“Each year, 20-something girls flock to New York City in search of the two L’s: labels and love.” — Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and The City (The Movie, 2008)
The world would be such a disorganized place if there were no such thing as “labels”. For example, my cabinet drawers have labels — “shirts”, “shorts”, “undergarments”. My kitchen cupboards have labels, which are invisible because I hate putting paper signs in my kitchen, but they are there nonetheless — “sauces and condiments”, “rice/flour/pasta”, “herbs and spices” … and so on and so forth.
Imagining a world with no labels, I see a Universe just after the Big Bang! Or a zygote just after fertilization. Everything is an undifferentiated, messy, “what-might-have-beens” (or a “what-may-just-be’s”, depending on one’s point of view).
For the sake of order, one needs labels.
So I’ve been pondering on this. And with other labels that define (or confine — depending on how one goes at it) one’s life.
Labels that are employed not only for brevity and neatness, but for convenience. We hear or look at the words and feel like we “know” someone. Words such as: married, single, separated, living-together, parent, childless, employed/underemployed/unemployed.
There is a certain box one can tick — and that will give others a glimpse into a life; into one’s not-so-secret underwear drawer. One would wish that single words (or phrases) will not be used to summarize the complexity and richness; the colors and the choices and the stories that made up that life. But they are there, they are being used — they are easy, they are neat, they are comfortable.
Labels are confining but we search for them anyway to give definitions to ourselves. They gather us and give us a semblance of coherence. They counter-act the chaos that love inevitably brings into our lives.
Of course, in a way, love can also be a label.