Do you have labels you enjoy?
I like to call myself a homemaker, a word nerd, an Earthling, a chocoholic.
I also enjoy some of the well-worn, comfortable labels such as Mama, friend, partner, gardener, loving, cook.
Sometimes I try to take on labels even though they feel extremely cumbersome: writer, unschooler, hippie, creative, neighbor.
Some labels I do not enjoy because, although true, they are used far too often to limit and control: woman, patriot, smart, responsible.
There was label I shunned for a while simply to get along with a pompously bigoted local population, namely “Californian” while I lived in Oregon, but now I can wear it without shame or harassment.
Some labels are thrust upon me even though they are so loaded with garbage I can’t even stand them, but they are impossible to avoid or argue against because they are completely under the control of those who wield them to defend the very existence of the dominant paradigm: wife (just because I got a legal document does not mean I am playing the game entirely by the usual rules), white (overprivileged person of non-color? clueless transparent human? peach-colored European American?), poor (low income, welfare recipient, slacker mooch ambition-deficient loser), non-conformist (self-righteously refuses to go along with the program that everyone knows is best).
Some people proudly sign their name with all kinds of letters representing their hard earned labels, others wander the streets with a label of familiarity picked up along the way when their given name wore out and fell off.
Me, I dodge and weave my way amongst the possibilities, trying on some in secret to see how they look in the mirror, scratching in frustration at those forcibly branded onto my being, wondering if there are any more that will bloom organically out of my true nature the way the label “Mama” has.
What shall we call you?