“A small piece of paper, fabric, plastic, or similar material attached to an object and giving information about it”  I have been thinking a lot about labels. They have become in our society a prerequisite and the number is overwhelming. Everyone seems to have a label, political, gender specific, career, or maybe just the right label on your clothes.

And while I understand the need to create an identity, I feel the need to say that is not all we are. We are human beings first and foremost in my book.  Not lawyers, or doctors or ministers.  We should not let the labeling define us. If we look at the definition of labels above, to me the key word is “small” , the self-imposed labels we give ourselves are but a small part of who we are, and perhaps we are minimizing the full scope of our identity and allowing the world to perceive us as one-dimensional when we are multi faceted human beings.

If we let labels define us the labels in our clothes would become part of our introduction.  And then they would become really long, like mine might be…. Ann Klein, Heterosexual, Marine, Mom, Government Employee, MeeMaw Laurie.  Seems excessive to me and only the last label “Laurie” has any permanent value. Because when it is all said and done, I will always be Laurie and okay maybe MeeMaw.

Not only is it excessive, but just proclaiming our label or tag can cause arguments simply by uttering the label. Declaring a Political label is often like putting on boxing gloves and jumping into the ring. Proclaiming  a gender or sexual preference label can often cause alienation, or assumed familiarity, neither of which are the end goal.

As hard as we work to own our lives and who we are, some people require intrinsic value and are not complete without uttering the label first. I for one would much rather be identified as human, caring and loving.  Those are labels I can live with. Those labels do not overwhelm me but surround me with warmth and happiness.

I believe that our names are our greatest label and should be honored as such. Coat of Arms displays first and foremost our family names, followed by other components that define our history. Returning us to the celebration of our names as labels.

I would loved to be introduced as Laurie. Just Laurie. It’s who I am. I cannot express the dismay I feel when I see people being defined by a label. I can only say you are so much more. I know that I am so much more than my political persuasion, my gender or my religious beliefs. I am my actions in the world. The goodness I do, the love I give. Those are my labels.

My family labels, either by birth, marriage or ancestry are displayed below, maybe my name could be Laurie Jean Hayward-Gifford-Norton-Morris-Weisel-Blackman?

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I encourage evaluation of labeling and to be vigilant with the labels you choose ensuring that they are ones that clearly represent who you are and how you wish to be reflected in our world. And own your name, it’s your beginning.

Until Next Time,



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