Renegade or Rebel

I have been doing research for a book I am writing. Something that I stumbled upon that I find really interesting are the differences between a Renegade and a Rebel. They are so similar, yet – not the same. For the project I have in the works, the differences are keys to unlock small defining truths.

Many know me online as TheLadyRenegade. I could have been easily TheLadyRebel. There is a funny story behind TheLadyRenegade, but the choice of term was something so deep within me, I was not even conscious of the differences. Rebel never was a thought.

I struggled with social anxiety for a long time. Let’s face it. I still do at times. I have tricks, tips, tools and assorted psychological devices that I pull out of my imaginary backpack to deal with these occasions. I would love to pray this part of me away, but it really does not work that way – for me. Social anxiety is a survival skill that protects me from the Big Bad Humans. [laughing out loud here]

I had to take a Public Speaking class for one of my college courses. It required me to give a two minute speech on who I am with the requirements of not less or longer than 2 minutes, must be interesting and tell something about yourself.

My brain was burning. My problem was that I felt there was nothing interesting about me to tell. Single mom, works, goes to school, incredible introvert. I grabbed my imaginary backpack and realized right there on the top is my most used device for handling social situations. TheLadyRenegade. She became my 2 minute speech. I created a super hero for myself that I could turn into when in social interactions. It is not me pretending. It is actually me, but labeled in a way that tricks my brain and body into being able to socialize. Thank goodness for geeky cosplay life.

That brings us back to Renegade versus Rebel. Let’s start with the basics:

From the Merriam Webster dictionary (yes I use dictionaries – lol):

Regegade – noun form – a deserter from one faith, cause or allegiance to another; an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior; adjective form – having deserted a faith, cause or religion for a hostile one; having rejected tradition; Unconventional. The noun form has been in use since 1611 and the adjective since 1636.

Rebel – noun form – one who rebels or participates in a rebellion; adjective form – opposing or taking arms against a government or ruler; disobedient, rebellious; verb form – to oppose or disobey one in authority or control; to renounce and resist by force authority of one’s government; to act in or show opposition or disobedience; to feel or exhibit anger or revulsion. These have all been in use since the 14th century.

They are similar, but it seems the Rebel has the will or need to respond more violently. They will pick up arms and lock down over a dispute with an authority. The Renegade gives me the feeling that at times they may and can be a Rebel, but can pick up and walk away at any moment. Renegades do not seem to be locked in.

I find definitions interesting to start with, especially using words such as these. The reason I noted the dates is because I need to do some research into how the words came about. Think about things as they are today. Do these definitions fit you in anything you have lived through. I have certainly been the Renegade and the Rebel.

I have personal thoughts and feelings about these terms, that do not fit the definitions so neatly. I wonder how others view these terms today. What are your thoughts and feelings about each of these?

For me a Rebel is reckless, forceful and groups up, gathers troops to side and fight against the perceived injustice or rule. I can see them border lining on a tendency to bully. When saying the term, my mind sees violence, anger, frustration and teaming. I am not saying they are bad or good. I do not think of them in those terms. I do seem them as destructive. I think in terms that they destroy what they oppose so that something new can be built (or not – sometimes the absence of something is the new).

The Renegade on the other hand seems to be an individual making a personal choice to walk against the tides. It seems to me that the Renegade purposefully selects those traditions or mechanisms of convention that they disagree with and just does not heed them. They will break a law if it does not make sense to them. They break with tradition if it does not have any merit with them. They do not need a troop, a group or a gathering of people to justify or fight with them. They just do it. There feels like a poetic analysis. I think Renegades are part of where super heroes pull strength from and creatives dare to breech everyday traditions or conventions. Along those lines, when a group of super heroes get together and form an alliance, we have Rebels on a fight together for a purpose.

These two bring about change in different ways. This can be used for bringing about change in one’s personal life. That is where I want to be digging deep. How are these two tools for change? How can that be used to create healthy changes not just in an individual, but the community around them?

I have a lot more research to do on these. This is not as deep as I wanted it to be, but it is what it is. My next step is to break down into specific behavior patterns and find examples of both out in the world. That does not mean my Rebel or Renegade has to follow suit.

What are your thoughts on this? Who are your favorite Rebels and Renegades in real life and from stories? I think story line, Star Trek Discovery brings us the main character Michael – I would call her a Renegade and the new Star Trek Picard brings us an older Picard turned Rebel.

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