Labelled Life

 “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”

– Danielle LaPorte

A label is a classifying phrase or name applied to a person, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive. Thank you,Google.

Most labels are negative. Words like  “fat”, “retard”, “weird”, “emo”, “white”, “stupid”, “fake”, “geek” and many more are often thrown around with little consideration of the hurt that comes with them. Being called a name by other people makes you believe that’s who you are. Your thoughts, actions and behaviour all change in accordance to your new so called revelation of yourself. Your self-esteem drops and your self-confidence as well.

I’ve been called “nerd” a lot. Labelled as the class topper, the teacher’s pet, that girl with the glasses. I was put into a box, and I accepted it. I didn’t realize it then but it affected me. I worked even harder to get good grades but I didn’t know that I wasn’t doing it for myself, but to redeem my so given title and to live up to everyone’s expectations.

Until I realized, it’s about me. I need to worry about what I think of myself, not anyone else. You’re going to be free when you don’t care about what anyone else thinks. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to the people who care about you. Constructive criticism is essential. Arrogance, not so much.

Don’t listen to all that negativity since you know it isn’t true. There are always going be people who want to drag you down by engaging in verbal warfare, even when you think you’ve reached the top. Whether you let them knock you down or not, that’s your choice. Pro tip: Don’t. You can’t stop negative labels, but you can choose to not let them hold you back.

I learned that being labelled as a nerd had confined me to just one aspect of my personality. Who said that you’re just a “nerd” or a “jock”? Exhibiting characteristics other than that isn’t a crime! A label shouldn’t restrict you. I am so much more and so are you.

If you’re confused and you’re thinking, “I don’t fit in, I don’t know where I belong, what I am, who I am.” You don’t have to be. Like the characters in The Breakfast Club,  (10/10, recommend it)  you need to realize that you are much more than your given stereotypes. We’re all a complex whole of different idiosyncrasies, feelings and thoughts. You don’t have to confine yourself to be defined by just a few aspects of your personality. That’s just a tiny bit of who you are.

I think that our insecurities arise from our fear from being vulnerable. But vulnerability is what makes us human. Check out this TED Talk about the power of vulnerability.

We’re all still discovering ourselves. Talents, potential, abilities, skills and traits that you never knew you had all can be found if you look within.

So, the next time you think of an insulting comment about a person’s insecurities remember that you aren’t perfect either. Labels are best used on commodities, not people.

Don’t label and be labelled. You’re so much more than you could ever imagine.


Have you ever been labelled? Tell me your story in the comments below.

-Sanjita


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16 Comments Add yours

  1. So relatable.. And you gave such a nice message! Loved it

    Liked by 2 people

    1. clusterofstars says:

      Thank you!

      Like

      1. clusterofstars says:

        Thanks!

        Like

  2. Paul Masih says:

    Very well written.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mamta Ann Peters says:

    Another good one! You r doing great with words!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. clusterofstars says:

      Thank you!

      Like

  4. Tammy says:

    I was wondering if you had an opportunity to look at it from the other side i.e. The Popular Kid! (It is a Label after all)

    Hmm….POPULAR – what does that really mean? Let’s look in to the life of Ms. Tammy (wink wink)

    Years after leaving school, she had the opportunity to take her husband to meet a few of her high school “friends” (the quotes are for a reason to be explained). On returning from one such experience, shall we call it, he told her that every one of the people he was introduced to said that his wife had been very “popular” in school. Then he asked her if she knew why.

    She didn’t.

    Words like “geek”, “nerd”, get used so much, their meaning seems to become easily understood. These are the smart kids, the ones who top the Dean’s List, the ones who will win first place in the Science Fair and possibly work at NASA. Might even be a star on The Big Bang Theory some day! Stereotype, but for the most part accurate.

    Now back to Tammy. She thought about it, and realized that she was actually almost always in the Eye of the Storm. At the “fun kids” table, invited to all the parties, best of all, 30 some years later, still being asked to reunions when they happened. She was remembered by not just the other Popular Kids, but also by the so called Nerds.

