My mother and I sat on the terrace of La Fonda’s in Baja, MX watching the surf rise and fall. Margaritas and
Bloody Mary’s scattered the table. Leftover steaming tortillas sat waiting to be stuffed. A pompous rooster relaxed close by on a old rusty planter.

I say to her, “I’m nervous. Evan called me his girlfriend the other day.”

“Why does that make you nervous?” she asked.

“I don’t like labels.”

“Alynne,” she rolled her eyes and pointed to the woman on the lower section below us, “Describe that woman.”

The woman was easily in her 40s and laughing at some joke her husband said (hence the ring on her left hand). She seemed happy. Probably married for a while.

I described this my mama.

“She could be,” she stated, “But she could also be unhappy as well. She could despise her husband. She might have an abusive husband…The point is. You labeled her. But labels don’t matter, do they? You don’t truly know someone until you understand their story. As long as you are comfortable in your relationship with Evan, it doesn’t matter what he calls you. How others view your relationship doesn’t matter.”

I sat on this for a bit. The word “Boyfriend” only recently put a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t think the term is appropriate. But was it necessary to obsess over semantics?

A few weeks later, I noticed Evan had changed his relationship status to “In a Relationship”. Instead of making me cringe, it made me smile. The terminology “In a Relationship” seemed much more “real”. Why was that?

As a human, we are in multiple ‘relationships’. I am in a relationship with my female best friend. I am in a relationship with my colleague. I am in a relationship with my sister. I am in a relationship with my dog. The term ‘Relationship’ is just another way of saying meaningful connection.

Since I am opposed to the status quo, I view the term “relationship” as something different than my peers. Something that is worth developing over time to become intimate or not based on what the two of us decide.

One of the most important freedoms I have is the ability to surround myself with the people I choose. A relationship is just the byproduct of my choice in that matter.

I now welcome the semantics of Facebook’s relationship alterations.

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