Screw Pigeonholing

Hi and welcome to Chick Swagger! We’re glad you’re here!

I was going to write about our purpose, who we are, yada, yada, but that’s what the other pages are for. Instead, let’s dive right into the mojo and get chatty about pigeonholing.

Pigeonholing is a term used to describe processes that attempt to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories — usually, mutually exclusive ones (Wikipedia).

In other words: labeling.

And of course, labeling often lends itself to stereotyping based on any number of things including: race, religion, personality, appearance, sexual orientation, habits, socio-economic status…You get the idea.

In high school I was one of the “goodie two shoes.” No one ever said it to my face (except my brother – he was joking, but not really), but I felt the stigma (read: exclusion) all the same. Yes, I stayed away from alcohol and drugs. Yes, I got good grades. Yes, I followed curfew and didn’t give my parents too many gray hairs. But that doesn’t mean you should automatically assume you know everything about me forever and ever, Amen.

This holds true for each and every one of us. We are the sum of our parts – all of our parts – even the stuff we keep hidden for fear of rejection or judgment. We are more than just one tired label. One worn-out cliché.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed high school. But looking back, I can see how that label took on a force of its own becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. Yet the harder I tried to be perfect or make things perfect, the more I lost myself. The more I splintered.

It took me two lonely, long-term relationships and an eating disorder to realize I’d had enough. It was too hard – too hard – to cram myself into that one tiny label any longer.

So I worked more diligently than I ever had. Inside myself. A process of self-discovery. Self-acceptance. And I finally shattered that fucking label.

Today I’m okay with the polar-opposite slivers of my personality. Most days anyway. I’m light and dark. Good and bad. An extrovert who’s sometimes introverted. I’m a freaking rhubarb, man, with an edible stem and poisonous leaves. I’m the girl who gets tipsy after one drink who loves shooting guns while wearing pink, swearing like a sailor and giggling like a schoolgirl after her first date.

Screw pigeonholing. Be a paradox!

We are — all of us — un-categorical, changeable (Did you know some species of fish actually change from male to female during their life cycle? Now that’s changeable.) and the product of our thoughts.

So think about who you are, who you want to be, and what it’s gonna take to let that shine.

Be you. All shades of you.

Be a paradox. You’ll never regret it.

Do you ever feel pigeonholed? How have you shattered labels in your life?



  1. I found it! Finally! I like being a paradox, it’s fun, it’s liberating, it’s what I need in my life. Other than that I’d go crazy. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you found yourself!

    • Yeah!! You know what’s cool, Lynn? Anyone can *tell* you are you. The liberated you. It shines though, and it’s a beautiful thing. Thanks so much for joining us today! 🙂

  2. Really love the title of your blog. Caught my eye right away. Also the pigeonholing topic. I, too, was one of the good girls.

    In addition to personal pigeonholing, there’s also writing pigeonholing as in the Big 6 writers are the only real authors. All the rest haven’t quite made it yet. Bull hockey. IMO, if it’s a book, it’s a book, e- or print.

    Really like your blog.

    • Yes, writing pigeonholing – so, so true. Pigeonholing can apply to any areas of our lives, and it’s dangerous and unfair in any aspect. My only New Years’ Resolution for 2012 was to be less judgmental. It’s amazing how tiny little judgments creep into our thinking all day long. Again, it’s just being mindful about what we actually think about. Thanks for your support, Judi! 🙂

  3. Wasn’t known as a goodie two shoes in school. I think they said I’d most likely join a biker gang. Don’t asked. I turned into a goodie two shoes later. It’s time to break away from that though since people seems to take advantage of me now.

    • Oh, but I *have* to ask, Jerri! LOL. The bad girl gone good is so interesting. 🙂 I guess the thing is…be who you need to be when you need to be that way… on your own terms. It’s a lifetime process isn’t it? Lovin’ to see your face around here again. 🙂

      • You’d have to know the school I went to, Misty. Population of Ceylon 562. We had the largest class in the history of the school. 32 students. I’d ride to school with my best friend on a Honda motorcycle. Biker Gang–given to us by those goodie two shoes. ; – )

        • LOL. I grew up in a small town too, but my husband didn’t. We’ve compared stories, and they are two different worlds in many ways. Do you still ride? I’d love to get a motorcycle. I’d buy a hot pink leather jacket and feel like such a bass ass. Even as I drove the speed limit. LOL

  4. Jo-Ann Carson says:

    Great post. I particularly liked your line, “slivers of my personality” and your image of a “freaking rhubarb”. I also like your title and the feel of the blog. Congrats and good luck. I’m coming back to read more.

