Last night while we were out to dinner I noticed a number of teens at another table. Every one of them had on something that touted a designer. Labels. Every shirt had a label on the outside. It was important for people to know that they could afford designer clothes.
Discreet is no longer a word. (In so many ways.) Now everyone wants you to know that they have something special. It is not just teens. Think about all the expensive purses that some women long for. Even some shoes have initials on the outside letting the public know that you can afford them. People sell knock-offs and they are bought by those longing to be able to afford them. It is lusting after prestige.
We didn’t end up that way of our own accord. When I was young you would never be caught wearing something with the label on the outside. It was considered gauche. Gradually more logos appeared on things, crocodiles and polo players. From there it was an easy jump to selling things that announced how expensive they were. Advertising helped to lure us into the idea.
Now almost everything has a label you can see. We want everyone to know the value. We do the same thing to people. We give them labels. Some are simple and based on appearance…thin, fat, old, young. These labels know nothing about the person. If asked to describe someone we would use them.
Other labels are not so easy…stupid, crazy, not right. These have to come from some further knowledge of a person. And yet, the person is not really known. It is a label used to put someone in their place. It is a label to make “us” feel better about ourselves. It is a label to create “us and them.” It is a wrong and biased label.
Labels can be used for many reasons. Some carry little weight and others can be devastating. We really don’t know what is on the inside. That shirt with the designer label can be poorly made when you look at the inside. The plain shirt may be perfectly put together if you choose to look at more than the outside.
Be careful of labels. They do not show the whole story. Be willing to look past the label to what is inside.
In a previous post I mentioned the first car I ever had. My father bought it and I’m sure it must have been a bargain. Just having a car was a thrill…I didn’t care what kind of car. For me any car was a plus.
Fortunately I was young enough (?16,17?) that the problems the car had were like an adventure to me. The car was a Willys Jeepster. It was not new and had some interesting challenges. It would not go over 50 mph unless you were going down a long hill.The seats were bolted to the floor so there was no adjusting them to reach the clutch and change the gears. I used a pillow to reach. There was a starter button in the floor (how many people ever heard of such a thing?). It was a convertible…you pulled the top up and down. It did not have windows…only side curtains. ?Isinglass? Before plastic. (Now you are getting how old I am.) We lived in northern Virginia and it was cold in the winter. There was no heat. My friends and I didn’t care a jot. We had transportation! In the winter we bundled up and sometimes rode with the top down when it was snowing.
The car’s idiosyncrasies gave us an opportunity to meet people. For a while the starter button in the floor did not reach something called the “starter connector” in the engine compartment. There were two options for starting the car. You either had an available person to put a piece of metal between where the starter button was supposed to connect to the starter connector so that it would reach or we pushed the car. Old cars started easily by someone pushing and someone popping the clutch. If we parked the car when in town we usually searched for an end spot so we could jump start the car if needed. We parked on hills when we could as just drifting down a hill would give us enough motion to start the car. We would also get help from people who stopped to help us. We met lots of boys this way.
Once, in heavy traffic, I stopped for a red light. I didn’t realize that when stopping I pulled up on the steering wheel…..it came off in my hand. With great aplomb I pushed it back on and held it that way until getting off the road. There was a bolt that held it on and we managed to fix it.
The car met it’s final demise while we were in downtown Alexandria. We began seeing smoke coming from the front of the car and pulled into the nearest filling station. It was not the radiator but all the wiring in the front was merrily in flames. The station attendant raced out with a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. My father retrieved us and the car went “where the lost things go.”
This was life in a different era. It was not dangerous for young girls to wander around town and meet strangers. Most roads had speed limits of 50 mph or less. Looking back it seems it was a kinder era. Maybe not…I may have just imagined it that way. I wish it were so now.
I was talking with someone today about words. Language changes over time. So many words that were common when I was young are no longer used. So many new words are out there.
There are words that I have to stop and think about before using. These are some of the ones that can be confusing.
affect to change or make a difference to a result;
effect to bring about a result
born having started life
desert a waterless, empty area; to abandon someone
dessert the sweet course of a meal
practice the use of an idea or method; the work or business of a doctor, dentist,
practise to do something repeatedly to gain skill; to do something regularly
From Oxford Dictionaries
In writing myself and reading others I have noticed that we can get these wrong. Affect and effect are particularly difficult. Usually, affect is a verb and effect is a noun, and they’re used when talking about the results or consequences of particular actions.
