Adventures in Divorce

I always wondered why people who murdered their spouses didn't just get a divorce.... I now understand why

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Location: Nap Town, Indie-anne-ahhhhhh!, United States

No, I'm not a prophetess. Cassandra, according to Greek mythology, spurned the advances of the Greek god Apollo and her gift of prophecy was cursed so that her predictions would never be believed. Such is my life. I tend not to think like most people, which is a gift... but also a curse. So step into my mind, take off your shoes and stay for awhile... you're always welcome, loved ones.

August 18, 2008

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

When you have been seeing/dating/wild rumpus-ing with someone for an appreciable amount of time, there comes a day where eventually the "What are we?/Where is this going?" question will arise. And once you get past the age of 22 are grown, it becomes an increasingly difficult question to answer, even though in theory it should be quite simple.

For a logophile like me, labels are particularly difficult because I believe that words are only as good as the meaning that you ascribe to them. I think perhaps being a lawyer greatly contributes to this view because we define words however we want all the time in the definition sections of legal documents (ex. contracts or statutes). If I draft a document where "Banana" (capitalized.... called a "defined term") means "the small brown dog that appears in the first few minutes of the movie Juno" then that's what Banana means, dammit, not a curved yellow fruit. (or, to use another Juno movie example, her name didn't mean "the city in Alaska", it meant "Zeus' wife, who was really beautiful, but really mean.... like Diana Ross.")

Here is a quote that illustrates what I'm talking about (and that actually appears in the preface to a legal treatise on Hart Scott Rodino antitrust pre-merger notification filings):

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that’s all."

Alice was too puzzled to say anything; so after a minute, Humpty Dumpty began again.

"They’ve a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs: they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!"

"Would you tell me, please," said Alice, "what that means?"

"Now you talk like a reasonable child," said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. "I meant by 'impenetrability' that we’ve had enough of that subject and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life."

"That’s a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

"When I make a word do a lot of work like that, said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

(Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

So what does all this wordsmithery have to do with relationships? I'm talking about the LABELS, i.e. the "defined term", i.e. the term that defines the relationship. Boyfriend/girlfriend, boo-thang (I personally like that one best), lovers, Friends with Benefits, Homie Lover Friend, and so on and so forth. Like Humpty Dumpty says, you can do anything with the adjectives, and isn't that what a label is? What is important is what that label actually MEANS. But if you can put any meaning on a word, or rather the nuances in connotation of a word, what good is that word (i.e. that label) really? And, going back to the first quote I used from Romeo and Juliette, does the label change the nature of what is?

Let me clarify that I have nothing against labels in a relationship in general. I just am personally struggling with the concept because it has been a non-issue for me for the past 15 years, and the rules got a helluva lot more complicated while I was busy getting older. But seriously, though, what "boyfriend/girlfriend" means to one person doesn't necessarily mean the same thing to another person. And the "rights and responsibilities" that come along with those labels are also different for everyone.

If I am honest with myself, though, I will admit that some of this label phobia has to deal with the great enemy of all intimate relationships, and that is fear. I just got out of a marriage where I felt like my Ex was stifling my individuality and crowding my space, constantly criticizing who I am. I've spent the past year spreading my wings and being able to be myself without restriction and it feels GOOD. I don't have to explain or justify or get permission or worry about criticism for anything. And this has NOTHING to do with seeing other people or dating or doing questionable shady shyt. This is about doing ME. I know that issue is much deeper than a label, but it admittedly makes me a little gun shy.

However, I know that labels give a certain level of comfort and security, because it imparts a degree of certainty. I of all people like certainty. Limbo gives me the willies more than labels do. I guess this is just one of those points in life where I need to quit analyzing and just BE, because in the grand scheme of things, it's really not anything to get hung up over. And I also suppose it comes down to communication and making sure we're both on the same page. Because then, what does the label really matter? But because the label doesn't matter, it's ok to go ahead and use one.......because I am master of the word, and that is all.

