Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've been thinking a lot about our need as humans to label everyone. We can tell ourselves that we don't judge or label people, but the truth is that we all do. Our brains function by assigning names to things...couch, car, baby, key. It's how we communicate. Just as we categorize innate objects, we do the same to the people in our lives. It's as if we hang a sign on them. Fat, smart, shy, stupid, spiritual, sensitive, bossy, ambitious, etc.

Since Sassafras has started first grade, I've seen an increase in the figurative signs she hangs on people. She'll recount her school day by saying things like, "So and so didn't want to play with so and so because she's a bratty diva girl" (I've hung this sign a time or two) or "He is a nose picker." 

It's this knowledge of label assignment that made me hesitant to use the word depression in my blog title. Why? Because there's a chance many people will hang a sign of billboard proportions on me that says "depressed". There have been times people have found out I suffer from depression and I could almost feel them placing a sign around my neck ("depressed...handle with care"). These are often well intentioned people who simply don't understand depression. They are ignorant. I guess that's why I did keep the term depression in my blog title. I want to teach ignorant people the truth, which is, that if I wore signs my body would be covered from head to toe in various labels of various sizes. Mother, wife, friend, daughter, crafty, funny, reader, compassionate, positive (yes, I know...I have negative attributes too, but that's for another post:). Though I suffer from depression I'm not usually "depressed."

Have you ever hung a sign on someone only to find out you were wrong (for better or for worse?)? Usually people surprise me for the better. Someone who I've labeled as "aloof" often ends up being "shy" or an "overbearing" person ends up being the most "loyal" friend.

So, if you are an innocently ignorant person, haphazardly throwing labels on people, you have been educated. It's now up to you to change your labels. If you don't...well then your sign changes from ignorant to stupid. Here's your sign. Please copy, paste, print and wear this sign as a forewarning to all. Thanks!

PS- Sassafras just walked by and read this sign (see, it is highly affective) and told me that stupid is not a nice (though it is accurate) word. I stand reprimanded.


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