Friday, 24 October 2014

don't label me!

This week's striking mums is about the labels that we give to ourselves, others and that society and the media may contribute to. 

If I was given a sticky label, and could only use 3 words to write on it, I would write, Caroline,  Hard Worker. (I was tempted to write mum, but I'm definitely a person who likes to work hard in every area of my life so hard worker is the most fitting).

I was labelled as clever and 'boffy' up until the age of 16 - I went to normal schools in a not very posh town. I probably was one of the most intelligent people in my year - so their perceptions were right although, this label then dissolved when I went to a different 6th form and University and I realised that I would have to work to be 'clever'.  

16 years after I had that thought, I am sometimes labelled as 'clever' by colleagues and 'intelligent' by doctors. I just realise that my late teens and early twenties were a particularly hard time for me with my family and psychological problems. 

I have always tried to not let my working class, very poor background hold me back - it was a big effort in my teens, but it did help a bit at sixth form and university to not discuss how hard life was for my family, financially. I was desperate to not appear 'poor'. Perhaps, this is why I like to choose branded goods over own brands - nothing too flashy, mind! I'm not rich!

I hate the 'class' labelling system in our society, #middleclassproblems is a Twitter bug bear of mine. Maybe I am middle class (Young me would think that I am posh). The thought that money and the jobs that your parents did affects your status in society really bothers me. Self improvement and striving to be better than my parents has been a huge part of my life, I hope my boys also feel it to some extent. I want them inappreciate what I can provide for them, but I want them to have a drive to succeed and to be happy. 

Being the eldest of 6 children who I helped to bring up marked me out, I took games of 'mummies and babies' seriously at primary school. 'Babies don't say goo-gee-gah-gah' I would insist to my friends. This then went deeper as my self-created 'mini mum' label made me more serious as a child and teen, with more responsibility than I should have had and then I just couldn't relate to my peers. I didn't see it then, but once it was pointed out by a counsellor a few months ago, it changed the way I think of my social skills. 

 I'm proud to be a therapy Radiographer, I'm proud that I have a job that helps people, within the structure of the NHS. I always had a flair for biological based sciences but my Dad has a degree in Physics (and my first degree was in Chemistry). So I don't feel intimidated by the physics aspect of my job. I'm proud because I can use my brain and my caring nature to be able to help lots of people and do my job to the best of my ability. 

What would I like other people to label me if they only had 3 words ? Kind, articulate, good would suit me. (Though Nobel Prize Winner would be nice!)

Kate on thin Ice Striking Mums

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