Labels

I have a feeling that I unnerve people sometimes just by existing. I’ve figured out in my twenty-one years that people like boxes. The more easily one fits into a box, into a category, the better for the general populace. Whether people deserve the labels that they receive or not, they tend to be stuck with them. As human beings, we are prone to explanations. I myself am as guilty of this as any other. I love reason, and will often search for a reason until I find something that even remotely fits. Therefore, I also boggle my own mind when I try to put myself into a box, to slap a label on my forehead. I’d love to be able to have one particular claim to fame, sometimes. I think, at times, that life would be a little more simple if it were as cleanly defined as the labels we give.
I am many things- a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am someone who has loved, been loved, hated, and been hated. I am in recovery from an eating disorder, I am in recovery from a life haunted by shoulds. I am a yogi, I practice meditation. I am a student, I love to read books. I used to be somewhat of an athlete. I used to be a dancer, and hope to reclaim that label at some point. I am a volunteer. I am a skeptic. I am sometimes gullible. I am a writer. The list goes on as I think about the life I have lived thus far, and expands into the unknown path of my future.
Narrowing a list of labels down to one is no easy feat, but seemingly one that is performed every day, several times a day. It’s like tunnel-vision; we tend to see only one of the aspects of a person, and disregard the rest. To do so is not only unfair but untrue- just as I cannot be pared down to fitting into a single box, neither can the labels I am just as guilty of slapping on to every individual I encounter.
This isn’t to condemn the nature of human kind to figure people out. In fact, the effort to figure people out is part of what makes us unique, I think. The perpetual motion of the mind is a fascinating thing, I think. Of course we want to understand each other better- we need some way to have a glimpse into the construct of those who surround us. I know that I seek to find a place where I fit, a way to define myself in 5 words or less. It just isn’t possible. I’m realizing that the more I attempt to confine myself to a single box, the more I am cutting myself off from endless possibilities. If I close my mind to all the aspects that wouldn’t jive with the box in which I have carefully placed myself, I am missing countless opportunities. I’m trying my hardest to appreciate that as much as I might try, I may never stop baffling myself with the things it turns out that I enjoy. Why, even yesterday’s post about my newfound enjoyment of the outdoors demonstrates how one can surprise themselves with the things they love. These things can change, evolve, and go away. Being open to living beyond the label, I’m beginning to see, is part of the fun of living. Today, I have a stack of labels up to my waist detailing my journey so far. Maybe tomorrow it will reach my armpits. Only time will tell.

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