The problem of labels

The problem of labels.

The problem of labels is that it is such a complex and emotional question. Some people agree with them and others do not. But where would you start with labelling a person?

You see, if you think about it, it starts from when a child is a very early age in life. You know what I mean. “Oh, she’s the slow one….he’s the clumsy one….they’re a monster….she always does this wrong….he’s a trouble-maker.” I am sure you have heard these and more throughout your life. But then, what does it do to that child? They become replicas of what they hear people say about them.

Do you really want your child to turn out as a slow, clumsy, or not clever person? I am sure you don’t want them labelled as any of those things. Every child is precious, and are unique in their character and understanding. But then, aren’t we all? Did you know that not only do we all have individual fingerprints, the ridges on the roof of our mouths are all different too? My dentist told me that the other day. How amazing is that?

Again, this problem crops up with health issues. My son is on the autistic spectrum. Now, here is a conundrum in itself. Do you think of him as an autistic child or love him for who he is and think of him by his name, or the “label” that he has? There are so many different variations in opinion as to whether or not your child should be known as autistic before they get to school or not.

I knew from when my son was born, that he was different. I don’t know how I knew it but as a mother, you know. There is an instinct inside you that tells you something is different about your child. So many people told me I didn’t know and that I was wrong. But I knew.

The nursery Johnathan went to when he was 3 years old asked if they could call the educational psychologist about him. We had no objection and it led to him being diagnosed as high functioning autism (basically Asperger’s).

We could have refused for the educational psychologist to be called and that would have meant it was a lot longer before he was diagnosed as autistic. I had mixed feelings about getting the “label.” In some ways it would make life more simple when he was poorly and didn’t know what was wrong. Doctors wouldn’t look at me in surprise when I told them he didn’t know what he was feeling anymore.

On the other hand, did I want him labelled before he went to school, not particularly. Did I want to shout it out to the world? Not on your life. But we had to account for the differences in him when we were out and he didn’t behave like others expected him to. So we had to tell others.

There is a label on him and one I cannot ignore. However, I cannot ignore the illnesses my husband and I suffer. Someone asked me if I referred to him as Asperger’s or an Aspie. I looked at them and said “his name is Johnathan.” We don’t introduce ourselves by our illnesses or disabilities but speak our names.

At the end of the day, labels do not define a person or their ability to function in life. It is their behaviour and manner of living. Yes, that may cause us to have to adjust our ideas of what they can and cannot do, but that’s ok.

Having a son who is on the spectrum really woke me up to the difficulty of labels. We needed that label in some cases (like with medical staff and teachers) because it gave them more understanding of him and where he was coming from.

I love my son dearly and his excellent attributes, bur I realise there are situations and circumstances where it is both important and necessary to use the medical label he has and that’s ok. But he is not the high functioning autistic boy to me. At the end of the day, he is my son, Johnathan and that is all that matters.

Labels can be emotional.

Labels can be emotional
I know you know this truth
Labels have been put on you
Giving you some fear or doubt

But is this the end of you
Can you change from these labels?
Some of these can be altered
If you work to change them

Everyone has an actual name
That they can be called by
A label doesn’t change that
They are just who they are.

Medical terms are different
Helps them work you out
And give you the best treatment
In ways that help you out.

Where do you start?

So where do you start when you don’t know what to do? I have ended up talking to a number of people today because I didn’t know what to write. But you know what? There are many different things you can write about and starting anything is difficult.

I am doing an intuitive piece of artwork at the moment. One of the things I discovered this week is that I didn’t trust what I was thinking and feeling and was asking the client questions and when she answered it was exactly what I had thought originally myself.

One of the things I have realised through my work this last week is how little I have been trusting myself and what I know. As I was pondering that, I realised that so many others distrust themselves as well. Our spirit, soul, mind, gut, intuition – whatever you want to call it, I really don’t mind, but the place you hold the answers to the questions that come up.

Many of us have learnt to distrust our inner knowledge, but actually that is not a good thing. Our inner guide will always lead us right and we need to discover and learn this. It is not necessarily something we come to naturally but that’s ok. There is time, and we can all learn, no matter what age we are.

On the voyage of a journey we call life, there are many things we discover and learn. Trusting ourselves and being confident in our decisions is not easy. I know my son finds it hard to believe that what he thinks is good and right. Some days he will come and ask questions you KNOW he knows the answer to, but he tries to be reassured by an adult telling him what he thinks. What I have learned to do is ask him what he thinks and try to encourage him to believe in himself and what he thinks.

So why do some people trust themselves and what they think? HOW do they have the courage of their convictions while others falter and flounder and look around to others to provide the answers for them? Is it their personality or something that others instil inside them?

Personality has a lot to do with it, I think. Natural confidence and belief in themselves helps them to navigate the world in a seemingly easier way than most people. Although they appear to fly through life untroubled by the storms that confront other people, you really don’t know what they go through. The image they portray is not reflective of the reality inside or even outside.

