My Catastrophes

My Catastrophe With Labels

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Lately, I’ve realized that I let myself be labeled and categorized by others for what feels like my entire life.  Some things that aren’t included in the description of my label is being vulnerable and open with my emotions.  Due to this, it feels like it’s almost impossible to let people in on how I truly feel.  This happens to many of us, but the description of our labels vary.  We tend to think that when others label us we are simply stuck with the label that we’re given.  However, what we quickly forget is that we are in control.

Stop Forcing Your Labels On Me

Often times we might say, “I’m just not [enter attribute here] type of person” or “it’s just the way I am”.  Yet, these statements are not always true. You’re putting yourself or you’re letting other people put you in a category that you think you can’t escape form.  

For example, I am often categorized as a “certain type” of black person, and I despise it.  People have said things like “you’re the type of black person who talks white” and “you’re black, but you’re not black black”.  By saying this, they mean than I don’t fall into the category that they usually put black people in.  It’s time to stop categorizing people on the basis of skin color.  This is one of the many reasons why black people are blamed for crimes they did not commit, yet must suffer the consequences regardless. 

Schemas Are Not An Excuse

According to Verywellmind a schema “is a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information”.  In other words, your brain is using shortcuts to help you understand a bunch of information (I’m putting this psychology major to use y’all).  This can be both detrimental and beneficial to our lives and the lives of others.  Beneficial, because we can interpret and understand information quicker.  Detrimental, because if we have a negative experience with the information that we’re learning, we will connect that negative experience with things or people associated with the information.

The real problem, is that when people have this overgeneralized schema in their heads, they pass it on to everyone around them. Hence why black men in hoodies are always considered dangerous, or why black women are always considered to be angry.  Next thing you know, everyone believes a tragic overgeneralized lie, that can put people’s lives at stake.  Be that as it may, a schema is not an excuse for the relentless racism that happens in this country.  It is up to us to do the extra work and fact check our resources (like your racist grandparents), because people’s lives are at stake.

You Are Too Versatile to Fit Into One Category.

Solange said “I can not be a singular expression of myself”, in her song “Can I Hold the Mic”.  She’s right, none of us are just one being, we’re multifaceted.  We only become a singular expression when we allow ourselves and others to label us as such.  We need to accept that it is okay to be made up of multiple factors and attributes.  It’s actually commendable.  

Breaking out of categories that you were forcefully put into can be tuff, especially when no one wants to take you seriously.  Some will only see you in the way that they want to see you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You will unnecessarily exhaust yourself if you are constantly trying to prove what you are not.  We are fluid creatures that are constantly changing.  There is no reason to keep yourself stuffed in a box that was categorized and labeled by someone other than yourself.  You are so much more than that.

My CATASTROPHE With Pressure

The fact that I’m feeling under pressure to write a blog post about pressure is pretty telling of this Catastrophe.  I want to write about this because I think we can all relate to the pressure we force onto ourselves and the pressure that society shoves down our throats.  Before this quarantine I realized that I was drowning in pressure, and I can only say that because now I am breathing freely and without worry.  There are many times that pressure can feel like it’s suppressing you and all of the amazing things that you’re capable of.  Looking back I realized that I was making my life harder because of factors I could not control.  Let’s elaborate shall we…

I’m the type of person to put lots of personal pressure on myself, and on top of that (although I know I shouldn’t) I let societal and peer pressure get to me as well.  Pressure hits me from all directions and for a long time I thought there would be no escape from it.  Living a life where you’re constantly straining to get by, despite the pressure that you feel, is not living at all.  It brings on unnecessary anxiety, and it will always have you feeling like you can not produce good work unless you are under pressure.

Being a black women has made me feel like pressure is just something comes with being born black and a women.  Society expects you to fail so you have to work twice as hard (pressure), you expect yourself to triumph despite all the obstacles the world puts in your way (pressure), and the people that surround you want to keep you where they want you (more and more unnecessary pressure).  Not to mention the daily negative thoughts you have about yourself and the lack of progress you’ve been making despite whatever troubling circumstances your in.  You’ve based this “lack of progress”on an imaginary timeline that has more unrealistic expectations.  These are thoughts that used to go through my head everyday.  Can you relate?

All of this forces me to carry so much tension and stress, and what seems like the only way out is to keep moving forward.  Eventually it’ll get better right? Negative, moving forward without addressing all this pressure and expectations keeps you in the vicious cycle. Which causes you to hate yourself more and more because you didn’t work well enough under pressure by your standards.  

The only way out is to quite literally to just stop.  Stop having expectations, stop giving into the pressure, and stop with the self loathing.  But I will admit that this is a beyond difficult thing to do unless you have amazing discipline or you’re literally forced to stop.  This is because life goes on whether we’re pressured or not.  It goes on and it doesn’t care how you feel.  It doesn’t care if you hate yourself because you can’t reach your unrealistic expectations… it just keeps going.  So in turn, you feel like you need to keep going.  But life has stopped for most of us because of COVID-19, and it was a blessing in disguise for me because it released me.  I’m not too ignorant to say that the virus will have the same effect on everyone.  People are dying, losing jobs and it feels like we’ll never be allowed outside again. I just hope my catastrophe was the sign you needed to break free of whatever you need to break free from.