The Prompt: What's your stance on 'labeling'? Were you labeled as a child? Have you labeled your own children? How do you feel about this?
Growing up, I went through many phases, but the labels didn't really come into fruition until my high school years. In grade 8, I was labeled as an "immature geek", dressing in matching outfits with my bestie at the time, wearing braces, coveralls, hair scrunchies and lacy ankle socks. Instead of chasing boys and stealing kisses, I was having sleepovers, watching girly movies, and sleeping with stuffies.
Grades 9 and 10 were my rebellious years. I would say I was labeled as a "trouble maker", dressing in oversized torn jeans, short tight tops, wearing dark lipstick (I still remember the name of the colour I wore, it was "Toasted New York"). I wore steel-toed army boots and hung out in the parking lot with the skaters and the skids. I smoked, I swore, and I challenged authority.
In grades 11 and 12 I toned it down a bit, and my label shifted to "class clown", cracking jokes, gabbing, giggling and passing silly notes in class. Talking loudly, studying seldomly, trying to get a rise out of my teachers and an applause out of my peers.
When I think about the phases I went through in my teen years, I realize that although I was the same person all the way through, I allowed my insecurities to control me, I became a follower because I wanted to be "accepted".
I'm a confident woman now, I'm happy with the person I am perceived to be, and I am even happier with the person I actually am on the inside. My insecurities have disolved, and have been replaced with confidence. Confidence in who I am, and confidence in the way others perceive me to be.
My children are still a bit young to be defined by labels. I hope that I can teach them how to love who they are, to be themselves, and not to follow the lead of others who want to influence them negatively.
It is the ignorant people who choose to label, to judge people on how they dress or act. Through the years, I have worn a variety of labels, but I was and always will be the same person on the inside.
"You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain... ...and an athlete......and a basket case......a princess......and a criminal...Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club."
What was your label in high school?