Your Label

These words, out of my mouth, often:‌ I’m a selfish person.

In my head, even more often.

I’m an only child. I‌ don’t show the people I‌ love how much I‌ love them. I’ve complained about errands requested instead of cheerfully seizing an opportunity for kindness. I’ve holed up inside of myself, kept contained, not warming, not opening. And many more things big and small.

My mother puts others first, easily and naturally. She finished cleaning off the garden for me the other day – an hour of hard labor – and didn’t even mention it until I was about to go finish the job. “You did what?”‌- me, surprised. Her – a shrug as if it truly was nothing.

With my mother as point of contrast, a selfless person, I‌ conclude that I, then, am selfish. The kid on the stage, the performer, it’s all about me.

This self-appointed label (among a wide swath of others) has been with me for years. I keep it in my front pocket, a scrap of paper, a reminder, a mantra.

What if I‌ could throw it away.

What if the mere act of thinking I’m selfish makes it true.

What if, instead, I thought I‌ was a generous person? If that word was the scrap in my front pocket? I‌ could even support it with evidence. There have been many moments where I’ve been generous. It’s just as applicable as selfish. I’m not whitewashing the truth.

And maybe by identifying with being generous, I’ll then be more generous. A generous person sends a note in the mail, a little reminder of love. A gift given. An errand. A solution. Kind words amply given. My full, undivided attention.

If selfish is my label, maybe I’ll then be more selfish.

If generous is my label, maybe I’ll be more generous.

Maybe labels are just labels. Maybe they evaporate when we stop telling ourselves the same old stories, and come into clear focus when we tell ourselves a new one.

Maybe I’m fluid, not fixed.

I’m not going to be selfish anymore.



You can only go as deep with someone as they’ve gone within themselves. You can only see the territories they’ve uncovered through deliberation and reflection. No one is accidentally self-aware; it’s a labor. Perhaps you can help them plumb new depths and make a discovery; but you’re limited by their limits.

I‌ crave depth like water. I‌ crave understanding: myself, my loves, the universe. I‌ seek it out: I‌ dig, sweating with a shovel, uncovering my soul.

Just as I want to know and understand, I‌ want to be known and understood. It’s not your fault that it’s not your craving. That you’re not drawn to the labor of introspection. You have other ways, different ways, of enjoying life. You dig too, in a different direction and for different reasons. You dig for treasure and I dig for the ocean.


It’s okay.

I’ve been thinking about acceptance. How, in difficult situations, my tendency is to fight the difficulty, to reject it. Like I’m saying to the experience, “this is not okay”.

But sometimes things are difficult. Why reject an inevitable part of life?

This isn’t the same thing as passivity, of sitting back and being punished. The attitude of, “things suck, so why try?”

Rejecting a part of life is like rejecting a part of yourself. This life, it’s full-spectrum.

It’s okay when things are difficult. It’s okay to be lost, to not know the next steps.

It’s okay to live in your heart. Feel it all. Let in the light with the dark. Let in the sun with the storm.

That’s where the love is.