  5. Misty, I know all too well of what you speak. I too was pigeon holed in school. I wish I could say I actually enjoyed my time in High School, but I cannot. Don’t get me wrong, there were times that were enjoyable, but overall the experience was not a good one for me. I think there are many people out there who have NO CLUE what it is like to be EXILED in the midst of an entire population! What it is like to develop, or attempt to develop friendships/relationships with people, only to have them abruptly ended when the mass populace sees it, or learns of it, and begins to apply pressure to the person you have created a friendship with to the point that they choose to TERMINATE that friendship in order to save themselves the ridicule of daily life in the school populace. I was not cool, not a jock, not a drinker, smoker, drugger, or other group member. I was without a doubt a LONER, not out of choice, because I am by nature an outgoing person. I love to laugh, and to make others laugh. I love to be in a position to help others out. In adulthood, I have placed myself in position to be able to do all of that. I owe WHO I am today, to WHAT I suffered growing up. That said, it does not make any of the bad memories any better! There are regrets that I have that I will NEVER be able to fix. Do you remember your proms for instance? I do…..ran ran the spotlight during the processions of couples, because there was no one willing to take the chance of facing the ridicule in order to go to a prom with me. There have been serious DARK times that I managed to survive back then, but I can tell you that even 25, (almost) years later the memories of those dark times have not lightened up even 1 single Lumen.

    • Lonely, lonely, lonely. I am so sorry for your experience, Steve. On one level, I know how you can be surrounded by people yet still feel so alone. I experienced two relationships like that. Basically around 10 years of my life. The difference now is, we have broken away from that. We have scars, but we’ve grown and we’re so much better because of it. We’ll never make the same mistakes (well, yours wasn’t a mistake–mine certainly was), and we’ll make damn sure to help those around us navigate those soul-sucking waters, right? Particularly our kids.

      I’m so glad to know you on Facebook. I’ve long appreciated your wit, you encouragement, and your life observations. Thanks for sharing and I hope to see you around the blog again! 🙂

  6. I love how people take one look at me and just KNOW they have me figured out. Imagine the facial expressions when people THINK they are talking to a mild mannered pushover. I actually remember trying to conform to this impression for awhile. Oh but when they discover the foul-mouthed, opinionated, ‘don’t think you can say any kind of shit to me’ Tigress … well, let’s just say that they think carefully before judging, “pigeonholing” the next person.

    The new blog looks great! Good luck with it.

    • Hells yeah, go get-em, Tigress! That’s what I’m talking about. When I was at Citizen’s Police Academy we target practiced with Glocks, and I outshot the other participants. The looks on our gun instructors’ faces were awesome. They couldn’t believe the girl who’d cried during the presentation on sex crimes had shot as well as I did. PARADOX, baby! 🙂

      I wanna see more of your sass on these pages, Angelyn. Thanks for visiting!! 🙂

  7. Josie Matthews says:

    I think of you more like a strawberry rhubarb pie, Girlfriend…Sweet and spicy and one of my favorite things! I was DEFINITELY pigeonholed in highschool. Very difficult for me to say because it seems vein though its not. I was considered pretty by most, and because of that I had very few girlfriends, and boys liked me for only my looks. I even got the crap beat out of me in my senior year because some boy I didnt even know told his girlfriend i was ‘hot’ so she and her friends beat me up! Because of all this negative attention I became a social outcast. Few parties, left out of most high-school events, steady boyfriends cause thats all I could get as far as most friends…(most in my 20’s were abusive, go figure ) I wore no makeup, figure concealing clothing and became quite a loner.
    I still feel awkward, even as an adult when people give me any kind of compliment about my looks. I think my weight probs over the years have stemmed from trying to hide myself.
    My mother always told me…Honey…when you reach 50 you wont care what people think about you anymore. Well…Ill be 49 in a month and I still aint feelin it mom!!!! I still worry.
    But if I could, if I dared, I’d be a pistol shootin’, tight-skirt wearin’, high-heel struttin, force to be reckoned with. In a kind, wonderful, would do anything for anybody, way of course!
    I’d maintain my inner peace regardless of the chaotic crap being thrown my way!

