Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Labels

Labels are everywhere.  On buildings, in our underwear on our food, and we all have labels attached to us.  They are used to describe our relationships, our roles, our professions, our ancestry, our social and economic placement and our personalities.  We freely attach them to others and we welcome some and refute others.  Labels have a way of oversimplifying us to others.  They flatten us out and reduce our depth.  They also assign or deny the power of creating reality.

There are some labels that I freely own, but there are many others that I reject because they are insulting or untrue (from my perspective).  People call me a bitch, a witch, a smartypants, weird; I'm okay with all of those.  I think they describe me, to a point.  Other labels actually hurt or they take a way my sense of agency- like the word victim or the terms good and bad.  I don't like being told who I am.  I know, thank you very much, who I am and how I got here.  "They" (whoever is at any given moment trying to categorize me) don't have any in depth understanding of my motivations or experiences.

However you are labelled, think hard before you accept or reject them. Think about what you might lead people to believe by employing labels.  Labels, in my opinion, are a necessity of a society that requires things to fit into neat, discreet categories.  They are a broad brush with which to paint your existence, but they are rarely able to convey reality or the incredible beauty and complexity of each individual life.  I am trying to move away from labeling things.  It seems futile and arbitrary.  I like the landscape of life, and I enjoy it more when I can see the details, instead of just the outlines.

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