Labels! UGH!

I use to wonder about the use of the word UGH but now it fits.  Labels!!!!!  UGH!!!

I have spent a little time this week reading about labels.  Belinda, over at The Halfway Point, wrote about labels this week.  Jane, at They Call Me Jane’s Blog, also wrote about labels this week.  Both got me thinking, as I have for some time, how labels affect us.  I also had drinks with a dear friend this week who threw some thoughts into my mind about labels, too.

Belinda talks about growing into labels as in the first time an adult called her and classmates women.  She also talks about some labels that do not bother me such as “human,” the one label that connects us all.

Jane talks about labels overshadowing accomplishments.  She sets this post in the historic winning of the Best Director Oscar by Kathryn Bigelow.  I have to admit I was long asleep by the time this Oscar was given out, even if I did catch a little of the show.  And, I am with Jane when she says, can we get over the fact that Bigelow has a vagina and focus on her accomplishment?  Shouldn’t the accomplishment be the focus of post-award shoe interviews, not her being female?

My own experience with labels frustrates me to no end.  I have been labeled because I am no longer married.  I have been labeled because I attend public meetings and speak my peace.  I have been labeled by those not in my relationships as to what those relationships are.  All of these labels have, whether I accepted them or not, influenced the growth of me as a person or the relationship as a living thing.

Labels put constraints on people, on relationships, on life.  If you are labeled, just as an example, as ADD while a child, you carry this label and the expected behaviours with you all your life.  Sometimes, the label is just that but other times, people will figure why bother to get the behaviours in check when that is what is expected.

When you are in a relationship, others always want to know what that relationship is.  Seldom will anyone live with the answer “we’re friends” for long when a relationship is between a male and a female.  Other people expect a different type of relationship between the sexes, especially adults.  And, at times, it is these expectations that push and change and ultimately mold a relationship.  These expectations put pressure on those in the relationship, whether they admit it or not.  The pressure then, also, molds where the relationship goes.  It is impossible to stay out of this type of a trap unless the relationship is totally hidden.

So what do you think of labels?  Have you had good or bad experiences with them?  Have you ever had someone label you something you are not or do not want to be?