But Why?

My blog went crazy popular two minutes after I started it because I scandalized people by suggesting that the labels they put on themselves were not answers to anything. They are an opportunity to ask questions.

You can still find that ancient post about asexuality where people got rabid at the idea that one could follow up the words “I’m asexual” with “but why?”

To me it’s the most natural thing in the world. 

“I’m not a morning person. But why?”

“I hate networking. But why?”

“I’m gay / not gay. But why?”

“I’m autistic / diabetic / monogamous / cat person / XYZ. BUT. WHY???”

People seem to think that finding a reason why they are the way they are will force them to try to stop being it. But that’s silly. Self-knowledge doesn’t take power away. It gives power. What’s weak and dumb is saying “that’s just how I am” because it’s swapping awareness for narratives and labels created by other people. 

French ↔Spanish 

When people address me in French, I always automatically respond in Spanish. I’ve already freaked out a small army of French speakers here in Quebec. 

Parental Guilt

Parents always feel guilty in public spaces when their children cry, speak loudly, take a long time to do things, make a mess, drop stuff, bump into stuff, etc. 

This guilt is misplaced, however. People react with frustration and annoyance to children who are of the same age they were when they sustained their most lasting traumas. Those who are driven up a wall by a crying infant suffer from traumas of infancy. Those who detest seeing a toddler covered in food and throwing toys around were traumatized as toddlers. People who hate children of all ages experienced long-term abuse or neglect.

In short, don’t worry that your children are causing discomfort. They don’t have that power. The passerby who is cringing with irritation at your toddler would feel the exact same anger if you and your kid were currently on the beach in Australia. 

Psychologically healthy people see your drooling 5-month-old, loudly singing 18-month-old and the question-per-second 3-year-old and feel tenderness and joy. Everybody else should be grateful to your kids for giving them an opportunity to recognize that they need help to address their childhood traumas.