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We Are Not The Labels We Wear February 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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Someone once politely accused me of Boomer Bashing for making a rather innocent and innocuous comment about the expectations of baby boomers in the US today.   

Seriously?  Boomer Bashing?  

First, being a baby boomer is not a protected classification, for good reason . . . it’s a fictionalized label used for demographic profiling. 

Gay bashing is politically incorrect.  Boomer bashing is merely saying that you disagree with some of the people some of the time (since boomers make up half of the planet).     

Second, I am in the demographic profile of baby boomer ~ why would I want to beat myself up?

Third, using labels to classify individuals based on their membership in such a large and diverse group of people is meaningless. 

People have so many roles in life, associating oneself (or others) with any one label, while ignoring the rest, makes little sense.

Among other things, I am (or have been):  writer, musician, painter, blogger, published author, yoga enthusiast, artist, grant writer, vegetarian, guitar player, songwriter, environmentalist, actress, attorney, editor, movie goer, baby boomer, pet owner, poet, activist, consumer . . . and the list goes on

I am also an  a-social, a-political, spiritual introvert, who is occasionally the life of the party.  I have been both student and teacher, leader and follower, director and directed.  I have never been an Olympic gold medalist. 

If someone dislikes vegetarians, or people who meditate, I do not need to get offended.   If someone makes fun of writers, or bloggers, I can choose to take it in stride.  If someone attacks spirituality, musicians, artists, or attorneys, I can laugh it off and let it go because they have not had the same experiences that I have, so why should they have the same beliefs that I do.  

If someone pokes fun at aging baby boomers, or  introverts, I can turn the other cheek without wasting a single second stuck in a quagmire of anger and  resentment because: 

(1) their opinion is just an opinion, which is neither right nor wrong; and 

(2) I am all of these things, and none of these things. 

The roles I have “played” have nothing to do with the totality of who I am at this moment ~ they are just labels, which do not define the essence of “me,” nor are they written on my forehead with indelible ink.  

For that reason, when challenged, I can disassociate myself from any one, or all, of these roles, rather than being caught up in an automatic tidal wave of emotion designed to defend my ego from attack. 

Cover of

Cover of I'm the One That I Want

Before a filmed presentation, I’m the One that I Want, Margaret Cho said  she was not intimidated by the large crowd who had come to watch her  perform in her hometown of San Francisco, just of two people in the audience – her parents – because she knew they would not approve of everything she planned to say. 

How did she face her fear? 

She disassociated herself from her role as “daughter” long enough to do the show in her role as “stand up comedian.” 

She didn’t “stop” being a daughter.  She just set that role aside for the duration of her act so that she could be who she wanted to be at that moment in time ~ an entertainer focused on making people laugh.

You are not the car you drive.  You are not the clothes you wear.  And you are not the labels, especially demographic labels, which people choose to apply to you. 

Unlike Hester, of Scarlet Letter fame, you can shrug off any and every label  and just be who you are . . . a unique individual who defies classification  based on one small aspect of their personality (past, present or future). 

Trust me, when you no longer feel as if you are walking around with a bulls-eye on your forehead, life is infinitely easier.

Our infinite worth lies beyond all labels. 

No Rules.  Just Write!

Related posts:  Attack of the Killer ANTs * Using Stereotypes to Your Advantage (My Literary Quest) * Res Ipsa Loquitur * Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism * Maintaining Perspective

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Comments»

1. Richard W Scott - February 22, 2010

Well written, Nancy. Also an excellent first post for your new blog. I’ll be watching with interest as this grows.

You remind me of something a modern philosopher recounted to me one day. He spoke of meeting a man and asking “Who are you?”

The man fished out a business card and handed it to him. He says, “at that point I wondered… If who you are is what you do, then, when you don’t, who are you?”

Pardon the poor paraphrase.

Still, those words have stayed with me Lo these many years.

Welcome to the Blogosphere!

2. nrhatch - February 22, 2010

Your paraphrase conveys the idea perfectly.

We get so caught up in using our “label-makers” to classify ourselves and others that we fail to SEE who we really are.

3. Clar - September 7, 2011

Have you identified yourself without labels? I used to be a registered nurse and people thought of me that way and so did I. Now I write and blog and read. Like you I have been many things but like Scott I now ask myself who am I really?
How can we see ourselves who we really are without using labels or characteristics.?
Even in ACIM we are Spirit. We are Love.
Aren’t those labels of a sort?

nrhatch - September 7, 2011

Yes, I have identified myself without labels:

http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/my-life-in-250-words/

4. This, That, & The Other Thing | Spirit Lights The Way - August 11, 2013

[…] NOT To Be Offended * Better Thoughts -> Better Results * You’re Full Of . . . Hubris * We Are Not The Labels We Wear * Maintaining Perspective * Someone Once Said * Island of Misfit Posts (WP Daily Prompt) […]


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