Everyone wants to be original. We love to think that there is something unique and maybe a little edgy about us – something special that others look at and are encouraged or inspired by. So we try to move away, sometimes, from the crowd, reassuring ourselves that our way holds something that others are missing out on. We embrace those little differences that make us who and what we are. But why is it that no sooner than having declared ourselves as being a little bit different to the ‘norm’, we seek another label and another group to attach ourselves to? Are we afraid of originality? Do we really need the validation that others recognise and value what we have, and can only have that by finding others who have similar interests or lifestyles?
I feel that this is true for a lot of the labels in society today. The world seems desperate to categorise us so that sense can be made of what we see. In a way, we seem to reject that by not feeling that we fit a certain label, but at the same time seek to re-categorise ourselves as quickly as we have rejected the former tag. A good example of this is sexuality. I run our LGBT group at school. The purpose of this group is to make our school more LGBT friendly – we are currently working towards a charter award which will let others know we have achieved a certain standard. One of the main goals, really, is to ensure that our school is as inclusive of LGBT students as it is of whose who are not. My hope was that we would have as many students involved in the group as possible, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. As was probably predictable, most of those actually attending did identify as being something other than ‘straight’. Well, one of the first things the students wanted to do was to put posters up around the school to cover all the different definitions of gender identity and sexuality. There was also a heated debate about what flag we bought for the room – rainbow seemed the logical choice to me as a heterosexual, female in her 40s! (missy the married, monogamous, kinky, lifestyle submissive in a 24/7 power exchange had been left behind for obvious reasons). I made the point that surely we wanted to move away from the need to label and categorise but they felt that this was important to them. After further discussion it transpired that the time they had spent wondering about what was ‘different’ or ‘wrong’ about them had played such a big part in their lives, that to finally ‘know who and what they were’ was a relief and something they wanted to shout about.
I guess that after I thought about it like that I could see the logic. As someone who thought that I was ‘a freak’, ‘a deviant’, or just plain weird for the things that I wanted to try, I could sort of see the point. Having come to the realisation that I was a submissive, I wanted nothing more than to find others who identified in the same way so that I could share my thoughts and feelings with them and feel some understanding and normality about what it was I wanted to do (and latterly did). Now I am here, I find lots of people who fall under the same banner of ‘submissive’ or ‘D/s’, but they all have their own version of what that means and are at often at pains to explain that. I do think that most of us seem to be open minded, not prescriptive, and are not out to condemn or judge others. Certainly I have been lucky that has been my experience so far. But equally there are plenty of us who have been made to feel, by others in the same lifestyle, that there is one true way to be or that there is a magic formula to follow. Blog-land seems to be a safe(ish) place for those who have felt that they did not completely fit into one community, only to be given that feeling again by a second and even a third, until they finally arrive here where they feel they can actually be who they really want to be.
So perhaps this is the home of originality. We are still sort of seeking approval, or at the very least understanding, but it seems to be a more welcoming and less judgemental environment than many. So as we continue to categorise and tag our originality in the hope of attracting other like-minded individuals, I think that this is just human nature. We need to be understood and recognised for being original and unique but also we need acceptance and sometimes a label, even a loose one, helps us to take that step and say, “Hello. This is who I am.” (but please let me know that you like me!)