What I think we all need to remember is that all the answers you need to have are within you. You can start exactly where you are. There is an untapped well of knowledge inside you that can help you in life, no matter what the occasion. Believing and trusting in yourself may not come easy but until you begin to do so, you will end up thinking you are without answers whereas they are only a thought or two away.

Having said all this, I want to say that I am not talking about anything where you need a professional to help you, but it is true for everything else.

So, the question becomes, where are you going to start now that you know you can do it?

Where do I start?

The answer lies within you
It is written in your soul
You know where the answer is
So why not stop and listen?

Anger could build up inside
When the answer seems not there
But if you could just quiet down
You’ll know what you need to do.

It’s just the quiet voice inside
The one you’re not listening to
Or it could be the feeling
The one you have discarded

But take heed of this advice
For it will guide you true
Starting is the place to be
Doing what you know to do.

Do you control it OR does it control you?

Does it control you OR do you control it?

Does it control you or do you control it. Interesting statement. I cannot take credit for the blogpost – it came from a friend of mine who has known me for over 20 years.

Instantly in my mind came a graphic picture of two elements warring against each other, both determined to win but the victory undecided. In fact, it’s the one above this post here. So we chatted about it and I was saying I was going to create it and here it is!

You see, it doesn’t refer to a particular situation or circumstance, it can apply to anything. However, if you took this and used this to make people do just as you wanted, then that would be an inappropriate usage of the power that is within that statement. Control of one human being over another is wrong, no matter WHAT the circumstances.

Pondering is quite illuminating sometimes and I started to ponder on this. How would I be if I chose this in every situation in my life? How would this then impact my family? You see, we are all linked together and could never live on an island alone, without help, without food or without clothing and without drink?

But I am talking of my immediate family. I am going to be shaking the way we live and yes, it involves a number of changes. I know it won’t be easy, but we can get through it together as a family and yes, that’s important because Johnathan is moving up in life and some things need to change now that he is coming up to school age.

But then I thought what do I need to do for myself? I have been talking about self-care but relating that to just being a mindless person watching endless tv…so far removed from what it ACTUALLY is.

Has it got to the stage of controlling me? Not quite yet and it won’t! Sometimes you just need a little push to realise who you are and what you are intended to do on this earth. Your purpose for living hasn’t expired yet – if it had, you wouldn’t be here yourself!

I’ve had some knocks in the last couple of months, but that’s ok. It doesn’t matter if you need to take time to recover from things or the shock of them. Get yourselves out there again like me and go get those goals!

I heard or read a story (I can’t remember where) that a stonemason was sitting by the side of the road hitting a rock. A child was observing each thwack of the tools as the stonemason continued his work. Finally, he said to the stonemason “which thwack of the hammer breaks the stone you are working on?” The stonemason replied that it wasn’t the first one or the last one, or all the ones in between. It was all of them TOGETHER that created the crack which split the stone.” So don’t forget the little steps that got you to where you are.

So my question to you is…..Does it control you or do you control it?

Control

Control, control who has control?
Is it me or is it you?
Life continues as it is
Or changes as it goes.

All the different things in life
Control can be unusual
You didn’t think it mattered
But you did not have control.

There are so many things in life
Where you think you have control
But do you know what happens
When it controls your mind.

Today I want what’s best for you
And give your life some freedom
What you believe will change your life
If only you will live it.

The Summer of Life

The summer of life. What a beautiful statement to be able to make. Just think about it a bit. Summer is beautiful and warm and refreshing. You can sit outside and just soak up the sun’s rays.

So exactly what do we get in this season of life? The vision of summer conjures up images of people on rivers or canals in some kind of boat. Or maybe you’re not that kind of person. Perhaps you like the beach? Or do you go exploring?

Kevin and I love nothing more than to pick a place on the map and tell the navigation to ignore all motorways. We have discovered beautiful countryside this way. And met some lovely people doing different crafting things.

Summer holidays are also part of the equation of it all. Children have a break during this period and they mostly love it! This is a beautiful time where they are able to grow and explore and learn and develop without the constraints of the classroom.

But what about the summer of life? The one within your heart and soul? It is a time where you get to rejoice at the beauty surrounding you as the plants and trees bear fruit. This is not the time for gathering it all up – it needs to grow to full fruition.

My summer of life is wild and exciting. I am looking forward to the full beauty at the end of the summer and the beginning of autumn where we begin to gather the fruit in and store it up for the season that is coming.

You might wonder how I know this is the season of life that I am in. Well, I will tell you. My winter season has been and gone, the leanness of nothing within is past. Spring entered my soul and I can point to the places where small seeds began to sprout. Now I am starting to know and understand things I never did before. I am beginning to see ideas spring from my mind and learn the beauty of colour and words and shape and form.

Are you also in the summer of your life? What can you see emerging from the seeds that were planted during the springtime? Your life is important and precious and I would love to hear from you.