    She still did not know why. Was she being used to bring in the crowd? Was she being wooed only because she was considered to be popular? Then came the hardest question to ask, “did any one of them really like her, were they really her friends?”

    She did feel good about one thing however, she actually made it to Second Place on the Dean’s List in University. No one knew that about her. She got a lot more serious after that and worked hard. Then one day she built up the courage to ask a colleague to tell her why she seemed to be the “go to” person. Why was she always at the center of things, even when a new person joined the company. Here is the answer she got –

    “You care Tammy, you take the time to stop and answer a question, if you do not know the answer, you find out.” “When we need someone to talk to, you listen.” “We feel comfortable asking you even the silliest of questions because you still answer them.” “Most of all, because you ARE at the center of everything, you seem to be the – Place to Go – when the rest of us are confused and need direction.” “You also make work fun, you make us laugh.” “You Enable Us”

    O.K. that was so not the answer she was expecting. Did she go from being Popular to a Nerd? A know it all? Could it just be that we all have a little of both in us? That one just happens to dominate the other. Yet, when it comes down to it, can we pull either rabbit out of the hat? Are we just Popular Nerds…….

    Tammy had always been a little jealous of the smarter kids in school. You just knew that they would turn out great in life, get the better job, make more money, have a bigger house. No one expects that from the Popular kid.

    So here are my questions to you –

    – Are the terms “Nerd” and “Popular” relative ones? Is it really that bad to be either one?

    – Do we secretly choose to be one or the other because of our own insecurities? “I cannot run fast enough or jump high enough, so rather than lose, I will just pick the other side and study.” Are we just afraid to lose?

    – Is blaming someone else for stereotyping us just another way for us not taking responsibility for who we really are? Or who we really want to be?

    – If as you say in your last line – You’re so much more than you could ever imagine – than why aren’t we? What is stopping us from being so much more? Are we ashamed to admit that we currently ARE all that we can be? Why aren’t we satisfied with who we are?

    – If Tammy had known back then, what she knows now, would she have done anything differently? Would she have chosen to be less popular? Was her popularity the best thing that could have happened to her?

    – Should parents STOP expecting “great things” from their kids and allow them to be who they are? Is forcing our kids to be what WE want them to be, creating all this insecurity? Maybe if we let them be who they are, their natural talent will emerge and they can actually excel at what they were really meant to be all along?

    – Does Stereotyping first begin in our own homes? My dad is a doctor so I have to be one. Really, WHY? Would we be stronger and more able to be happy with who we are, if we weren’t so pressured at home? Is it really only in school or university that we are stereotyped?

    – Is “being so much more than we can be” a good thing? Why do I have to be “so much more”?

    Tammy realized that in her little world, she actually was, ALL that she could be…. to every individual she encountered, she was something different and yet complete. All the different Parts (good or “bad”), created the Whole, not just for herself, but for every one who came in to her life.

    We never have to stop learning…we never have to stop adapting or growing….but at some point, we have to find PEACE with who we really are. After all, a Gold Fish will never be able to climb a Tree…… or will it?

    Like

    1. clusterofstars says:

      You raised valid questions!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. clusterofstars says:

      Yes, I think our insecurities make us choose a persona in order to fit in. I urge you to break that.
      The stereotypes exist due to our behavior.
      We really shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are. All I’m saying is that we can always get better at everything. If you’re satisfied with yourself, then that’s great! Good for you!
      Tammy probably would have changed some things. That’s when dissatisfaction and regret play into her life and that isn’t good.
      Expectations exist. So does potential. Parents need to understand that. I completely agree with letting them be who they are so their natural talent will emerge and they can excel at what they were meant to.
      Yes, stereotyping exists everywhere. If you’re in the train going to work, you may form an opinion of your fellow commuter and so on.
      By writing “so much more”, I mean exploring our potential and talents. You can be better.
      Yes, we never stop learning and adapting until we find peace with who we are. I wish you the best in your journey of life!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. clusterofstars says:

      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sanju you were always profound and I’ve always loved that about you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sanjita says:

      Thank you, Suman ❤❤

      Like

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