“Oh, are you a vegetarian?”
“I’m a vegan(paragraph).”
Identification is something we cling to because it is not only useful, but necessary. We default to simple terms to represent complex things. These terms never fully say what we need them to, but they approximate it well enough for basic social interaction.
There are lots of self-identifiers I use or have used: vegan, educator, musician, girl, free culture advocate, crazy, techno-hippie, girlfriend, post modernist, daughter, house mate, Bostonian. These are just a few that have been applied to me in the past 48-hours. The thing is, none of them are really accurate.
I’m not -really- a vegan, I generally eat vegan food more than 90% of the time, but I’m not a vegan. Sometimes I eat eggs. Sometimes I don’t ask. I recently purchased a leather saddle for my bike. I work in education, and I used to teach, but calling me an “educator” seems like a huge misnomer. I develop education content, and not really even from a pedagogical perspective. I don’t even live in Boston! I’ve been in the Boston area for two years now, but my drivers license says Massachusetts, and it’s an easier word that “Somerville transplant.”
In order to recognize the lack of truth in many of these terms I, or others, use surrounding the entity I sometimes think of as “M.” I’ve begun to add the classifier “paragraph.”
“Paragraph,” which in turn needs to be explained, is my current way to try and add a footnote to conversations. My mileage for this term varies. This term is not accurate, and I will be happy to go into more detail, but I am using it for now. Paragraph stands for “there is a paragraph actually explaining what I mean.”