In her book Witch, Lisa Lister talks about the power in labeling herself for what she is. She notes how her family did everything it could to protect her and them from the persecution they felt they would feel if their secrets of sorcery ever came out. In her life, she decided to own the term witch and feel the power that came with owning her label.
We all wear many labels around our necks. My biggest one of concern was Jewish—based on years where those my tribe were actually persecuted just as Lister’s gypsy ancestors were for daring to be themselves. I struggle wearing religious symbols around my neck, discussing my religion with strangers, or displaying religious items on window sills, and this is 21st century America!
Happily, I haven’t passed most of those same concerns on to my daughters, who seem more confident in their own skins. Not completely enlightened, or just parentally paranoid, I still counsel them to not fly in airplanes with Stars of David around their own necks. That comes from my years growing up during incessant hi—jacks in the sky.
Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells stories of how the word “feminist” is a bad label in her birth country of Nigeria and taunted her during her own formative years. Her 2012 TED talk “We should all be feminists” addresses what it means to be a feminist, but her 2016 interview with David Remnick on the New Yorker radio hour goes deeper into the labels we shun as well as adopt.
I have had trouble adopting and publicly embracing many of my labels. I believe that the freedom that comes from being a Crone may allow us to adopt or dig deeper into our own desired labels including those we may have previously kept hidden. That’s my hope for my own crone years – to find the time, rediscover the desire, and reclaim all that comes with adopting the labels that best describe me. There are many. I hope to be able to wear them all proudly around my neck whenever I so choose.
Explored Resources: https://www.npr.org/podcasts/458929150/the-new-yorker-radio-hour