"Sometimes we have the power to say yes to life. Then Peace enters us and makes us whole." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (quoted in Zen and the Art of Falling in Love by Brenda Shoshanna)

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1 Comments:

Anonymous shelia said...

I guess it goes back to the saying "mean what you say, say what you mean." Rarely do people do that. I think if more folks were honest with others and themselves we could take what is said at face value, but we can't. I go by a person actions more than their words.

August 18, 2008 at 3:22 PM  

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Adventures in Divorce: What's in a name?

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

When you have been seeing/dating/wild rumpus-ing with someone for an appreciable amount of time, there comes a day where eventually the "What are we?/Where is this going?" question will arise. And once you get past the age of 22 are grown, it becomes an increasingly difficult question to answer, even though in theory it should be quite simple.

For a logophile like me, labels are particularly difficult because I believe that words are only as good as the meaning that you ascribe to them. I think perhaps being a lawyer greatly contributes to this view because we define words however we want all the time in the definition sections of legal documents (ex. contracts or statutes). If I draft a document where "Banana" (capitalized.... called a "defined term") means "the small brown dog that appears in the first few minutes of the movie Juno" then that's what Banana means, dammit, not a curved yellow fruit. (or, to use another Juno movie example, her name didn't mean "the city in Alaska", it meant "Zeus' wife, who was really beautiful, but really mean.... like Diana Ross.")

Here is a quote that illustrates what I'm talking about (and that actually appears in the preface to a legal treatise on Hart Scott Rodino antitrust pre-merger notification filings):

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that’s all."

Alice was too puzzled to say anything; so after a minute, Humpty Dumpty began again.

"They’ve a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs: they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!"

"Would you tell me, please," said Alice, "what that means?"

"Now you talk like a reasonable child," said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. "I meant by 'impenetrability' that we’ve had enough of that subject and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life."

"That’s a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

"When I make a word do a lot of work like that, said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

(Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

So what does all this wordsmithery have to do with relationships? I'm talking about the LABELS, i.e. the "defined term", i.e. the term that defines the relationship. Boyfriend/girlfriend, boo-thang (I personally like that one best), lovers, Friends with Benefits, Homie Lover Friend, and so on and so forth. Like Humpty Dumpty says, you can do anything with the adjectives, and isn't that what a label is? What is important is what that label actually MEANS. But if you can put any meaning on a word, or rather the nuances in connotation of a word, what good is that word (i.e. that label) really? And, going back to the first quote I used from Romeo and Juliette, does the label change the nature of what is?

Let me clarify that I have nothing against labels in a relationship in general. I just am personally struggling with the concept because it has been a non-issue for me for the past 15 years, and the rules got a helluva lot more complicated while I was busy getting older. But seriously, though, what "boyfriend/girlfriend" means to one person doesn't necessarily mean the same thing to another person. And the "rights and responsibilities" that come along with those labels are also different for everyone.

If I am honest with myself, though, I will admit that some of this label phobia has to deal with the great enemy of all intimate relationships, and that is fear. I just got out of a marriage where I felt like my Ex was stifling my individuality and crowding my space, constantly criticizing who I am. I've spent the past year spreading my wings and being able to be myself without restriction and it feels GOOD. I don't have to explain or justify or get permission or worry about criticism for anything. And this has NOTHING to do with seeing other people or dating or doing questionable shady shyt. This is about doing ME. I know that issue is much deeper than a label, but it admittedly makes me a little gun shy.

However, I know that labels give a certain level of comfort and security, because it imparts a degree of certainty. I of all people like certainty. Limbo gives me the willies more than labels do. I guess this is just one of those points in life where I need to quit analyzing and just BE, because in the grand scheme of things, it's really not anything to get hung up over. And I also suppose it comes down to communication and making sure we're both on the same page. Because then, what does the label really matter? But because the label doesn't matter, it's ok to go ahead and use one.......because I am master of the word, and that is all.

"Sometimes we have the power to say yes to life. Then Peace enters us and makes us whole." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (quoted in Zen and the Art of Falling in Love by Brenda Shoshanna)

Labels: , , ,