People who desperately search for existing “labels” with which to define themselves, are terrified of accepting their own authority to decide who they are, or terrified of what they might find if they look too hard. People who, too desperately, want to “belong” to a group or ideology, are just setting themselves up to be “bound” to that ideology. If they cannot fit their personal understanding into some external authority’s “box”, they do not feel that they yet know themselves sufficiently well (which is most likely true). Trap number one: once they accept a specific label as their own, they then try to fit the rest of themselves into that box, even if it is not a perfect, or even a good, fit. Peer pressure can lead them to conform, even when it isn’t really an expression of their authentic self. Trap number two: once they have become sheep to that ideology and take on its more finely defined traits (which someone else defined) as their own, they then use that label as an excuse to limit further introspection and personal growth. Many people never make it out of the boxes into which they have willingly and intentionally placed themselves.
I, for one, don’t give a shit for labels. I may give 1/4 to 1/2 a shit simply because labels are a communication tool, a tool which has been overused and abused. SOME people seem to have this uncontrolled desire to have their own “personal” label or labels. If they cannot find a decent “existing” label, they simply make up a new one! We are drowning in labels these days, and some of the more arrogant folks even expect others to, not only be aware of, and adopt their labels, but even insist that everyone else use them in speaking with these illustrious, intellectual models of humanity/huwomanity, else the perceived offenders are “labelled” as being rude and disrespectful. (yes this is a slight “dig” at “political correctness” and SWJ’s, of which, I partially identify). In fact, if YOU are also one who gives less than a shit for labels, you know that others can get very annoyed when you refuse to put yourself into a trendy “box” so they can neatly identify you in their internal “Rolodex”.
I can, and have, used the labels “republican”, “democrat”, “independent”, “progressive”, and “democratic socialist” to describe myself in various conversations, at various times, but the truth is, that I don’t neatly fit into any one of those boxes. I have developed my own opinions on individual issues, and could care less into which box those opinions fit. I feel no insecurity about simply being who I am at the moment, and who I will become in the future. I don’t need to fit in with any specific “club” to feel satisfied with knowledge of who I currently am as a sapient and sentient being. The irony of labels and labeling is that people end up fighting amongst themselves over the labels they have used, whether they have properly used those labels, and whether or not they “deserve” to appropriate those labels as their own (instead of arguing over more important shit). It seems that each such person who appropriates any specific label, then “becomes” the authority and sole arbiter (arse-biter) for that label. If you aren’t MY kind of “X”, you aren’t really an “X”. It would be hillary-ous, if it were not so sad. I honestly empathize with those LGBT…Q…..A…….. folks who do not feel they adequately understand their own sexual identity partly BECAUSE they have not found just the right “label” to use in describing their sexual identity to others (why not just use something like “sexually unique”, or just not let it bother you? Just a suggestion. I am not being snarky here, and not trying to tell you what to do. I know that the process of self-discovery can often be a painful journey). Everyone likes to “belong” to some group of others and feel like they are not “the only one”, but nobody needs to fit the preconceived notions of anyone else.
This leads to my personal word of advice for today:
Be who you are, be happy being who you are, don’t worry if you have not yet completely figured yourself out (it is a lifetime process). don’t give a shit if others do not completely understand you (I know, people have a need to be understood, but you WILL be a happier person if you can just let go of that need, and be OK with being less than completely understood, which is not an easy thing to do, let me tell you, been there, done that), and…
FUCK THE PROLIFERATION OF LABELS (FTPOL)!