Hey everyone! So I've been sick the past two days and that is why I haven't posted my daily prompt responses yet. But I plan to upload the missing prompts promptly (see what I did there, hehe, I feel so clever). For now, here is today's post. I hope you enjoy it!
Every day we pass judgement upon the people we hear, see, and meet. We think they must be this and they are that – this and that, of course, representing the labels we give others with no regard for who they all are. Human.
I once witnessed a performance art piece during which a young lady stood in the center of a room in nondescript baggy sweats and a hoodie. On her clothes were pinned labels. She just stood there and let people read the labels and examine her from all angles. She didn’t speak or move. And upon the labels: slut, too skinny, asking for it, etc. Later, after the performance, I would learn that those labels were the ones others had given her.
After some time, she removed her sweats and hoodie to reveal a tank and shorts with more labels attached with words like quirky, beautiful, and fun. She later told me these were the labels she gave herself; “what's on the inside,” she said. What nagged at me most was why didn’t she wear those labels on the outside? Figuratively speaking, of course. It wouldn’t come to me until later, but the answer is: she did. Every day. But just because she wore them, didn’t mean people saw them. Instead others gave her labels they thought appropriate. They formed preemptive opinions without her input or regard for her feelings towards their labels. Guys cat called her, her family tried to put some meat on her bones. But her skinniness wasn’t a grab for attention or self-inflicted harm. She was merely athletic with a high metabolism rate. Merely a girl who loved sports and hanging out with her friends. Unfortunately, not everyone saw that. Instead they judged her by the labels they thoughtlessly gave her.
Now I just want to say, I’m no hypocrite. I know that I’m just as guilty of this kind of labeling as the next person is. And I want to recognize that judging one another is something we as humans will most likely always do. It’s a defense mechanism that has served many of us well, keeping us out of trouble. But in today’s society, it has harmed as many as it has helped. So I implore you, be mindful when judging others. Remember that they are human, just like you. They have their own insecurities and rollercoaster pasts. Just as you do. And, even though this has been said many times, many ways, I feel that we all need to hear it again: treat other how you wish to be treated. Be gentle, find new positive labels, and judge as you wish to be judged.