Get back in your place!

So… I’m one of those people who want *more* out of life.

Yes.  MORE.  I want *more* !

There.  I said it.

Part of me cringes when I write that.  It feels greedy.  It feels selfish.  It feels ungrateful.  It feels *wrong*.  I feel like the greedy person who wants to return to the buffet table to heap my plate with third and forth servings.  I feel like I need to… apologise, even… for admitting that… (*cringe*)… I want MORE out of life.

See, I was raised in an environment where I was taught that the “good” people… are the people who choose to diminish.   The people who don’t want “more”.  The people who shrink.  The folk who make themselves small and insignificant.  The people who dutifully go about their business, unseen and unheard.  Those who put themselves lastThose who accept (without question) their “lot” in life.

These days I wonder (with much flummoxed and frustrated pondering)… what that even means.

And perhaps you can help me decipher some of this odd jargon.

What… for fuggsakeis this “LOT” in life that we’re supposed to accept and embrace without question??

Is it like some kind of vile caste system?  Is it some kind of classicist allotment?  Some kind of invisible mould that we’re all supposed to fit in… like those pre-marked spaces on the toolshed wall….?

Oooh, blimey! ... that screwdriver shouldn’t be there!  That’s the hammer’s place.  Screwdrivers aren’t allowed in the hammer’s place.  Screwdrivers must be in the screwdriver place.”

  • “She’s a girl!  A girl can’t do that!  That’s boys stuff!  Get BACK in your place!”
  • “You’re from middle-class Benoni!  That’s your place.  That’s what defines you.  Who the hell do you think you are?  You think you’re better than us?  How dare you want something different!  GET BACK in your place!”
  • “You’re a woman.  A wife.  That’s not how good wives behave!  Get BACK in your place!”
  • “You’re a South African!  That’s what defines you.  You think you’re more special than the rest of us?   Get BACK in your place!”
  • “You want to travel the world?  Why can’t you just be a normal person and be grateful for your house in the suburbs?  You should get those silly ideas out of your head and accept your lot in life!”
  • “You want to publish a book and make a movie???  Jeezyou think very highly of yourself, don’t you?  Who do you think you are?  Do you think you’re so special?  Are our middle-class suburbs too “lowly” for you?  You need to be brought down a notch or two.  Get BACK in your place!”

I’ve heard this kind of talk many… many… times over the course of my life.  And, sure, it’s not always directed at me personally.  Often, I’ve heard folk direct this kind of talk at other people…

And it’s usually:

  • People who don’t fit-in…
  • People who look differently… dress differently… laugh differently… raise their kids differently… believe differently… behave differently…
  • People who dream BIG…
  • People who don’t want what everyone else wants…
  • People who shun convention and the status quo…

And I’ve heard all manner of words and phrases used.

“LOT in life” is a popular one.

Others talk about “her place”… ie:  “She needs to know her place!”… or “Somebody needs to put her back in her place!”…

And “station”, “rank” or “position”, ie:  “He’s shooting above his station in life.  He needs to be brought down a notch or two”.

And, I’ve always wondered:  “Brought down from WHERE?”…

Is he *up* somewhere that he doesn’t belong that somebody feels the need to “bring him DOWN a notch or two”…?  And WHY would one feel the need to bring somebody “down” – and worse – feel somehow smugly justified for doing so?

Why would anyone feel justified for deliberately… purposefully… deciding to “bring somebody down a notch or two”….?

I can’t even begin to tell you how revolted I am by the whole idea. 

I can’t even articulate how violently my soul kicks against this noxious idea that we all have pre-determined little “stations”, “places” or “lots” in life… and – by God – if you don’t WANT to stay in your predetermined, demarcated station… and if you want something different… something *more*… something ELSE… and if you determinedly haul yourself out of the confinements… and aim for the “more”ness..  the OTHER’ness… the something-ELSE… (whether you want a different job… or to move to a different town… different church… different country… different community… or if you just want a different LIFE…)

Then, there is – without fail – a cluster of offended people who howl in protest… and demand that you be “brought down a peg or two” because you have “forgotten your station”… and that you need to be “put back in your place”.

Well – today – I’m just gonna call BULLSHIT on the whole ridiculous idea of caste systems, allotments and demarcated “places”.

It’s codswalloppy-rubbish-toxic-slime-oozing-STINKING… festering… hurtful… unnecessary… BULLSHIT!

There is no demarcated “place” for you (or me).  We are ALL (firstly) EQUAL… and we are ALL valuable… and we are ALL beautifully, wonderfully UNIQUE… !!

Dream the BIG dreams, peeps!  Be who you *ARE*… live life on YOUR terms!  Don’t let things like “race”, “gender”, “sexual-identity”, “nationality”, “class”, “culture”, “age”, “size” (and all the other many boxing-mechanisms) LIMIT the way you see YOURself and your OWN potential.

Don’t let the long-faced bullies with the cat-bum mouths try to bring-you-down!  Don’t let the sour pessimists POO all over your beautiful dreams!  Don’t allow people to make you feel *less* than what you are!  You are not *less*… and you have just as much right (as anyone) to aspire to be whoever you want to be.

There *IS* no Rule Book.

There *IS* no One-Size-Fits-All.

There *IS* no one, special “RIGHT” way to do life.

There is enough food at Life’s Buffet for ALL of us.  Enough big dreams for all of us.  Enough POTENTIAL for ALL of us to access.

I truly believe this.

(Even if I am an idealistic artist).

I truly believe that each human is immeasurably valuable… important… EQUAL… and yet… uniquely different to every other human.

Embrace that beautiful uniqueness.  Celebrate that you’re NOT the same as everyone else.  Figure out what you want and where you want to go… and do NOT let anyone “hold you back”… “bring you down”… or try to “put you in your place”.

Lots of love… Hat x

PS:  Oh… and now that I’ve sent back-packs to all the crowdfunding peeps… it’s time to announce that my book, “How Heather got her HAT’ness back” is now available on Amazon – or you can visit my not-anywhere-close-to-being-completed website to find out more.

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