Are You Defined By A Label?
Do you ever look back on your life and think “why the hell did I do that?” or “How did I get myself into that?” – Any label you attach to will define you.
Sometimes I wonder how I ended up doing certain things in my life, like getting married. It was never a dream or desire of mine as a young girl. I was intelligent, ambitious, very independent and not into the mainstream “girly” things. In spite of all the things I knew about myself, I still ended up following the path set out for me because of my gender and my ethnic background.
The problem with labels is that the only purpose is to fit you into society’s boxes; they define you and as soon as you start to accept these labels they become you.
“Labels are a false confinement of where you fit in life”
Labels Attached to Your Gender
There are no bigger label’s than the one’s attached to our gender.
Women are caring, loving, soft, emotional and giving (just a few labels)
And of course a woman’s main role in life is to catch the perfect man, get married and have babies. Then you become a wife, mother, a cook and a cleaner.
A man is strong, dependable, not emotional and of course never cries. Men should meet the right woman, get married and have a family. Then they become husbands, fathers and earners.
Of course society has changed and some of these labels have changed. However the point I am making is that labels are used to identify you and they are a way for others to understand you. Labels are also a way to ensure we follow society’s rules.
Labels and Sexuality
Then there are the expectations that come along from labelling your sexuality. I think it’s a little strange that a race of billions of people can be narrowed down to heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. And we defend these labels fiercely, just in case we are taken too far out of our comfort zone.
What would happen if you didn’t take on these labels? Perhaps I’ll come back to this one when I’m feeling a little more courageous.
Labels and Relationships
This one is a minefield that I can only touch on here. Relationships are labelled as monogamous or non-monogamous. In our society the norm is a monogamous relationship, where two people are committed to each other and nobody else.
Non-monogamous relationships exist but rarely out in the open. So who is to say that a monogamous relationship is more healthy or valid than an open, consented non-monogamous one? Again here is another label placed on us to make sure things are clean and easy to understand.
Then there’s relationship status, single, married, divorced, separated and cohabiting. I mean what’s the difference between being single and being divorced? Surely once you are divorced you are just single again? Or is it to somehow fit you into another box, the one that say’s “well at least she was married once!”
I’ll leave that one there for now too.
Drop the Labels
Over the last couple of years I’ve done my utmost to drop the labels, the ones I took on so others could understand me. Now when people ask me questions about my life, like “have you found a good guy yet?” I smile because I know people are struggling to understand what box I fit into.
The difference is I no longer need understanding, acceptance or to be liked because I made a commitment to myself that I am no longer willing to be confined. I’m looking for undefinable and unknowable – it’s so much more interesting.