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Being left behind is a constant fear in the hearts of many throughout our lives. The fear that you will have to survive the harsh world alone can break an individual's soul and crush future dreams of being a part of something greater. Many struggle to cope with being alone and learning to love oneself. In a community listed as a minority, this can be amplified.
I have experienced in my life the heartbreak of loss and disconnect. I have been in and out of mostly committed relationships which have constantly disappointed me and split my heart to the point of hopelessness. I have fought to come back from darkness and failed many times, yet, I am here, I am alive and I will continue to live until this earth takes me.
So, what is this all about? It is about the twisted descriptions of labels in our world. Labels that we allow to define and direct us. Labels that pierce minds and instill hate or racism amongst many. We as humans have collectively and without much thought introduced burdening stereotypes and have let them define who we are supposed to be and what others may see us as.
So what of people such as myself who don't believe in labels. I am a gay (Label) man who is a bear (Label) and not flamboyant (Label) but masculine (Label) in nature. Just in that one descriptor, I have defined 4 labels that people see in me or ask me about in multiple scenarios of my life. Dating is a nightmare. Socializing is a train wreck of anxiety and the defining characteristics of my labels have restricted me in most everything I do save writing. These labels are amplified further through social media and dating sites/apps. Every time I log into Facebook, Twitter or any other accepted social distribution site, I find an onslaught of label inducing hate, love and ultimately confusion.
Stereotypes We Live By
Labels and stereotypes, to me when defining human characteristics, are the same. Whether they instill hope, a positive message, or negative reaction, all stereotypes in my mind are hurtful. They are set up to define people based on mannerisms, looks, heritage, history, and so many other human qualities. I am going to list a few stereotypes below and my own understanding of them. Do you believe your individuality relates to any of these?
- Geek- A label meant to define a person who enjoys advancing their minds and keeping up with technological advances in society. Also referred to as nerd, dork or brainy.
- Hillbilly- A label meant to define someone who lives in more rural areas of the world and may enjoy a lifestyle of campfires, fishing and creative ways to use Duck Tape. Mostly associated with people who are disconnected from the urban life, have a stern country accent and may be missing 2 or 3 teeth.
- Twink- A label used to define a particular set of gay individuals who typically are younger, have little to no body hair and slender builds.
- Ginger- Used to define particular people with red hair and a light complexion.
"The next couple of labels/stereotypes are meant to incite rage or violence and are being listed for that exact reason. Labels in our world are meant to restrict us and back people into a corner. If you take offense to these descriptions then my point is sufficiently made."
Breaking Free From Labels
I won't pretend to know how to erase the labels or stereotypes in this world that define people. I don't expect anyone else to either. I simply wrote this to educate people on my understanding of it and share a point of view. I am defined by me. No word will hold power over my individuality Labels to me are simply a definition in a book. If we continue to allow words to hold so much power, our communities will never heal. Thank you for reading.