Simply danLrene's Opinion

Work Your Dream

The Infatuation With Labels

Seems like for years and years, there have been labels attached to people. The census records state our sex, our race, etc. Newer census records tried to label us with things such as “gun owner” and other labels. As a former teacher, I can tell you that the children that came to my classroom, as with all other teacher’s classrooms, came with labels such as gifted, mentally challenged, hyperactive, behavior disorder, speech impaired, disabled, etc. And many will go through life holding on to those labels as if it makes them who they are.

It is not just census records, school records, employment records, etc that use labels on us. We do it to others and to ourselves. Some people take the labels or tags and use them like patches on the sash like a scout wears and wear them as if to tell the whole world that they are this or that…whether good or bad.

I often wonder when will people start introducing themselves by labels or tags.

Hello, I am chronically ill                           Hello, I am blind

Hello, I am disabled                                     Hello, I am tall

Hello, I am short                                            Hello, I am gifted

Hello, I am speech impaired                       Hello, I am a slow learner

Hello, I am beautiful                                     Hello, I am ugly

Hello, I am nauseated                                    Hello, I am chronic pain

Hello, I am auto immune disorder              Hello, I am exhausted

Hello, I am a Christian                                    Hello, I am an Athiest

Hello, I am a Native American                      Hello, I am Chinese

And I could go on and on and on. All of these are descriptions of things that are what is wrong or right with us. They are not who we are and yet I see people daily use these things over and over and over in their daily posts, daily conversations and comments as if it were another merit badge on the sash and that gives them more status.

I have always believed that people should not have to tell others what they are, their actions should do it for them. I should not have to tell people I am chronically ill for those that matter know it already. I should not have to tell people that I am exhausted or in pain, for those things show without me even trying to show them. In fact, they show with me trying to hide it.

Who and what we are is what we are inside, not all the things out side of us. There is no badge for that except the honor of knowing we are being a person of truth, honor and integrity. And we do not have to tell people that we are honorable, honest or a person of integrity for it will show in our actions and words. The shawls of descriptions listed up above in the Hello, my name is section that so many like to wrap around them really mean nothing if they are wrapped around hollow bodies.

I sometimes wonder, is the self image and ego of people so low that they think that using these things to describe who and what they are gives value to their lives? It might bring attention but what kind of attention? I have a friend that is Native American. She does not have to remind me every hour that she is Native American. I see it in her words of wisdom, in her actions of burning sage and her moccasins and in her honesty, integrity and morals that show me the values she was raised with. She does not need labels.

So, what is it with all the labels. I remember when it was thought bad to label children and yet so many as adults are doing it today…labeling themselves as this or that and then wondering why people do not really know who they are. There seems to be an attraction to having a label and I see it more and more in the chronic illness community as people try to collect labels of this or that disease or syndrome and wear it as if that is all they are…some disease or syndrome.

I have said repeatedly…I am not my diseases..I am not my chronic illness. I am Deb, who is eclectic, loves to do photography, to draw, to color, to write, to read, loves being a mother and grandmother, loves the country and being outside, loves plants and gardening even second hand with my son, has a wicked sense of humor, loves to laugh, loves being a friend, loves good movies, loves cooking and smelling son’s cooking now, loves simplicity, honesty, and integrity in a person, is generous in heart and spirit and with what I have, loves my little church family, loves the mountains, and just loves life in general.

Now, notice, I did not mention all the things wrong, did not use terms like “Loves to do photography as I painfully hold the camera with all the weak strength I have even in my exhaustion”. I said simply “loves photography”. I did not need all the other “labels” of painfully, weak, exhaustion because those are not who I am but what is wrong with me.

I see so many ill people who spend their lives worrying about what strangers or people who barely know them think of them. They worry about what people in a store or out in public might think. My question is and always has been “why?”.  Why do you care what someone you do not know thinks about whether you are sick or not? They have nothing to do with your life other than a casual encounter.I find that if I quit wrapping myself in the shawl of what is wrong with me trying to prove to the world that I am all these things and wrap myself in who and what I really am …then people will see the real me and the other things such as what is wrong, what I look like, my race, my beliefs, my spirituality, my faith, my honor, integrity, values… they will know without me telling them.

May 25, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Awesome ! I Have issues with people and lables, I once had a client come to me and introduced herself to me saying hi I am a widow, When I asked her how long she said something like 24yrs now , I was like ok then wow so whats your name ??? Amazing isn’t it thank you for this inspiring post !

    Comment by kelly | May 25, 2013 | Reply

    • yes it is amazing Kelly. As my friend sherry says…labels are for cans not people. 🙂 hgus

      Comment by danLrene ©2011 | May 26, 2013 | Reply

  2. YES! Thank you for the ‘hurrah’ label gigs. Well written and ‘right on!’

    When ‘that’ someone (with their body labels), introduces themself to me and/or I’ve known them for eons, I cut them off at the pass and say ”Oh, do tell me what was fun for you today as I do not engage with physical body conversations, as I’ve been in the healthcare field for over 50 years and I choose to not hear about your doctor, meds, any operations or pain, now . . . tell me what YOU love about life and joy.” And yes, a few have walked away and others giggle as they reflect on the fun of their self. Hurrah!

    Comment by Lorrie | May 25, 2013 | Reply

    • now I love your reply to the ones that want to make illness and medical all their life is about…love it. HUGS

      Comment by danLrene ©2011 | May 26, 2013 | Reply

  3. Reblogged this on Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real" and commented:
    Great read … been labelled lately?

    Comment by SHERRY E SHOWALTER | May 25, 2013 | Reply

  4. This is one of your most powerful posts… labels are great for soup cans, I’ve been known to say. They can and often do more harm than good as we hear more and more who pin them to others, or to self over and again, yet then move into their day causing harm or hypocritical thinking and actions. I am… powerful two words yet what comes after is often shown, thank you friend once again for your inspiration and wisdom, as we continually are moved by you, inspired by you and touched by you along the journey. with hugs on the gentle breezes today and always. May you remember all on this Memorial day, freedom is not free. May the Creator bless America and her people.

    Comment by SHERRY E SHOWALTER | May 25, 2013 | Reply


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