We are all just suitcases awaiting labels. Yes, I know it sounds like I’ve lost it again, well I am a bit of a case, but think about it. We come into this life pretty much a blank sheet of paper and as we move through our allotted mortal span pick up labels like a travelling suitcase on a journey.
Of course some of those labels are with us at birth and not created by us. They are not really part of our journey at all, just something that came with the suitcase, an internal label if you like: white, black, Christian, Moslem, American, French, boy, girl, straight, gay. We are all classified even before we start living.
It’s a pity really. I wouldn’t choose any of the labels I was born with and have spent my life trying to cover them with the other labels that I’ve chosen or had thrust upon me along the way. Husband, father, boss, fat, sarcastic, alcoholic, argumentative arsehole. All part of the journey that I’m on, all stuck to the suitcase that is me. I’d have probably picked some better labels for my suitcase if I could. Star, billionaire, astronaught, hero, idol, sage, leader. But alas that was not to be. I’m more hand luggage than sturdy portmanteau it seems.
Of course our labels can change and be rebranded just like any other product. Some brands become unacceptable over time and others are brought in to replace them. Playboy started its journey as Stag Party, Best Buy was The Sound of Music until the mid 80’s, and Google started out as Backrub. We change our labels too. Currently people who used to be coloured then black and African American are now people of colour. We have Isis , Isil, IS or is it Daesh? Some gay men who used to hate to be called queer now prefer queer to gay and the word feminist is fast becoming a negative term and in need of a new label probably. It seems that the rebranding never stops.
I wonder what we will label ourselves next?