The difference between affect and effect is so slippery that people have started using “impact” as a verb instead. Don’t be one of them! Another trick is to remember that affect comes first alphabetically, and an action (to affect) has to occur before you can have a result (an effect) from FluentU.
So affect is something we do and effect is what happens after we do it.
From what I have seen no one gets practise and practice. Word Press thinks that the former is not a word. I had to add it to my dictionary.
There is a long list on the Oxford site. What words bug you?
We spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others. And yet, I am not someone else….I am me. I can’t expect to be exactly like another. I can’t expect another to be like me. We are each unique. It is important for us to realize this and not make comparisons. Comparisons can make me feel less than. That is not a good feeling. We each have to learn to accept ourselves and only work on becoming the best ME I can be.
This poem about comparisons was written a while ago.
Taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life. —Dalai Lama
Christmas is about giving. It is not about trying to give the most expensive gift. It is about giving the things that warm the heart. We have become so conscious of labels. Is that from Marc Jacobs or Coach? We even have many things with the labels on the outside so we can flaunt how expensive something is. When I was growing up we wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a label on the outside of something. It is amazing how things have changed.
This kind of thinking makes us feel stingy if we don’t or can’t give something expensive. Some of the best things I have been given were of little or no cost. I have a small angel sitting by my sink. It holds my rings when I take them off. My mother gave this to me and I remember her when I use it. I doubt it cost more than $1.00. It was in my stocking one Christmas. A forever gift.
The gift of time is one of the most amazing gifts we can give… visiting a friend who is sick, transporting someone who just needs a ride. These are gifts that bring joy to others and to us.
We have lost the pleasure of giving something hand made. We can’t seem to grasp that the hours taken to make a gift are also a gift of time. When I knit or crochet a gift I think about that person while making it. Love is put into each stitch. It brings me joy to do this and I hope that it brings love to the person receiving it.
Those who feed the homeless or collect items for them are giving a gift of themselves along with the food and clothing. These gifts bring joy to all.
This season remember the joy of giving. The cost matters not. It is the love in the gift.
I have never considered myself a feminist. At least not in the sense of Gloria Steinham (sp?) and others of that era. My father always told me that I could do anything if I worked at it. When I was younger it never occurred to me that there were people who felt that women should not leave the roles of the past. I spent 20 years as an Army Wife and never encountered that kind of prejudice there. I suppose I was out of the ordinary world. It was a shock to me when we left that world to discover (sorry, but especially men) who saw me out of my place… people who tried to fit me into the box they envisioned. Someone once asked my husband if he couldn’t keep his wife in her place. He replied he had spent all his time encouraging me. This was in the 1970’s.
The women’s movement in the 60’s denigrated the role that I was living. I resented that. I never felt my role as wife and mother was lacking. I read widely, volunteered in social work and other areas and had a full and rewarding life. It made sense to me that women who were in the work world should receive proper compensation on an equal footing with men. I knew the inequalities should be removed but I expected there to be room for each of us to find our own path and fulfill ourselves as we saw fit. That was not the plan of most of the early feminists.
Later my own role changed as my children grew and I chose to become a nurse. (still a feminine role but also changing.) I had a full and enriching career of more than 30 years.
It is gratifying to see things are better in some ways. I think that women who raise children have more respect than in the 60’s. The downside of this change is that it has played a role in changing families drastically. Most children now grow up with both parents working. This is hard for the whole family. Everyone is juggling time spent in different roles. Changes in the economic climate have made this the norm.
The other side of this is the role of men. It has been a difficult adjustment for men whose roles have also changed. With children growing up in the 60’s and 70’s it seemed as if boys were showing signs of pressure in school. They were not automatically assumed to be the best at math and science. The competition with girls redefined their roles. More girls were now heading for careers in what was male dominated areas. Boys in high school and college seemed to be struggling more than in the past.
The whole era was a shake up of culture and a difficult time for both sexes. I can see some of that leveling out. There are still problems but being able to look at things from my viewpoint I can see positive changes. We will continue to struggle with changing mindsets and coming to terms with injustices but things are better. Some of that will disappear as generations change. Let’s hope we keep moving toward the good things and people are free to choose their roles without bias.