I think that being pigeonholed is one of those things that people universally agree sucks. No one likes being cast into a one-dimensional role (except that one terrible actress amiright?). We strain against the boxes people put us into, we push and pull until we prove that box was never big enough for us in the first place. But what if the people putting you in that box are the people who know you best? The people who love you the most? What if the people pigeonholing you are your family?
Well, speaking from personal experience, it TOTALLY SUCKS. Because at least when strangers pigeonhole me, I can attribute that to not knowing me very well. But my family, my family knows me really well. Which actually might be part of the problem. You see, in my family, I’m pigeonholed as the “emotional/dramatic” one. And I’m pretty sure that like 97% of that classification comes from when I was a pre-teen and yes, intensely and overly emotional. Because of HORMONES y’all. That shit will fuck with you majorly and also being a pre-teen girl is also hard as hell. So yeah, I was emotional. And then I grew up, into an adult and though I still cry at sad movies or during Budweiser commercials (seriously, his horse ran to him…so sweet) I’m in no way defined by my emotions. They no longer dictate my choices and reactions to life. Because, you know, I’m not 13 anymore. I’m 27 going on 28 and I’m married and planning for a family and actually, not particularly dramatic or emotional. In fact, most of my friends would probably classify me as “laid-back” and “chill” because I sort of am. I can take life’s punches and ball-kicks and handle them without public tears and tantrums. I’ve been knocked down loads and have picked myself up after each time. Because I’m strong.
But regardless of everything I just said, regardless of how logical my reasoning is for being a ball of intense emotions at 13 (Again, hormones…) my family still thinks of me as the “emotional” one. Anytime I disagree with them or question the things they’re doing/saying then I’m the one being “emotional” or “dramatic”. No matter how much sense my arguments or statements make, they are eternally dismissed as “emotional”. I can say with a completely tear-free face and steady voice “I think you’re wrong.” and invariably the response is “You’re just being sensitive. You’re so emotional.”
Now tell me, how do you respond to that? How do you bust the hell out of that pigeonhole, when the people putting you into it know you so well but only remember this tiny part of you that is long gone? Because at this point, short of becoming a robot, I’m not sure how to free myself from this pigeonhole.
Have any of you, dear readers, been pigeonholed by people close to you? How do you handle it?