    Women need to support each other. We need to join forces and realize we all suffer from the same insecurities in one way or another. We need to open our minds and enjoy our differences, learn from them. Jealousy and judgement can be a poison, whether we are dishin’ it out or takin’ it. Let’s be bigger than all that. You Go Girls!!!!
    Love to all my fellow Estrogen Princesses, Josie Matthews
    Ps Misty…Love a goody-two-shoes gone bad!
    Pss S. Mohl – Proms…HATED them. I still have nightmares of when a group of ‘popular’ girls dumped their drinks all over my dress on purpose.

    • “Jealousy and judgement can be a poison, whether we are dishin’ it out or takin’ it.”

      –Profound, powerful words.

      Josie…I promise you this…someday down the road, we’ll hit the shooting range in the morning, shop for a killer outfit (or two or three) in the afternoon, then we’ll find a nice restaurant where we’ll eat all sophisticated-like, and then we’ll club-hop and dance till we drop. Just because we can.

      You are beautiful – inside and out – my friend. Damn them for hurting you. Love you, girlfriend, scars and all. 🙂

  8. Often you become your job, As a Catholic school teacher, I caught myself wearing pleated skirts, sensible shoes, and sweater sets. Argh! I am glad I am over that. I wear a lot of black now, but I should preface that with I am color blind…so I think it’s black. 🙂

    • Morgan I had no idea you are a Catholic school teacher! HA! There is really something wonderful about a CST who writes both romance and erotica! But yes, you’re right about becoming your job. Is it any wonder when we spend so much time at them? But don’t try to deny that your man asks you to dress up in those old pleated skirts, sensible shoes and sweaters every now and then… LOL

  9. Hey Dahlin’ you’ve certainly provided a comfortable environment for conversation. Lovely beginning to what will be a fantastic platform to build upon.

    I feel equally strong against judgment and equally strong (regardless how hard I try and hate to admit) of fighting against doing it myself. Unfortunately we all carry the penalty of that particular crime with hurting each other as the result and it doesn’t matter who you are.

    Judgment is a provocative subject and extremely common human trait in all. A battle of the ego, if you will?

    Hmm…sounds like a blog topic. Is judgment a hidden vice of ego or insecurity? Is ego insecurity?

    Regardless, you’ve accomplished a thought-provoking experience and touched on many people.

    Well done. Love ya!

    • Hi Karen!!!
      Great questions. I don’t know, I’d say judgment can be either or both ego and insecurity. I’d also say it can be habit. Often we don’t even realize what we’re doing. Like for instance when I was working on this post, I was going to preface the Wikipedia definition with (Academic snooze alert). But then I realized I would be unintentionally slamming “academics.”

      Cultivating a non-judgmental state of being is damn hard because you have to always be so aware of what you’re saying and how it might be perceived. Of course you can also drive yourself crazy that way. And of course, I still stick my foot in my mouth a lot. I’m trying though.

      Gosh, I’m sure glad to see you around here! Let Josie or myself know when you have a Mojo Monday or WTF Friday idea and we’ll let you have the floor! Love you too, girl! Hugs! 🙂

      • Josie Matthews says:

        Oh gals, I feel a challenge comin’ on! Lets take a day…This Thursday…And count every time in a 24 hour period we find ourselves passing judgement. You know, all those ‘hmmm, does she realize that outfit looks silly’ to ‘what kind of parent lets their kid do that!’. I’d bet we’d be surprised at all the little injustices we pass into the world with our thoughts and comments. I know I am horribly guilty. Maybe if we looked at the number of times we bit into that rhubarb leaf in a day we’d have a better understanding toward others. The challenge is on! Ill post my number on WTF friday!!!!
        Hugs, Josie

  10. LRHunter (Lyn Washington) says:

    Hi–is this a new site? Very pretty! I love purple-blue-green colors. (You’ll get to the green in a couple of months.)

    I went to three different high schools, and was ignored in all of them. Somehow I was vice-president of sophomore class, but got ignored all the same. It was okay with me, because I had books, a big warm family, a ego like Pike’s Peak, and a keen interest in watching other people. Oh, and a full-time job for the last two years of school. I was so average I was invisible, which is great, IMO. Unless you’re in traffic.

    But look, why should we expect ourselves or our real-life acquaintances to be any less complex and surprising than the characters in really good books?

    Rock it, rhubarbs!

