At times, it is disconcerting to hear others use a word with their own interpretation rather than using its distinct, clear, established and unmistakable meaning. For instance, the other day, a young girl told me about her “mother.” Although I know that her biological mother is deceased, she now identifies her father’s present live-in girlfriend as her mother.
For this young lady to identify her “mom” as her father’s live-in girlfriend wrenches my heart. What happens when this girlfriend leaves as the other two non-live-in girlfriends have already done? This young girl will be left confused, befuddled and a bit disillusioned. She may wonder for a long time about what a mother really is.
Two friends recently announced that they have decided to become life-long partners. The woman waved her hand toward everyone to show us the beautiful diamond that now graced her left index finger. I couldn’t help but wonder what the term “life-long partner” really meant. Are they getting married or just melding their two different households into one. I didn’t ask.
Then there is the term fiance, referring to a man who is engaged to be married, and fiancee, referring to the female who is engaged to be married. In more than one conversation with someone using either of these terms I will ask, “Oh, when is the wedding?”
“We haven’t set a date yet, right now we are just living together,” is their answer.
I know what it is like to live with someone and not be married and it is not a fiance or fiancee relationship. “Shacking up,” or “living together” would be the more correct term to use.
Then there are the males who want to be females and the females who want to be males. Growing up, I remember secretly wanting to be a boy simply because I was closer in age to a brother only 18 months older than me while my three sisters were farther ahead of me in age and interests. In my opinion, I thought boys had much more fun than girls and for a while I got away with my wish.
I wore my hair short because that was the style of the day, and my chest was flat because that was my physique at the time. When strangers mistook me for a boy, I was a little surprised, but I didn’t correct them either.
I honestly thought I’d grow into a boy, but when my menses started, I knew the jig was up. I really was a girl and there was no turning back. I stopped playing football, racing my bike down the street and boxing in back alleys. Instead, I made friends with other girls who felt as awkward as I did with their bodies and somehow grew into my femininity.
Why bother to stay steady? There will always be misuses and confusion concerning definitions, but that does not mean we have to be tossed about by every wind of change. Instead, we can hold true to real definitions and keep our course.