“Here Lies Alyssa: Backpacked Through Europe, Parents Have to Pay Back Her Student Loans”
Gucci. Prada. Louis Vuitton. I’m not talking about those. The most important labels are the ones we plaster ourselves with. What MISlabel have you pulled off the self-conscious bargain rack?
Because here’s who you really are:
You call yourself: Procrastinator
Oh, you always wait to until the last minute to do something? You might want people to feel sorry for all your last-minute cramming, but really, you just work well under pressure and are self-confident enough to know that a paper that would take your peers two weeks will only take you two hours. I think that’s just plain baller.
You call yourself: Giver
Ever said something to this effect? “I can’t really afford to cover all four of our petit filets plus that bottle of shiraz, but I’m just a giver, ya know?” The real answer: You just don’t know how to say no and are a pushover. Also, calling yourself a “giver” takes away the genuineness of it all, right? I highly doubt that Mother Teresa helped all those people and then went to happy hour and bragged about it.
You call yourself: Sensitive
The other day, I was walking down the street and this woman a block away seemed to be looking at me. I immediately did an outfit double-check to see if I was wearing something stupid. Right as we passed, she nodded hello– the whole time just trying to politely acknowledge my presence. You probably do this too; you assume people are out to get you like it’s 7th grade recess. Sensitive is just a mislabel for self-conscious. Stop yourself before you make up an elaborate story in your head about how your friend hates you because she hasn’t seen you in a while. Take a second to consider that she might just be catching up on Scandal.
You call yourself: Picky
Whatever happened to so-and-so that you went on a date with last week? Didn’t work out again? You’re so picky! Time out. I just threw a yellow flag at myself, because you’re not picky– you’re self-aware. You just finally know who you are! It’s the best, isn’t it?! Listen, I don’t care if you dumped him because he’s borderline racist, slurped his cereal milk instead of sipped or if he scratched his balls too much in public. If you’re not feeling it, then cheers to you for not settling.
You call yourself: Black Sheep
Not looking forward to Thanksgiving with your family? No one understands you, your beliefs or why you’re the only one who thinks the show Dads is kinda funny? Look, at the end of the day, your family has known you your whole life and loves you unconditionally. Yet instead of embracing your differences, you’re the attention-seeking crybaby in the corner painting yourself black– not literal “black face” but like, if you and your family members were sheep (like the Serta sheep) and you painted your wool black. Obviously. This year, make an effort to embrace your uncle’s conservative political views. Plan a trip to visit your cousin’s commune in Colorado. It might be cool, if you can live without a shower head massager or Snapchat for a week.
You call yourself: Untalented
Oh man, you put this mislabel on every time you don’t get that callback or promotion you thought you had in the bag. It’s just your on-again, off-again hook-up: Sir Self-Doubtington. Now’s the time to close your eyes and remind yourself of why you do this work in the first place. Deep down, you know you’re great in your own way, so make your own opportunities and projects and stop picking on yourself all the time. That’s what haters are for. You’re job is to love yourself and beeelieve!!!
You call yourself: Blunt
“Sorry, everyone, but I always say what I’m thinking and just tell it like it is!” No girl, you just rude. Flat out. Mislabeling yourself as the “blunt friend” just means you purposely ignore the filter in your head that most of us listen to so we can be positive parts of society. You need to check yo’ self before you wreck all yo friendships. (Sorry, I get worked up when I think about this. Or when I’m watching good TV alone. I’m all like, ‘Say his name bitch! He’s Heisenberg!’ I did not see that coming.) There is a time and a place for brutal honesty. And it’s less often and further away from you than you might think.
You call yourself: Controlling
Maybe your boyfriend would like you more if you weren’t always telling him what to do, but I don’t think you’re controlling. I think you are a planner. I’m also a planner. Planners are great. You don’t have a problem; you just like to know where and with whom you’re spending your Friday night. Since no one else is speaking up, you just go ahead and pick that new sushi restaurant, give your people the reservation time, what kind of wine to bring, and even a Google map from each of their work places respectively to ensure that everyone is there on time. I admire it; keep up the good work.
You call yourself: Relatable
You walk into a bar and can literally talk to anybody; you’re so relatable! Relatable can also be a mislabel for naïve. The sleazeball lawyer who just bought you that gin and tonic is not just talking to you because he also enjoys supporting the rainforest. He most likely wants to adopt and explore the forest in your pants. Be open to others, but develop instincts you can trust.
You call yourself: Happy
I used to think that only one thing could go wrong at a time and would focus on all the good things that were going right. Now in my late 20s, I know that is not true. A lot of things can go wrong all at once, but there is really no mislabel for happy… unless you’re a faker. True happiness is one label I can get behind, because when you quit faking it at that awful day job that’s sucking your soul out of every pore or you finally allow your heart to love again after a disastrous break-up, you get happy. And that is wonderful. When I was little, my favorite shirt was one of those generic yellow smiley faces with dreadlocks that said “Smile, Mon.” So tacky, but we all need more smiles, mon.
So instead of branding yourself negatively, dress yourself every day in the hottest label out there: your own true self.
Casey Whitaker is a Chicago-based actor and writer originally from Beavercreek, Ohio. You can see her perform stand-up, improv and sketch all around the city, as well as touring this great nation with The Second City RedCo Touring Company.