I do not like labels. Detestable things, they aren’t used by just the jealous and the unsympathetic. Society makes it a mission to label us even before we are old enough to decide what type of people we are. We are given high expectations from birth, maybe as a byproduct of our parent’s wishes and dreams. That in itself is not bad, as children require a guiding hand. But at the age of 14 or 15, hell, even as young as 7, who are you to say that I don’t know what I want to be in life? If I’m old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, are you to tell me to be a doctor instead of a lawyer? An accountant instead of a writer? An engineer instead of a musician? I have the belief that if Malawian, or African parent in general, weren’t so overbearing, perhaps their children would not be so stressed and worried about their futures.
Since I was young I’ve had a rebellious streak. I was in love with rock music and art since it was strongly associated with rebellion.Telling my parents that I’d be a skater or rock star when I grew up just to piss them as I was already handed my fate to me when I was born. “Adlai, as my firstborn, you will inherit my university.” The mere thought of that was abhorrent to my five year old self. You cannot heap such responsibilities on a child and be surprised when they become an anarchistic rock & roll rebel child. As such I quickly developed my own values and ideas whilst retaining and shaping my own moral system that, if I may be so bold, is not too shoddy. I quickly shied away from society’s vice grip and decided my own fate. Whilst I no longer wish to be a center-stage celebrity or the next Nyjah Huston, I have settled on my much loved passion of writing and have chosen the unconventional path of being an author in the near future.
I know it’ll be hard as hell. Edgar Allan Poe, in my opinion, the greatest American writer of his generation suffered inconceivable loss and struggles, all whilst pursuing his passion. He was determined to survive as a writer, making a measly salary. He eventually fell into alcoholism and died a rather miserable death before the age of fifty. But, he died doing what he loved most, and I would much rather live a short and not so glamorous life doing what I love, than spend a chunk of years I’ll never get back doing something I detest. If you want to be a doctor, do it! An engineer? Do it! The next president of the AU? Go on! If you have a voice so beautiful that even a few people acknowledge it, don’t be disheartened when someone tells you you’ll never make it. If your art is so amazing the occasional people stop for a second to gawk, don’t let that talent go to waste! If you let society and your peers decide your fate and fill your life with negativity, then you will no doubt be stuck doing something you wouldn’t have enjoyed as much. You only get one life…is it so wrong to prioritize your future above your parents wishes?
But labels don’t merely extend to expectations of someone’s future. They always end up being used by someone else to define you in the present. And I hate that because those labels tend to come from people who either don’t know you or think they do. That girl who dresses up a little too skimpily? Oh yeah, she must be a slut. That guy who’s a little shy around most people? He’s just a weirdo. The guy who brags too often must definitely be a show off. And the girl who bounces from guy to guy is a golddigging whore. Well as someone who obsessively reads between the lines, I’ll tell you that the “slut” is simply proud of her body, and is probably being shamed out of jealousy. Did you know she was body shamed years ago and feels it’s a necessary precaution to flaunt what she’s got. That “weirdo” suffers from intense social-anxiety. Talking to anyone other than his closest friends, the ones he’s afraid to come out too, takes all his effort. The “golddigging whore” can’t keep a guy because she’s misled, just like every other person. But she doesn’t have friends to warn her against people that she doesn’t need. The “show off”? He has low self-esteem, and his bragging is simply a fragile shield.
As someone who has been judged time and time again this topic is a little personal. Satanic, stupid, crazy, untalented, directionless, godless, and bad influence are just a few of the titles I’ve accumulated over the years. But here I am, sharing my art and thoughts with you. The labels? They don’t bother me. They just motivate me. So the next time someone labels you, never let yourself be filed away with them. You are you, wonderful and unique. You have the power to decide your own fate and change your destiny, no matter what anyone says.
As always, until next time.
As a side note, if you want to check out some of my art, you can see them on:
Facebook @Adlai Perci Makhaza
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