I did my best to raise my son in an ungendered way and since I was a stay at home Mom for the first few years of his life, I had some control over it. He played with both dolls and trucks, he loved to help me bake and he loved to climb trees. He was fearless and he was vulnerable. Both of those seemed apparent on his face the first day of school as we waited outside with all the other parents and children. A teacher came out of the door and called out, “All primary students come here; girls on this side, boys on the other.” The categorizing had begun!
It’s not just gender roles that we get locked into. We seem to like binary separations: If you are spiritual, you can’t be religious or vice versa. If you are an introvert, you can’t be extroverted. If you like order, you can’t be creative. If you love to read, you can’t love visuals. If you like facts and figures, you can’t also like the ‘I wonder’ questions of life that have no hard and fast answers.
While our brains seem hardwired to sort and categorize, we can become aware and interrupt thinking patterns that sort people into hard and fast categories and we can resist being categorized ourselves. Or at least resist being boxed into a space that only holds part of us. It’s only as I have grown older that I let go of either/or thinking and embrace both/and. I am spiritual AND religious. I like the beauty of mathematics and the wonders of expanding universe that call so much of what we think we know into question. I am creative and I am ordered. I love to read and I explore the divine through my viewfinder. I am… I am… I am… I am as multi-faceted as a kaleidoscope!
I sing In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful almost every day, for being life, creativity and breaking out of boxes.
What categories have you been boxed into?