
Secretaries came and went. And so did the talks we had.
During these brief or sometimes not so brief encounters, you try to connect. In between work, during lunches, there was small talk.
Where are you from?
How long have you been working here?
Are you married?
Do you have kids?
Basic, harmless chitchat.
'No, I don't have kids,' I would respond to the last question.
'Oh? How old are you? ' (This usually came from older women.)
'Oh, you still have time.'
'Well, I suppose. But I don't want kids.'
'Why is that? Did something happen?'
And there it was: the shift from small talk to invasion of privacy.
Still, I answered politely: 'No, no reason - I just don't feel the need to.'
It could evolve in mild discussions, wondering why's, or acqward silences.
You were (going to be) boxed and tagged.
Whenever there is no understanding, a barrier is build. Unconsciously. And sometimes consciously.
I have felt for a long time that I needed to defend my choices. Publicly.
My choices are not your choices. But nevertheless, those choices should be logical.
You find someone. You fall in love. You decide to live together. Get married. Buy a house. Make a living. And then... you have a family.
But if you don't, then what?
Boxed and tagged, ladies and gentlemen.
'Don't you think it's strange that they don't have kids?'
I came to recognize the line of questions, but could do nothing to prevend it.
Maybe it is because of these experiences that I soon decided I didn't want to box and tag people based on their appearances, beliefs, and/or choices.
It is never black or white.
Or like Jimmy Carter said:
'We become not a melting pot
but a beautiful mosaic
Different is good. It gives the world colour.
A while back I was studying Creative Writing. One assignment was to write a Science Fiction/Fantasy story. I chose (or rather: it chose me) the topic "Perfection".
The story takes place in a future where everyone's perfect. We are all beautiful; good looking. We all look alike (there are a few variations), and scars don't exist. The main character, Jamie, is fascinated by the past. A past where we don't look the same, where you could get scarred in many ways. Basically, the present. Jamie has gotten hold of a picture book of life "back then". This life, where people differed from each other, has a huge attraction on her: scars and wrinkles are beautiful. Something that her friend can't understand. What is beautiful about such a life?
Boxed and tagged.
Back to today. You're supposed to fit in. Or rather, to not stand out.
If red is the fashion statement of today, wear red!
If your parents want you to embrace a certain belief, you better do it!
If people believe you're average, be average!
It all goes back to our adolescent life:
'Do you have a boyfriend yet?' grandma continued to ask me while I was growing up. Until finally, at the age of 17, I had one. No matter who he was, or if having a boyfriend made me happy: she could put me in the box "normal behaviour for a teenager".
I'm not blaming my grandma, she only wanted a normal, happy granddaughter.
Lateron, when we had our talks about life, and my choices, she did understand and/or accept them. But by then, I was already "normal". Happily married, but with liberal convictions. Which was an acceptable mix, I guess.
How many children don't do well in school or end up choosing a profession they don't like, just because there is no place for their real passion or because their (real) talent isn't recognized in school?
Boxed and tagged.
But you know what? 'If we keep our focus too tight, we miss the rest of the world swirling around us.' - quote from "The Element. How finding your passion changes everything" by Ken Robinson.
Dare to be different. Dare to change your mind. Dare to follow your path.
I believe that emphasizing the differences between people, and more specifically between men and women, is creating an obstacle to live life to the fullest.
For a long time now I have been witnessing commercials, and other forms of media, where we (continue to) seperate the men from the women. And to be honest, it really annoys me.
McDonalds' promoting the burger for REAL men?
Beer for MEN?
Washing powder and such, still presented by REAL (?) women?
Specific deodorant to attract the other species?
And then, we have chick lit, but have you ever heard of dude lit?
Let's face it: we are so busy dividing the men from the women, that we don't see what's special about us, and what we have in common. What we should embrace.
Hell, I'm not saying we should turn men into women, or women into men, but here's a thought -
what if ... we would just appreciate what/who we are: a beautiful individual
what if ... we would just be grateful for each other
what if ... we would start creating the life we want for ourselves.
And stop creating boxes. With words (opinions) or enforced choices (expectations).
Just by being creative. And stepping out of the box.