Whether we like it or not, we spend most of our lives in a box before passing to our final resting place.
We humans love order, placing people in slots, classifying ourselves like old fossil bones in an archaeological dig. During my time on this planet I’ve been in boxes, labelled neatly and categorised.
My stack of past labels includes student, employee, wife, sister, daughter, friend; the list is a never ending boring set of drivel, none of which actually define me.
As a child I was told everyone is unique, we have our set of DNA, our own personality traits, no two people are the exact same, even if their DNA match, which is the case for identical twins. Yet, somewhere along the line, in our growing up phase, the uniqueness losses strength, we become robots, slotting into readymade containers.
Looking at my list above, there are hundreds of thousands of people with the exact same toe tag as me, none of who I am is in any way illustrated by this list; it’s simply a production line of generic words.
I hate the labels, the boxes, the structure but despite my despising them, they have been present my entire life. Moving from the label of student, I became an employee and as the years rolled, more and more labels stacked up. My hobbies were categorised, my likes and dislikes departmentalised.
Then, with the arrival of my friend, myalgic encephalomyelitis, my conveyor belt broke, spewing most labels to the floor, leaving me almost title less.
For a girl who deplores labels I felt naked at first, searching for a category; something other than “patient” or “sick” words I find demeaning. Having been institutionalised my entire life, that built in switch blinked, its subliminal messaging flashing before me, the message saying “in order to be part of the human race, you must be branded”. And then, the switch broke, I stepped free of the chains, walked from the institution and all this silliness ended as I remembered I don’t need the toe tag, to be me.