    • LRHunter (Lyn Washington) says:

      My kingdom for an edit key! Where it says “a ego” of course it should say “an ego.” Blush.

      • “Rock it, rhubarbs!”

        OMG, I think I have a new rally cry!! Josie, you on board? Seriously love that, Lyn! 🙂 I also love it that you had your current force of nature while still in HS. Great point about complexity in all of us. I bet you have lots of creative ideas for your stories based on your years of watching all those people who ignored you…. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  11. Enjoyed and looking forward to more Chick Swagger! I love it when girls wear pink and shoot guns. It’s what I look for in my heroines. Who wants vanilla when you can have 31 flavors;-)

    • 31 flavors, right on! Just this morning I bought myself some new noise reducing earphones and shooting glasses…all pink of course! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, woman!

  12. Sarah Okins says:

    Well ladies, first day out of the gate and I already love it! The page design emulates “Chick Swagger!” I must say I still love the name, it resonates with me!

    So often we feel compelled to embody societal rules and follow the “Norm.” What the hell is normal anyway!?! There is no measuring stick for this! I am young, and will be the first to say that I have many moments when I falter and plenty of life lessons streaming down the pike at me, but I know this much, that I am ready to face those challenges head on because I know who I am and I live my ‘truth’ proudly.

    All your paradoxes including, “I’m a freaking rhubarb,”(this one especially cracked me up! loved it!) lends itself to the idea that we are all comprised of 12 archetypes. There are 5 archetypes that we all possess and the other 7 are individual to us. The kicker is, that each of the archetypes have a light side and a shadow side, so throughout our lives we are a paradox, learning valuable lessons in finding our truth through the light/shadow sides of our own personality.

    Amen for this article!!!! I wish everyone the joy of finding their truth and not allowing to be pigeonholed!

    Way to go you guys and congrats on your new endeavor! I feel you are going to be very successful!
    PS….proud of you Mist! Hugs!

    • Sarah Okins says:

      By the way, there must be something wrong with the time stamp. It says I posted this at 12:24am and it was 6:24pm. LOL! 🙂

      • Sarah, over the last many months I feel like I’ve really gotten to know you – you’re innate goodness, optimism, generosity and independence. For only just now hitting your 3rd decade, you are amazingly far on the path. I’m so fortunate to be in the sphere of your awesomeness. 🙂 And archetypes– YES! I LOVE archetype studies. I do one for each of my main characters…so fascinating! Thanks so much for all your support, and I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you.

        ps. stupid date stamp…I’ve known about that for a long time…just haven’t taken the time to look into it yet. lol 🙂

  13. Oh dear Josie…I fear I would be whimpering in defeat long before my 24 hour period was up. Just wanted to say again, I’m so proud of you guys. This is great. You’ve come in and handled the forum like pro-hostesses. Soon you’ll have your own YouTube videos with your fabulous views on record.

    Love you both!

  14. Great post for getting your blog underway, Misty. It’s what I love about books. There’s so much more to a character than being a goody goody or baddie.

    • Hi Maggie! You’re so right. Don’t you feel like your characters actually become real because we spend so much time “with” them? Thanks for your continued support!

  15. Trina Riggle says:

    Great new blog, ladies! Love the site and the sass! I don’t think I was ever pigeon-holed in high school — probably because I rarely showed up and usually when I did I wouldn’t have realized people were labeling me (think Spicoli, but stumbling out of a bitchin’ 1982 280-ZX T-top Turbo instead of a van). I’ve since reformed my ways (mostly), and find that I probably do a lot of labeling myself. It’s easy to do, kind of like a comfort in some regards. Everyone fitting neatly into a little box makes the world a little less scary, maybe. Your post reminds us how it feels on the other end. Thanks! Looking forward to some more scintillating topics!

    • You’re right, you didn’t realize it, but you probably *were* labeled. You were the “bad ass” the rest of us only wished we had the guts to be. 🙂 Good point, too, about how judging controls our world…I’d say it’s an artificial control, though. I’ll go out on a limb and say that labeling says more about us than it says about the thing we’re labeling… What do you think?

      Thanks so much for sharing, Trina. So good to see you again! 🙂


  1. […] And that’s pure rubbish, rhubarbs! (click here if you have a few minutes to be enlightened about rhubarbs) […]

  2. […] not kidding. It’ll feel unnatural and embarrassing, but forge on, rhubarbs (oh yeah, there’s back story on that!). The more you do it, the easier it […]

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