Ever since you were probably a little child in grade school, you've had somesort of a label. It might have been about your physical appearance; fat, ugly, pretty,anorexic, midget, giant. It might have been about your intelligence; know-it-all, retard, mindless, genius, nerd. It might have been about your personality; hipster, popular, jock, nerd, emo, goth. It might have been about your sexuality; gay, lesbian, prude, slut. Whatever the label you were given, and we all have been given one, it seems to stay with us the rest of our lives...but it doesn't have to.
In just two days I will start high school again. My final year, and it's the place where labels are spread like a wildfire in the dry summer. My labels have been various things over the years, and always evolving as I evolve as a person. As a little girl it was four eyes; I had glasses that took up my whole face. As I grew older and read constantly, I was deemed a nerd. During junior high school I was seen as the loud, obnoxious girl vying for attention. My beginning years of high school I was called fake for trying to change who I was when all I really was doing was becoming was myself. And my most current label? A hipster. A negative word meaning someone who likes thrifted clothes, alternative ways of life, and coffee: lots of coffee. Labels have followed me my whole life and whether they still describe me or not, they'll always be engraved in my heart...
Why do humans feel the need to label each other? Labels like drugs can kill. It can take one simple snide label to push someone over the edge and kill themselves or do harm to their body. Some of the labels I've been called have been said to my face, some behind my back, and others anonymously on formspring (and I know you current formspring haters are going to have a field day with this post: bring it.) I've let all of my negative labels in the past bring me down. I would look at myself in the mirror and see all the words that people at school would call me. I would let the words eat away at me until I became those labels that people wanted me to be.
But I didn't have to do that and neither do any of you. We're stronger than the labels our fellow human beings give us. We're stronger than the harsh, cruel words that people stamp on us from day one. We are who we are and no name or label can ever change or make us that.
With this new school year, I'm going to try and break the labels people have given me in the past. Not only that, but I need to try myself not to label others. I need to stop and think. To think that every person is a person and can't be defined by their label.
With much love, Lauren.
P.S. And in case you were wondering; I'm dead on with the "o7' hipster." ;)