This is something I have struggled with my whole life. My fear of labels.
I never wanted to be a type, or someone you could really peg down and understand. I was studious but not the teacher’s pet. Rebellious but not disrespectful (or at least I tried not to be). Serious, but loved to party. Not slim, but not really fat. Okay fine, the last one was never in my control.
But having spent a lifetime running away from labels, I realise now that I’m perpetually scared of owning them, even when I’d want to.
Which brings me to my real point – don’t ever let the world tell you what you are / are not.
I’ve been blogging / writing stories / penning poems for over sixteen years now. And yet, I struggle to call myself a writer.
More than anything, it’s because I’m surrounded by great writers around me at my place of work, and I know that on most days my work can’t even begin to compare.
But that’s where the issue really is, isn’t it? Why compare at all? Why do you need to be a writer by profession to call yourself one? Why must you be good enough to have 10k+ followers, or get paid to write, before you consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t start writing to see what other people thought of it. I never even showed my first few stories to my parents. It wasn’t until something my teacher submitted won an award that they even realised I could write. I never blogged because of what people would say – I blogged because it helped me release my frustration, express anger in a healthier way, cry and crib and feel all the emotions that I couldn’t otherwise. And why should that ever change? Why does that make me any less of a writer?
This is so easy to spell out, yet so difficult to remember. It’s one of those things I need to remind myself over and over again, every time I’m feeling low, on confidence or otherwise.
And it’s something I’m putting out here to remind you – the person who likes to put on music and dance when no one’s looking, the one who likes to sing out loud but doesn’t outside the shower, who doodles in their notebooks but doesn’t know the what impressionist art is – you’re a dancer, a singer, an artist. Don’t shy away from labels. Own them.