Gender, ability, illness, race, age, sexuality, religion.
There are so many boxes in this world. Each word is meant to be a descriptor, yet society tends to use these terms as definers.
Imagine this: You hold your personality, appearance, thoughts, ideas, really every piece of what makes you who you are in the form of styrofoam balls. Society gives you these boxes and asks you to fit your pieces of styrofoam in. So what happens when you try?
The styrofoam starts bursting out of the box. There are so many pieces of you and they can’t possibly fit. We can try and force it closed, but all of the pieces start to crumble and change shape. The essence of you tries to come out of these boxes. Labels have their place, but are so misused by all of us.
For most of my life, I thought of myself as a straight, cisgendered, Indian woman. I let myself get put into those boxes. I was hurt by the people who seemed to look down on me for not being a “proper Indian woman.” Once I finally realized I’m queer and non-binary, I was able to take a step back and evaluate where else I’ve allowed undue influence from labels. The burdensome definitions I carried were suffocating me. So I got rid of as many as I could. I am me. That is all that matters.
Labels should be used as guidance, a way to understand yourself better. But if there is excessive pressure to find your label, then it isn’t helpful. We owe no explanation to others. Labels should only ever be used for ourselves.
If you find a box that you like, to force yourself to fit into it. Unfold it and use however you want! I know this isn’t a profound idea and the metaphor might be a little shakey, but I hope this serves as a good reminder to listen to yourself. ❤