A reoccurring theme in my writings whether career or personal is my hatred for labels especially those that are damaging. Whether on this blog or in my essays I have long since made it clear that when you label me, you are limiting me and creating a barrier of understanding. Sure, I can have opinions that can be easily tagged but that says more about the needs of the reader or listener than my own experience.
Why am I exploring this issue? Well, there are days when I have felt exposed to criticism that is unfounded and pigeon holed for convenience. Simply put, I feel a need to wipe clean any labels attached to me that are serving the agenda of someone else who wishes to define who I am or why I think the way I do.
As a person who happens to have Fibromyalgia, it is easy for anyone to put any discomfort I may be experiencing directly to my condition. Whether warranted or not, many times when seeking medical assistance I have opted out of revealing my condition because of bias and judgements that can lead to misdiagnosis. That is dangerous and practitioners would be wise to not “label” everything as a symptom of Fibromyalgia. In fact, I manage my condition well without the aid of conventional medicine and can fully discern the differences in my body.
Though openly regarded as “a feminist” it is a disconcerting habit of people (mainly men) to attach the stereotypical labels to just about anything I talk about, do or not do. As if I am incapable of having strong opinion or feeling without it being attached to the feminist majority, “My God, could it just be that I think, as Jennifer!” Not everything that passes through my mind or mouth has a feminist slant to it but here comes the label anyway. Mostly it is attached when the aim is for me to respect or accept something I can’t. I may not accept something in my life or society for a myriad of other reasons but “feminism” is as good a reason as any to negate my position rather than open ones mind to the possibilities.
When I was in grade school I was labeled an “average student”, below average if you check out my math scores. It was not easy for me, school never was a place where I felt comfortable. My learning styles are visual and auditory, show me how to do it or talk to me and I will get it, plop that book in front of me and I will be there awhile. The label of being less than average made for some difficult decisions when exploring further education as an adult. Despite the label I managed to move beyond it and did extremely well as an adult learner in college/university. My average is high and I am proud of it!
It is by no accident that I cringe when, as I have mentioned before, a student, client, friend or family member is assigned a label I know will cause a barrier where one should not exist. My disdain causes me to work even harder to break the cycle a psychological limitation. It is in our nature to want to make sense of something and in this day in age we are given plenty to research once the label has been summarily assigned. Hence, why there are so many people out there sharing before they even start an activity all the reasons why they won’t succeed.
I’m about to be 45 years of age, another detail about me that now hits the masses. For my 45th year I would like all labels to be dropped, I am no longer wishing to be defined by any of the above or anything else in the future. I have earned the right to think what I think, feel what I feel and do what I do without the convenience of attaching labels. I hereby state that if you choose to assign a label to me I will no longer honor it, nor respond to it, it is irrelevant.
My name is Jennifer. My professional titles are career and self esteem coach, workshop facilitator, writer and blogger. My personal titles are friend, daughter, sister, wife, cousin and aunt. Everything else means nothing to me.