A Life without Labels

By Samantha McKenzie

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

We spend a whole lot of time defining who we are.

I’m Christian. I’m Jewish. I’m Jamaican. I’m Irish. I’m married. I’m single. I’m a Republican. I’m a Democrat. I’m anti this and pro that.

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We get so bogged down with trying to figure it out  that we end up sitting in the box that we spent a good portion of our lives constructing. Comfortably too.

And for what?

So we can slap labels on ourselves announcing our positions in hopes that others will know us better? Or so we think. Let’s be honest, most of us end up with some sort of identity crisis or at the very least, a bad case of the absolutes.

These labels have caused our society to lose the ability to reason with one another and have slowly dulled our ability to even consider learning new things. One might argue that labeling ourselves provides us a sense of security and belonging. It protects us.

But who are we really? And better yet, who do we want to be? What if we abandoned the labels, discarded the veils, and walked proudly into the light of self? What if we shifted our thinking and entertained a new way of being?

Who would we be then?

I’m thinking I could just be me.

I could shed all of the definitions and the predispositions that come along with them. I wouldn’t have to be a single mother or a divorcee. I wouldn’t have to be limited by my low-income upbringing, my immigrant status or my zip code.

You wouldn’t have to presume that our college degrees made any one of us more intelligent or that our six-figure income now means that we can live comfortably. No labels would mean that I could vote this Tuesday based on an individual’s sound social and economic plan. No party distinctions needed. No straight ticket options.

Although we are shaped by our experiences and guided by personal trials and errors, we don’t have to limit how we live and how we view our world.

We can, if we try, seek new understandings.

We can, if we want to, untwine perceptions and feel comfortable dabbling in the unknown.

We can, if we choose to, reintroduce ourselves as humans and that’s all.

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