This Is How Labels Destroy Us

Pexels / Will Milne

We started life with a clean slate. The polarity of how we view the world right after we got out of our mother’s womb is mostly based on our own unique temperaments and how our primary caregivers handled us as brand new humans who are still in need of intimate programming.

Scientifically, we are exquisitely unique with our diverse nervous systems. Psychologically, we can be molded.

So if we are one of those charming babies in the nursery room at two weeks old, mama, dada, and society can help turn us into a fine adult or in some cases, they can seriously fuck us up.

Before social standards, culture, and familial affairs directed our path, we have a state of oneness that was probably the most genuine form of peace that we so often chase as adults.

Then we started growing up and we begun seeing the world as labels. These labels then turned into divisions.

These divisions became the pioneer for organized living but also became the building blocks for hierarchy and stereotypes.

While I was growing up, I had a set of cassette tapes and a song book entitled: “Most loved children’s songs.” It was gifted to me by my mother with the hopes that she could raise her little girl into a talented and charming lady who can sing.

I almost memorized every song as I played the tape nonstop. I belted “Mary had a little lamb” and “The greatest love of all” like a pro.

For a while, I honestly thought I was a good singer. It was not until my seatmate in second grade had to shut me up while I was in the middle of a singing spree. She deliberately told me that I suck in singing and that she was annoyed that she had to put up with my irksome voice the whole semester.

I thought she was just being mean. I went home and told my father about it and was disappointed with his confirmation that yes, I was (and still am) really bad at singing.

A simple childhood remark given by an eight year old shaped another eight year old’s point of view. A good singer and a bad singer do sound differently. It is a category used a lot in every class presentations, karaoke sessions, international talent shows, and has shattered thousands, if not millions, of dreams.

Bad and good. White and black. Man and woman. Pretty and ugly. 

Most of us get our labels way before we even learned how to look at ourselves in the mirror. We were told that our body was fat and considered less of a body because it did not fit the weighing scale.

And by the standards set by our culture, thin and fat do not belong under one category. Fair skin and brown skin are also, surprisingly, grouped into two different sectors based on the beauty standards that were mostly influenced by Western colonization and plain racism.

For a long time, we have even built a society with separate employment schemes for a man and a woman, as if strength only develops out of masculinity and warmth only radiates through being feminine.

Lucky are those whose parents have done their best to shower them with love and fairness. However, the time shall come when we have to peek through the comfortable blanket of safety that was laid upon us.

So at an early age, the little brown girl learns that there are other kinds of girls with other kinds of color and they are all different.

The difference was harmless before it was set as a tool for separation.

From childhood, we were slowly being wired to see things as group A, group B, and group “whatever we would like to label things and people.”

We begin to see ourselves through a vaguely tinted glass mirror. Our perception and individuality even became harder when we not only hear those closest to us telling us of who we are but we also have the media reminding us through every magazine and TV show that we are not of the same kind as the rest of humanity because our color is of a darker shade, our gods have foreign names, and our homes are built in two opposite continents in the globe.

We are social creatures that thrive with every human interaction. We gain strength and wisdom from every conversation and acknowledgement that we get.

Our hearts, however, our also fragile and extremely vulnerable for isolation, insecurity, comparison and self-doubt brought about by these encounters. We will inevitably feel inferior in this world if we continue to let its labels separate us.

Labels are perceptions. It is the simple knowledge that black can never be white and salty can never be sweet. But to pick only one color out of the many shades there are in the spectrum is like dismissing the beauty of a rainbow.

We have proven that humanity stands strong and courageous because of its diversity but we often forget this when we have to deal with our comrades on a daily basis.

That is why it is important to be introspective. We have to work with each other to bring back that oneness that we once had.

Looking within makes us see who we really are beyond the elusive tinted mirrors that were handed to us. Because with peace and love, our polarities can help in holding us together.

The labels can remain as it is not entirely meant to seclude us from each other. It can serve as a reminder that we all can thrive within a society that is built out of diversity, respect, and acceptance. TC mark 

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