We’re Not Cattle: Bowing Out of the Branding Game

000 Branding

I wanted to be someone else.

Fierce winds rattled my door tonight. The road so dark, even the brights seemed insufficient. Each curve I drove as I went to pick my daughter up, even the ones I knew well, surprised me.

Night can be blinding in a different kind of way. It consumes all that lies outside the circle of headlights, jealously guarding its treasure. Though hours earlier I’d seen the foliage surrounding this long stretch of blacktop, now my chest thumped some sort of never more rhythm. Would I make it home? What about the deer? Which passing car would travel just close enough to push us both into untimely terror?

Too many questions on such a dark evening, and not the ones that mattered.

My recent past has been a struggle of confidence and conformity… or nonconformity. With such strong personalities surrounding me, I’ve spent more time questioning every decision than I do making them. And everyone has a very strong opinion, which is fair because I have a habit of asking for them.

By the way, popular vote is no way to actually live a life. Trying to be everybody ends up making a person nobody pretty fast.

Tonight the quiet resoundingly thrums against my eardrums. It speaks of change and certainty and life that will burst forward with Acme rocket speed. The wind has come to push away the deep cold of a too soon winter… or perhaps pull it near. Either way, the tingle spreading up my back and down my arms isn’t chill, but the swift current of something new and ancient.

I wanted to be someone else. I fought so hard to be anybody else, but in the thralls of a transforming season surrender is inevitable. We can only run so long before the vibration of the world throws silken tendrils around us. Not to envelope, not to control, but to allow wisdom we avoid to catch up and sink in.

Tomorrow came twenty minutes ago with this message:Somewhere in your life now, you may be feeling pressured to fit in and wear some kind of label. But you don’t need it.”

When I walk through the nearby forest, there are dozens of plants, trees and flowers. Not a single one has a label plastered to them, so I couldn’t begin to tell you exactly what kind they are, but I appreciate the beauty of each one. Their varied shapes and colors offer wonderment, peace and pleasure. Nature doesn’t require a label to exist, and long after we’ve screwed everything up, then disappeared, it’ll still be going strong… without our carefully planned categories.

I thought I wanted to be someone else. I thought I needed a label – author, coach, developmental developer person, writer of spiritual fiction, young adult urban something or other.

But it’s time to give up on those illusions. Not the words or the support or the passion, but on the need to fit in somewhere so I can be something to the right people. Does anybody know who those people are? If you do, make sure they don’t get my number.

At some point we have to draw a line. Not the chalk kind that dissolves after a heavy rain or the magic marker kind that fades with time and a good scrubbing. This one has to be a freaking monument of stone and steel with a diamond shield nature can’t break down through elemental persistence… and neither can anybody else.

The time of identifying people by their profession – the cobbler, the thatcher, the mercantile, the author – is long gone. The time of using more snark and profanity and sharp jabs to get attention should be. And sticking a label on me or imprinting my backside with a red hot iron thingy makes me no more or less effective at what I’ve chosen to do.

After spending a third of my life (because I plan to make 120) trying to be everything to everyone, trying to figure out the exact label so people will instantly know who I am and what I stand for, I’m bowing out of the branding game. Mostly because hot pokers make me nervous and I’m not fond of being considered cattle-like. 

I help people get things written, but only if they’re willing to take personal responsibility for their passion because I can’t want it for them. I work with structure and flow and making words count because I have an unending passion to clean up stuff and support people. I write, and sometimes I do it well… sometimes not so much, but I won’t ever stop. I like classic Winnie-the-Pooh and bubbles and helping Spirit when it comes knocking on my door.

These are things about me, but they don’t define me because categories are illusions we use as security blankets so people can decide at a distance if we’re the right people.

When all the paperwork is finished my name will be Kassie (sounds like Casey) Ranee Dillon. You may know me as Ranee. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Hope to see you again soon.

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Categories: branding, conformity, conscious choices, labels, opinions, professional identity, what once was, writing, Writing Process | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “We’re Not Cattle: Bowing Out of the Branding Game

  1. Pingback: Be a dreamer, free thinker and free spirit | One Lifetime

  2. Pingback: Be a dreamer, free thinker and free spirit | Barbier Family Blog

  3. Great post, Ranee. I agree it’s too easy to be defined by branding and marketing, when really what should speak for us is our true personalities and the things we do. Very inspirational. Thank you x

  4. Glad you made it home safe. Driving those curvy, country roads full of deer can be unnerving at times, especially in the dark. Your post reminds me of a discussion my mom and I had when I was a kid.

    I was learning to play the flute in school and one day my mom asked me if I wanted to be a world-famous flautist someday. She was, after all, paying for the instrument rental, and I think her original intention in bringing up the conversation was to subconsciously convince me to practice extra hard so her money would be well spent. She asked me if I would rather be a jack-of-all-trades or a master-of-one. I replied in a way that I’m certain she wasn’t expecting, but none the less reflected how I felt at the time and still do. I told her I wanted to be a jack-of-all-trades, so, as far as music was concerned, I would have music with me regardless of what instruments were available to me no matter where I went. I didn’t have to be the best flute player in the world, but I certainly wanted to learn how to play the flute and build a love and appreciation for music of all sorts in the process. I told her that if I found myself somewhere where there were no flutes, I would still be content to plunk out melodies on a piano, beat rhythms on a drum or utilize whatever instruments were available to me to still enjoy music wherever life took me.

    Do I play piano? Not really. The drums? Nope, can’t say I do. But, the point is, life for me has too much to offer to be tied down to only doing one thing that I love, because I love so many different things. Of course, this doesn’t just pertain to music, but all aspects of my life. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate those who are a “master-of-one” skill, because their refined talents are awe inspiring and I admire the wonderful and amazing things they are able to do. Seeing others share their talents gives me great joy, but then, so does pursing my own varied and sometimes disjointed passions. I agree that labels can’t truly define a person. There is so much more to each of us than could ever be captured by volumes of written words, let alone a single word of phrase.

  5. Love this! I feel the same way. It’s especially hard for “Renaissance Souls” to brand, anyway, because we do SO many things…

  6. Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    A truly wonderful blog post from Ranee Dillon. A woman I am honored to call my friend.

  7. Wonderful post Ranee. You are a shining light and an example for us all. I often look to your words for guidance during those dark moments that consume us all (especially us writers) from time to time.

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