The world is full of labels. Now, this isn’t some preachy “don’t put me in a box for I am an individual!” type of statement. But rather, just a simple observation.
I have been called a woman, daughter, sister (and sister-in-law), friend, peer, tall, nice, pretty, independent, annoying, overly-chatty, intense and weird. Some of these are self-described. But, for the most part, they come from other people.
I often think about myself in terms of these labels, as most humans narcissistically do. Even more often, however, I find myself struggling not with coinciding the labels I have been given, but with the person I aspire to be.
I categorize these two dueling “personalities” in colors because, despite my lack of artistic talent, this makes the most sense to me. The first is the “pale-yellow” side. This side of myself would love to spend her days in a bookstore with a cup of tea. I would ride from place to place on a bike with a basket full of flowers. I would live in a world of perpetual springtime, with air that smells like freshly baked bread and lavender, in a cottage on the shores of Rhode Island. I would walk my dog, a beagle named Arnold, on the shores of the beach in both the summer and winter, because I just like the way the sand feels between my toes. It is kind of a Jane Austen meets hipster meets preppy world that not only will never exist, but it could never exist (see bread/lavender smelling air). There is a lot more to it, but I won’t bore you with the details.
The other half is the “navy blue” side. This is the superhero, take over the world, butt-kicking, name-taking side. In this aspect, I am a mixture of Olivia Pope, Alicia Florrick, C.J. Cregg, Sloan Sabbith, Rory Gilmore and Wonder Woman. I am able to save the environment, lobby for the rights of the poor and help lead the fight against sexual assault. I will have a great balance between my myriad of passions and each get 100 percent of my attention.
In this world, I am best friends with Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Lena Dunham; I frequently lunch with President Obama; and I have Hillary Clinton on speed dial. In my free time, I write for The New York Times about topics ranging from the current state of the economy to climbing Mount Fuji. A film based on my life’s successes will be written by Aaron Sorkin and Shonda Rhimes, Woody Allen will direct and I will be played by the ever-energetic Lauren Graham.
These are the two colors that I aspire to be, and some days I feel like I am within the realm of possibility. Now, realistically, I know that some of these things will never happen: my realistic life goal is to be happy. And I know that at this point in the after-school special, I learn that who I am is perfect, and I should never change, yada-yada-yada…
In reality, my issue isn’t with the impossibility of these goals, but rather with melding them. How can I both spend my days relaxing in bookstores, and discuss policy changes with the president? I have toyed around with the idea that there is some “green” color I am missing; some middle ground that is so obvious, but I am looking too closely at the puzzle of my life to see it. I still haven’t figured this out, but if anybody has any ideas, let me know.
As far as labels go, pale yellow and navy blue are pretty unique. They are not descriptive of my physical appearance or my personality, but rather of my goals and the person that I want to be.
Maybe this isn’t the most self-actualized way to look at life—to aspire to put myself into labels—but, so far, it is the best I have.