I know labels are important to some people, maybe many people, and they have their reasons. It’s fine by me and I’m happy to speak to them in a way that is comfortable to them.
That’s not my point.
The downside to labeling anyone is it is also a wonderful way to drop your responsibility or care towards them.
“ADHD! Well, that’s it then…” wash your hands and walk away. I’ve had students tell me that. Each and every time I looked at them and said “Nope, I don’t buy it. You’re fine and there’s nothing wrong with you.”
And each and every time, they did great. I focused on what was right about them and ignored everything else. I made them do the same thing. Suddenly, they could learn because we dropped the labeling and gave it no value.
“I’m a vegan!” they say.
“Great! More meat for me!” I say.
“I’m an introvert.”
“Who gives a rats ass?” I ask.
“I’m extra sensitive.”
“Then you should not hang around with me,” I say and roll my eyes and think “Drama Llama is more like it.”
“Democrat!” “Republican!” “Tea Party!” “Conservative!” “Liberal!” “Atheist!” “Agnostic!”
The list is endless and getting longer.
Some people tell me these things as if they think I care.
Labels. There seem to be new ones popping up daily. I can’t keep track.
And I don’t intend to.
I can only imagine the labels that have been given me behind my back. Actually, I’d rather not know. It will probably piss me off and I’d rather not go down that road.
But if you do want to label me, these are acceptable:
“Brilliant writer!” (The exclamation point is preferred but not necessary).
“Annoying Feminist and Human Rights Activist!”
“Extrovert!” Whatever….this whole subject bores me to tears.
“Animal Rights Activist and LOVER OF PETA FOR FUCK SAKE!”
“Religious nut.” (My personal favorite. It never gets old).
I had a teacher, when I was quite young, say something to me that has affected me even today.
The label was:
She said it. She deemed it. She washed her hands of me. She walked away. I was parked in class and ignored because I was stupid. Or so she said.
I accepted it because she said it and she was my teacher. Learning after that was almost impossible, but somewhere deep inside myself, I knew she was wrong and I knew she was a bitch.
So I labeled her as such and it worked.
I learned in spite of the label that I am sure she put in my permanent file. It ends up, my IQ was higher than most. She knew that.
She labeled me because she didn’t like the fact that even at a young age, I had my own opinions and ideas. I spoke up. I questioned. I didn’t go past things I didn’t understand. If I asked a question she couldn’t answer, she got mad.
Now if I know someone has attached a label to me, I do the opposite. You know, just to mess with them completely.
If labels are important to you, then by all means use them to your heart’s content.
But my question to those that this is important to them is:
Why do you care? Because it seems to me the minute you say “What you say or think about me is important,” then…it is. Your first step of asking others for approval and a license to survive is caring what they think and what they say about you.
What label they give you.
Someone calls me a derogatory name or tries to tell me how I am?
I always tell them that they are right. Why the hell should I care what they have to say about me?
Stop trying to fit into some box that someone else said existed. It only exists if you say so.
Define yourself by your actions and by what you see is true for you.
And let’s stop supporting the pharmaceutical companies on their quest to make more BILLIONS of dollars by selling you and I another label.
Yeah, I’ll not go there. That topic has at least 40 of my soap boxes just waiting for me.
Label me? Do it. I dare you.
I’ll make sure it doesn’t stick.