Moderately Meditated: A Quick Thought on Labels

Categorize yourself in one word.

Go.

…Done?

Chances are, you just had a hard time coming up with one word that could summarize the entirety of you. It’s difficult to describe the complexities of a person in a single word, and in much the same way, one single word can have many different associations. Labels, then, can tend to be a little vague.

Labels are, in essence, little descriptions of objects made to categorize and create an order. In the mess of diversity and chaos in our world, we seek to create this order within humanity. To do this, we must label ourselves.

But what do we really gain by doing this? Centuries of oppression for being labeled “black.” No equality under God for “gay.” Far too many make-me-a-sandwich jokes for “woman.” Certain labels like these require a kind of strength and confidence in order to wear. These are labels you cannot change and must come to terms with in the end.

With other labels, you get a lot more input. People choose how they wish to be identified, whether it is by the clothes they wear or the activities they’re involved in. My new “geek” shirt, for example, is certainly a testament to my academic accomplishments, but does “geek” really encompass all of Lee Paige? Does it mention my affinity for animals, my taste in music, or how I like to watch old reruns of Whose Line Is It Anyway?  Is one simple word really enough? I honestly don’t think so, but if it really is human nature to stamp a label on things, at least choose your stamp.

It fits...in more ways than one.

It fits…in more ways than one.

Choose a label that you feel depicts you best. Perhaps I’ll be a “geek” today and a “writer” tomorrow. No matter what I choose, however, I can take comfort in knowing the sign I’ll be wearing is an extension of me, whether it’s all of me or not. Knowing who you are (“black,” “gay,” “woman,” “geek”) and feeling comfortable enough to display it to the world…that’s “courageous.”

What do you think of labels? What do you want to be defined as?

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6 thoughts on “Moderately Meditated: A Quick Thought on Labels

  1. I’m going to play it safe and just call myself schizophrenic. That way, I can somewhat explain my delusions. But if someone really wanted me to describe myself in one word I would say “Unreliable.” I don’t mean this as being irresponsible in school or at work it only applies to my relationships and whatnot. I’m terrible at making plans because how I feel one day may be different from the next and so on. This is a really great post and I hope it starts more of a discussion with other people as well.

    • Clinically schizophrenic or more in the sense of being all over the place? Or both? And I’m not sure I’d call that Unreliable per se…maybe more Fickle. And thank you! I hope it generates some sort of discussion as well.

  2. I didn’t even try to categorize myself… but I might say maker…
    I disapprove of labeling people in any way, and so refuse to even think about that 🙂
    (The only label I ever would sometimes think was that Macs (The computers, not the rest of the i-Things) were for non-tech-savy people. A label which was completly unmade when I met a bunch of programmers and other tech people from Mozilla… and almost all had macbooks.)

    But, in any case. I LOVE WHOSE LINE.
    I have watched so many so many so so many of the episodes, or individual segments on youtube (I’ve seen hours and hours of Scenes from a hat) It is awesome.

    Too bad it’s not running anymore.

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