As I enjoyed coffee (or a derivative of coffee, anyway) and conversation with friends whilst in Texas last month, an interesting observation was made. We – as in the collective ‘we’ – are all too quick to slap a label on anything and everything (especially if it involves controversy), stick it in a box, and set it aside. Why do we do this? My theory is we don’t want to take the time to really examine each thing to find out what makes it special, unique, or simply itself. Such are the consequences of living in an instant gratification society.
I have to admit, I’m not immune to the whole label-making phenomenon. I’ve spent my life giving and recieving labels, defining myself by how others percieved me.
In high school I was the over-achiever, the smart girl, the quiet one, the goody goody, an Eaglette, a Roadie, and according to my senior yearbook, “Most Inspirational.”
In college I retained some of those labels, but I also gained: Candace and Suzanne’s best friend (people were confused when we weren’t together), a Calvary person, a feminist, a library nerd, an English major, a devout StuFu-er, and one of my favorites, babysitter (I miss my Keaton, Laine, Katie, and Gordy!).
I was accustomed to my labels (and those weren’t all of them), and was content to rest in them. Little did I know that moving to New York in August would profoundly change that.
For the first time in my life I was in a place where I was a complete unknown, an enigma to all those around me. I still carried some obvious labels – best friend (that one will be there forever), Christian, nanny. That was about it. I was stripped to the very core of myself … and I had no idea what to do with it.
I’ve spent the last five months getting to know who I am, labels aside, and it’s been a painful and fascinating journey. As much as I’ve whined and complained, I’m coming out of it a better person. I’m stronger than I ever knew I could be.
I will always label and will always be labeled, it’s human nature. But now I know what lies underneath those labels, and I will cling to that for the rest of my life.
Lindsay, it’s nice to finally meet you.