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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Labels

This post is not as fluffy as usual. Sometimes I display a level of intelligence and introspectiveness and all that jazz. Try not to be alarmed. 

Labels are my bff. If I could have a place for everything and everything in its place in my house, that would be the most amazing thing ever. Love. My craft room is full of big green boxes that say things like “Knitting” “Embellish” “Tutus” “Party” “Big Scraps”… you get the picture. I get really excited over it, it’s kind of ridiculous.

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Not all of my labels are actual physical labels. Whether I haven’t gotten around to it or its just not practical, some things are only labelled in my own mind, but those labels are equally important. They contribute to order and keep everything in its place. My cutlery drawer is full of little organizers all lined up, and I get a bit annoyed if the scissors are in with the serving utensils (although I’d never say a word to the man that put them there, I’ll take whatever help I can get even if I have to do a wee bit of rearranging afterwards!)

If the steak knives and butter knives get mixed up, I put them back in their place. There are no physical labels, but it is clear in my mind what belongs and what doesn’t.

Sometimes, though, we tend to put those invisible labels in places we really shouldn’t. The motive can be a good one… our minds crave organization, a place for everything and everything in its place.

I don’t think any one of us encourages our kids to go and divide their peers into categories. “Indie” “Emo” “Preppy” “Jock”… most of us, I would think, would encourage our children to think outside these categories. Perhaps we ourselves were once in one category but as we step out into the big wide world, we realized that those labels are restrictive. We go from being a label to just being who we are, whatever boundaries that may cross. How liberating!

But then some time passes, and something happens. Our minds crave order, a place for everything and everything in its place. Suddenly we, who are so liberated, categorize and label again. We label our style of clothing, our style of decorating our homes, even our style of parenting or life overall. “Crunchy” “Cottage" “Attachment parenting” At first these labels seem exciting. We have a defined style, whether it be of dressing or decorating or parenting! There are others just like us! We feel included!

But then as time passes and we grow and evolve as a person… perhaps things start to wander out of those categories. Our peers, those people who are just like us, perhaps correct us. “That isn’t *insert label here*.” Or perhaps they are more *insert label here* than us and we feel inferior, like we need to step up our game.

If the steak knives and the butter knives get mixed up, they get put back in their place. There are no physical labels, but it is clear what belongs and what doesn’t.

Not so freeing, is it?

There is only one label that I will wear with pride … I am a Child of God, a Christian. My life belongs to Him, and if something does not belong in there, I should definitely put things back in their place.

However, outside of that… labels are for boxes. They may seem freeing at first, but you’re selling yourself short, limiting your potential for growth. Don’t turn yourself into a little bonzai tree, shaped so perfectly and snipped down every time it starts to branch out too far. Reach for the sky, grow strong and tall and proud to be just you, however you form and grow. Be open to ideas, to concepts, to color and shape and uniqueness.

2 comments:

  1. Ain't that the truth! One of the things that I first loved about my husband is that he defies labeling. He's from a well-to-do area, but not fromt a well-to-do family. He loves hip-hop music but refuses to dress the part or give in to certain stereotypes. He's a dietician but that boy can eat more donuts than anybody else. There is just something so wonderful about that!

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  2. Nice post, babe. Read a few like it recently, but the Christian twist is new.

    One upside of labels? They make it easier for you to connected with the like-minded. You know, the other crafty, romantic, introspective, crunchy, you-name-it sisters out there. Life's walk is sweeter with understanding friends.

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