Not Everything in Life Needs a Label
The downside to having to identify everything.
I understand some people are immensely attached to them. I find labels horribly confining. I don’t like life inside a box.
I get it. Some people have greatly benefited from being able to apply a label, find others with that label and gain some seriously amazing personal growth. I’m for that. I celebrate that. For them. For me, it makes my teeth itch.
Labels don’t make me feel more understood. They do the opposite. They load me with expectations based on whatever someone’s understanding is of that label.
This is the last thing I need in my life. Once hit with a label, I feel like that part of my life must stay that way. Any deviation is a betrayal.
Everyone has preconceived notions. If you slap a label on part of my life, once someone hears that label, they will have an idea about me that either will be confirmed or blown away. It goes for just about any part of my life.
I have all but stopped telling people I’m a feminist.
People have their understanding of what that “feminist” means and more times than not, it is not even close to what I hold as my own belief of what it is. It’s not that I’ve changed my beliefs. It’s just that I tell people I “support equality and issues that are important to women.”
People have come at me hard with their preconceive ideas. I have been placed immediately on the defensive. That’s not how I want to start any conversation.
I was sitting in my little reading room checking in with the world. I came across an article that noted psychologists have suggested a “Momcation” is beneficial.
I came unhinged. A what?
Interestingly, I am a mother and when I read this I was on a vacation by myself. I would have never, in any lifetime, given my vacation a kitschy label. I was on vacation. Pure and simple.
I did not deserve my vacation more or less than anyone else due to the fact that I incubated a human inside me and she is now a hormone raged teenager.
If you slap a kitschy label on my vacation I will see right through it and I am here to tell you: whatever crap you are selling at a marked up price to encourage tired women to go on a “Momcation” is not being bought. Kindly move, along. Pound sand.
I was romantically involved with a man for a year. I don’t think I once called him my boyfriend. We would be out in public and someone would ask about our relationship status. I hated it. I had no idea what to say. I felt no need to call him anything.
Please don’t put a label on me to increase your level of comfort with my relationship. I will push back.
This is not some manifestation of the Cool Girl trope. I’m not trying to be more enlightened than other single women. What someone calls me has absolutely no bearing on the relationship. Period.
Maybe it’s a product of having been twice divorced. Being called a wife rarely made me feel I was held in higher regard that “girlfriend.” It just meant you need a judge’s pardon to leave me.
I told someone that I was a writer. They asked if that was my full time job. I explained that I had a day job but still managed to work about 20 hours a week as a writer.
“Oh, so writing is like your side hustle. I totally get it.”
No, no you don’t. I don’t hustle. I’m not hawking nutritional supplements in a multi-level marketing business. That’s my assumption when I hear “side hustle.” See? I have preconceived notions, too.
Writing is my passion, bro. I don’t hustle. It’s not busy work. It’s slow. It’s often painful. It’s solitary work.
For the record, I’m an INFP, an Expressive-Dominant and a 4w3. It doesn’t matter.
I’ve taken these tests at the bequest of various companies. The goal? So we can understand others better and be more understood. God damn convenient.
Spend 20 minutes really engaging with me and you will find out really fast what makes me tick. Telling you up front absolves you of the 20 minutes. I want your 20 minutes, selfish asshole that I am. You’ll live. I swear.
Getting to know people requires effort. It takes time. Have we become so time frantic that we can’t be bothered with asking people simple questions so we can understand them. The label is the easy way out.
I have seen people put their Myers Briggs in dating profiles. Well, that’s a limiting idea. I’m not keen on the idea of someone seeing that “I” and immediately dismissing me because they don’t like introverts. Who wins that game?
Labeling ourselves has become the Choose Your Own Adventure of self-identity. Determining who we are by a series of questions we ask ourselves. I don’t want my life determined by a flow chart of yes’s and no’s. I just want to be. Just let me sit over here and exist. Label free.