Posts tagged: self
I dislike labels. I think most of my acquaintances would say that, in fact. However most of them (and myself) also say things like, “I really want my bachelor’s degree”, or, “I’m trying to get my black-belt”, or, “I want to be a 5th level Priest”. Those are labels too!
So many things to say about this…
First there’s the dichotomy of disliking labels, but also striving towards specific ones. So maybe it isn’t labels themselves that are the problem, but having labels forcibly applied.
But then, if I say I am Vegetarian and self-identify as that, am I not also applying what I think of as vegetarianism to the label? Effectively I’m labeling by implication. If I consider eating fish to be within the bounds of being a Vegetarian, I’m implicitly declaring what that label means to all other Vegetarians. If I declare myself to be a Christian and then act like a jerk, I am implicitly casting all others who ascribe to that label with my mode of being, and I am assuming that all other people who use that label are the same as me.
So perhaps it’s just another way of trying to exert control on the world. If I pick a name for myself I’m saying to myself that I know what that means and what I am expecting from others with that label. I am also saying to everyone else what I think they should expect from me because I have chosen that. And if a label is applied to me that I don’t like, the dislike stems from not knowing what the label means, not liking what I think it means, and not wanting what I think others (both within and outside the label) will do to me because of that label.
I may have confused you now. That’s okay, it makes sense to me.