Letting Go Of Lables

7/29/2016

Human society looks to labels to identify themselves and those around them. Labels are a way to box in a time period of a person’s life and serve as personal title or profession.

hen someone asks me to describe myself one of the first labels I give is the year I am in school or that I engage in a certain club that defines who I am. Labels can be beneficial for short summaries of a person or as a way to group individuals together. But what happens when you don’t fit the label? What happens when you are so frustrated because you are so much more than that label?

Fall of 2014 all my friends were saying goodbye and were beginning their college journey. They were now students at universities and that was their proclaimed label for the next four years. I however, did not go off to school. I knew I loved a lot of things, but I had no idea what I wanted to study so I deferred school for a while. I got a job and secured my new title as “retail salesperson”. I had to solidify my story for all the old friends and family members with whom I had to share that in-fact, I did not fit the label they had placed on me.

This was the first time labels began to deeply disturb me. I was so much more than a girl who worked retail. The brief occupation I chose - one I might add was only chosen because of my love for clothes and need for shopping money- had become my title and identifier. 

“Oh what is Brooke doing this semester?” “She’s at home working retail.” 

 “So nice to meet you, what do you do?” **Thinks to herself** “I create things and run a website and care for my dog and love my family and work to grow everyday.”   **Answers** “Oh I work retail.” 

Fast forward to spring of 2015 when I began college just to find that labels are more prevalent than ever. I had never experienced a Mean Girls clique environment until then.

~ “Those girls are in a sorority, those are the theatre kids - they keep to themselves mostly, those are the comm kids.” ~

Now the most frequently asked question I get is “What sorority are you in?” “Oh you aren’t in a sorority? What do you do then?” People are still looking for a label to define what I am. EVERYTHING is looking for a label. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and countless other forms of social media demand you define who and what you are. 

The danger of labels comes from the belief that a person is nothing more than the label they are placed with. Imagine if we all had to wear a name tag around with a one or two word title on it and thats all we would be to the world. 

Take the time to realize they are so much more than their basic "who are you?" answer. Labels keep you confined and closes off the possibility to explore new things and new people. Don't let a title define yourself or any stranger you meet.

HappyBrooke Lowrey