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Message to Readers

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Hi My Name Is...

September 2, 2018

PROMPT: This I Believe

Hi my name is... Solan
Hi my name is... dyke
Hi my name is... tranny
Hi my name is... gay
Hi my name is... queer
Hi my name is...
None of your business, please stop labeling me for things I cannot control.

    I believe in diversity. I believe in the uniqueness of the individual. I believe in my strengths, my weaknesses, my flaws, and my abilities. I believe in you, and your individual impact on this world. I believe in the good, the bad, the ugly, and the gorgeous. Because I believe every single person is incredibly and brilliantly beautiful. This I believe.
    We are all unique, and all of us deserve to be treated as individuals that we are. We shouldn't be shoved and crammed into categories, or labeled by our outward appearance. We are more than a label. We are more than the name tag that's glued to our skin. We are more than shell that encases our bodies. We are more than our looks. We are our spirits, our hearts, our souls, and our brains.
    When I was younger, I used to label people all the time. I would call people tomboys, girly girls, bad boys, jocks, nerds, geeks, gays, etc. I would see someone and automatically judge them based on their outward appearance. I would assume everything about them before I even knew them. And I never would have realized how demeaning it was if someone hadn't done it to me. The moment they gave me the label of "that gay kid" or "that trans kid" I realized I would never be able to shed it. I began to become the label, to not exist beyond it. The label I was given didn't match how I felt on the inside, but yet, I still abided by it. It made me feel like nothing more than metaphorical name tag that was permanently stuck to me. The label of “gay” made me feel like nothing more than my sexuality. Yes, I happen to be gay, and I am proud of my sexuality, but that doesn't make me a "faggot". I am more than my clothes, than my sexuality, than the gender of the person I am dating. I am more than my label. I AM my heart and my soul.
    When I was younger I was constantly told two things: 1) "Don't judge a book by its cover" and 2) "Just be yourself". I know they are both really cliche.
    I've heard "don't judge a book by it's cover" my entire life. And yet, I still don't completely understand it. Yes, never label someone until you know them, but really you should never label someone, ever. People have this uncanny ability to surprise you by doing something that doesn't quite fit your label for them. How it's phrased sounds like: don't judge them until you know them, but if you want to promote not judging others- not labeling others- you should really just say: don't judge anyone, ever.
    I feel the same way about "Just be you.” It seems to be the single most common piece of advice ever offered to me. But quite frankly, I still don't know what it means. The way I see it, when I am being told to “just  be myself,” I am being told that there is a “way” that I am supposed to be, suggesting that I am born a certain type of person, and that it is a fixed, permanent situation. This thought is, actually, quite horrifying to me. The idea that we might not be in control of our lives, like there is a sort of destiny, it terrifies me. However, the truth is, we are in control. We do rule our lives. The phrase shouldn't be: just be yourself. It should be: whoever you are, make it the best you possible.
    Each of us creates our own identity  out of the certain circumstances that were given to us, and there’s no set future, nor should there be. As humans we are blessed with the ability to be fluid. And the fluidity of my identity happens to add even more complexity to my being, and it does so with you too. I am a brother, a friend, a confidant, an adventurer, a learner, a writer. I am a fourteen year-old, Asian-American, transgender guy. I am a fighter, a self-conscious, and insecure person who suffers from anxiety and depression. I enjoy music, dancing, laughing, writing, and reading. I am awful at singing, most sports, and, especially, taking risks. I am my friends, my family, everybody and everything that I love. I am a single person in the sea of bodies on this world, but I am nothing like the person swimming next to me. I'm nothing like anyone else in the ocean, and there's no one like me. We are just us. And we can only every be us. Yeah we have labels, and books have titles, and clothes have price tags, but if those objects can exist beyond their labels, so can we.
This I believe.

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1 Comment
  • Kahasai

    You're also THE the.dandelion.writer. (which is a label I really like.)

    In all seriousness, this is so well said. I don't have to deal with labels so much, but some labels that surround me ... ugh. It's ugly.

    My grandpa has a great story. He was heading home (I don't know what mode of transportation, something public), and he sat beside a stiff looking guy who could be a lawyer from his appearance: pressed suit, shiny shoes, clean shaven face, well trimmed hair. In other words, he wasn't one who looked particularly interesting to talk to.

    My grandpa, not the least bit discouraged (he travels a lot), starts up a conversation with the man. The man is not a lawyer, but a professional photographer on his way to a wedding. According to the photos he has of himself, he usually looks like a wild hermit: messy hair, wrinkled clothes, scuffed shoes. He's also a really, really good photographer.

    Just goes to show that if you don't get to know them, you'll never know what's beneath that cover image.

    Oh, yeah. My half-uncle's a lawyer; he's also a really interesting person. Grew up in a very Christian family, homeschooled in a cult-like society, decided to break away and traveled the US with little money in his pocket. He married a biologist who does the aerial silks (like my younger sister and mom). They have a son who's going to have a heck of a life because he was named after his (great?) grandpa, Waldo.

    Labels. They're not very reliable, are they?

    almost 2 years ago