Label this

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! Would you like something to drink? Tea? Coffee? Soda? How about a snack? Popcorn? Chips? Candy? Maybe something healthy like an apple? Oh, you’re on a diet. You only eat vegan. You don’t consume caffeine. Is that apple organic?

I find myself pausing at moments like these. You came here looking for something. I offered up options. You turned me down, questioned and judged me in a split second based on this exchange. I’m a caffeinated, junk food addict. Period.

Well, you’re right on some days. I do like my caffeine and I certainly like my popcorn and potato chips right next to my Snickers bar. But does that really mean I’m an addict? Did you just lump me in with a group of people who absolutely cannot live without “something?” That’s a heck of a label to put on someone who enjoys treats periodically.

The way you label people marks them forever. Yet, everyone does it. Got a speeding ticket? Insurance company now says you are a high risk driver. Don’t look like the body mass index chart says you should? You are obese. Wore the wrong clothes to work today? You are out of touch.

Do you feel judged yet? Because I do every day. I think through a decision a hundred times. I’ll read this post for the next few hours before I hit publish. I’ll make sure no one has the opportunity to see me as less than. My car is perfectly suburban. My house is mostly clean in case someone drops by. My social media posts are mostly vanilla. My clothes are neutral. It’s a lot of effort to go through just to avoid a label.

I’m sure someone will still look really hard to find a chink in my coat of neutrality. It’s no wonder over 50% of Americans have some type of mental health need. Between being judged and holding onto that superiority complex, we’re a collective mess. Since we **need** instant gratification, here’s your pill.

But, what if there is no pill? What if you are living with a chronic illness? What if you’re neurodiverse? Ahhhhhh!!!!! What should I do?

I know. I’ll educate others about the damage labels cause. I’ll write about how nouns were designed to give distinct meaning to objects. I’ll talk about the fact that the English language lends itself to labels so readily. And, just for fun, I’ll give you this link so you can understand how the English language is supposed to work  :

A tree is a tree. A table is a table. A person is a person. Any descriptors are actually observations. It’s an apple tree, because it produces apples. It’s a dinner table because it seats four or more. . It’s a person because it looks like one. Stop.

That’s right. The correct label for me is person. Because that’s what I am. No more, no less. You can put all the adjectives you like under that diagramming line, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a person. Adjectives are judgments.  Artificially assigned tags that seek to clarify the noun. I don’t need clarification. Person will do just fine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s