Removing the labels.

In the past decade a number of my friends have taken up running.  I realize this is not an unusual thing to do, but it did start to intrigue me when I noticed that most, if not all, of these folks had never played sports growing up.  In fact, they were more shocked than anyone to discover in their adulthood, that they really loved running!

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, everyone loved a label.  I don’t even need to begin to list them as I’m sure a dozen instantly pop into your head.  Very few of the labels were actual compliments.  And even if they were meant as such, once you got saddled with a label, that was “who you were.”  Trying to break away from that label, especially in high school was all but impossible.

But then we got to be adults and everything changed right?  Eh.  In the movie “The Jane Austen Book Club” one of the characters runs into her high school bully at her mom’s funeral.  To her dismay her husband appears to be flirting with her.  When she tearfully confronts him about this, reminding him how much damage that woman had caused he responds:

“Baby, high school is over.”

She responds, “High school’s never over…”

The hurt and pain caused by labelling has a lingering effect.  We can think we have dealt with things and then suddenly, boom!  We are right back in junior high and high school feeling awkward and weird.

Where am I going with this?  Well it occurred to me that the reason I was so fascinated by these friends that were new to running is that they didn’t let labels stick to them.  Sure they weren’t the “jock” in high school but they still got the courage one day to put on running shoes and give it a shot.  They overcame the stinging words of others to discover who they really were.  That takes courage.

It takes courage to quiet the noise of others who think they know better or are “helping you” by telling you who you are.  It takes courage to ignore the labels and discover what you love.  It takes courage but it’s worth it.

To continue with my 80’s reminiscing I will end with a quote from “The Breakfast Club:”

“You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest of terms, in the most convenient of definitions.  But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain….and an athlete…and a basket base…a princess…and a criminal.”

Take care of YOU.




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