Unlikely Martha
Life Me Soapbox

I Won’t Be Needing That Box

Its that time of year..you know where you start evaluating all that you have accomplished, all that you didn’t, where you went wrong, what you did right, all the while strategizing on your moves for the upcoming year. I am no different and I have been giving much thought to where I am trying to go in 2011. In the process of reflecting, my thoughts ventured to the ideal that society functions way too much on labels. SAHM, WAHM, WOHM, AP, MBA, Greek organization affiliations, single mom, divorcee…and the list goes on and on and on.

While such labels can help define what we do, our accomplishments or what organizations we belong to etc., in my opinion they are never to be misconstrued as defining who we are. Unfortunately the latter seems to be the norm, and whether we choose to admit it or not,  these definitions are often used to generate stereotypes about people before they even open their mouths. These stereotypes can needlessly tear down or undeservedly build up. On more than one occasion I have been met with the “brush off” until answers were given to questions such as what do I do, what does my husband do, where was I educated..blah, blah, blah. You can honestly tell when individuals are being genuine or they are trying to tuck you into a “box”…the box with the bow or the one that is set outside beside the trash can.

Honestly, I’m just sick of the “boxes”. In the new year I am trying to think of creative ways to put off those types of questions, when I feel the wrong intentions are fueling the nosiness. If a person can’t take out the time to truly get to know me, but instead chooses to base their opinions of me on such things I would like to politely tell them to kick rocks in the new year.

*drops mic and steps down off of the soap”box”*

Anybody with me on this or do you differ in your opinion and feel the boxes can be stacked up and used as stepping stones. If you’re rolling with me on this one, what is a polite way to divert these types of questions?

 I’m done…your turn!

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  • Reply
    December 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Love it!!! I completely agree!!! People are so quick to label one another, as well as themselves thinking that these labels define who they are. However they don't, all they do is create a hierarchy of more labels, making some feel a sense of entitlement or superiority, while others feel the complete opposite.

    You summed it up perfectly…those labels define our accomplishments, but that is as far as it goes in my opinion. It definitely does not define who we are a human being.

  • Reply
    December 28, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Rolling with you! I usually smile sweetly and change the subject. Or, upon being asked, "Where did you go to school?" I simply asked, "Why?" and smiled sweetly. There were stunned and laughed nervously. Take me as I am. The "qualifier" questions annoy the hell outta me.

  • Reply
    Lisa Fergus
    December 28, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I'm with you! All we can do is lead my example and not do that to other people. Also, not surround yourself with poeple who do this to you! Hope your new year is amazing!


  • Reply
    AO xoxxo
    December 28, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I am with you on this! I am sick of people making me feel like I have to be in a specific "box". I don't know why we as a society feel that we have to put labels on people. I am def with you on this, these people "can kick rocks" I love your quote!!!!!

  • Reply
    December 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I love your soap box today, thanks for passing the mic to your followers. So, first let me say I am so guilty of "asking" the questions. I have become so use to being asked and asking that I don't even think about it. However, I think folks are (some of them) looking for common ground when they inquire, maybe? So assuming they have a genuine interest in finding out more about you, not to categorize or stereotype, but to bond, than I think the questions are ok! I totally agree that "some" are being nosey in an attempt to impose a more elitist judgement. Its important to determine where the person is coming from, before directing them to the rock pile. Although, I love that quote and will be giving folks that same directive in 2011. I am arguing both sides just for balance. Maybe, we should wear buttons that say: I attended a HBCU, yes I am greek affiliated, single/married/divorced, and well you get what I am saying. It would cut through the crap real early.
    Before I forget, I 100% agree that some folks get an undeserved buildup when they give you a bio of themselves, what looks good on paper ain't always good!

  • Reply
    Sassy Wife
    December 28, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Rolling with you, I hate those questions and tend to shy away from them by smiling or asking them a more relevant question. #Kickrocks

  • Reply
    December 28, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Good post! I honestly struggle with this. I sometimes ask these questions as I'm getting to know someone because it can help me understand who they are. I know that's not ALL of who they are but it does show a little about what is important to them or what is going on in their lives at the moment.

    Reminds me of that Lauryn Hill song, I get out of your boxes! 😉

  • Reply
    December 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I am with you on this but people will continue to judge you on that box. I think the people who really want to get to know you will not need to know what school you go to or what your status is they will find out those things as time goes by. I don't usually ask what school you go to because at the end of the day does it matter your background or does it matter the type of person you have become.

  • Reply
    Help! Mama Remote...
    December 28, 2010 at 11:24 am

    ROTFL @ drops the mic!!!!This is definetly true indeed. This past year has been a year of cleansing of un wanted relationships. Since i'm a reserved person anyway it's not easy for me to get close to people. Instead it was the peolpe you thought had your best interest or would have it and didn't! Geniune relationships are hard to find!!!!!Thankfully people are so good with showing their true colors. I see them shine through! Do ya thang Lady!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Great post Mimi! I love dropping the mic! LOL.
    But seriously, I'm so over the labels. I try to be mindful of how I've been conditioned to lable people and things so I don't pass that down to my kids. Sure, they'll pick that up out in the world, but I try to give them a different perspective. It's easier to stop labeling others once you stop labeling yourself!

  • Reply
    Alicia@ Mommy Delicious
    December 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Ditto! I totally agree. It really bothers me when people constantly ask, "what do you do? what do you do?" UGH. Ask me what I'm interested in, what I like to do in my free time. Ask me about who I am, not what I do. THEN we can talk.

    Great post! And a great way to go into 2011.

  • Reply
    New York State of Mom
    December 30, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    LOL Hilarious!! But I honestly think some people use those "Where did you go to school" "What do you do" questions to see if you have anything basic in common, some are just tryin to get in your business point blank, I'm guilty of some of them 🙁 depending on where I am especially Greek Orgs. but you can't stop there. It's about building relationships and getting to know people I agree

  • Reply
    January 12, 2011 at 3:45 am

    My partner and I really enjoyed reading this blog post, I was just itching to know do you trade featured posts? I am always trying to find someone to make trades with and merely thought I would ask.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Yea, I can’t stand when ppl try to put you in box A or box B. Like what ever happened to the good old days of just getting to know ppl? Are seriously, not going to be my friend if I don’t fall into one of your boxes? I don’t try to put labels on others.

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