11/06/11 What’s in a name?

Avoch is one of those differently pronounced places that Scotland delivers from time to time. I had been looking forward to causing ‘avoc in Avoch until I discovered the truth.

The correct pronunciation of Avoch is a throaty ‘och’. Try it. If you don’t produce at least a pint of phlegm in your attempt, you’ll need to try again.

At Teen and Stewart’s we’d been having a bit of jolly banter when Teen referred to me as ‘the wandering lunatic’ which caused Stewart to react with the Scottish equivalent of ‘steady on there’.

The thing is, this is the way I’d happily referred to myself in my previous emails to her. So no problem there then.
I smile now as I remember a bit of poor editing on one of Kingdom FM’s news stories where they announced, “…mentally Ill will be walking along the Fife Coastal trail…”

None taken – it was a funny slip – life’s too short.

Which takes me back to my heady days as a social work student….

We had a bunch of lectures on prejudice, as you’d expect on such a course. However, we got lost in a strange world of semantics as we discussed the differences between racism and racialism.

Lost in the mists of time now, the differences between the 2 matter not one jot to me. I felt such arguments get away from the real issue.

Respecting folk.

Recently, I went along to a self harm group in which one of the facilitators came out with the hilarious line “Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make it along to the next meeting…”

At this same group we discussed what folk who self harm would like to be called. This is a tricky old thing since, for example, people with my condition are already being referred to as,
“People who may attract a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.”

Holy guacamole. Wordy? Yes.

Necessary? Probably.

The trick here is to separate the person from their diagnosis.

I am not my diagnosis.

So, back at the group, what labels would I find acceptable?

You can refer to me as Chris(topher), Dad, baldy, walking man, the wandering lunatic….

You can call me anything if behind it I can detect the faintest flavour of love, humour and/ or respect.

When I was studying, we stumbled across a gay male organisation that called themselves, “Queer as fuck,”

For me that covers all the above bases, plus it takes the power away from those driven by prejudice.

It’s not about the words – it’s about the intention behind them. And when words are used in a hateful or prejudicial way that’s where debate should happen.

Running head on into people with a different perspective seldom works.

Walk a mile


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