All my life, people have been placing me in boxes.
One of the first was “tomboy.” From approximately the age of 6 onward, I refused to touch anything “girly.” I played tag on the playground with the boys. I wore T-shirts and dirty tennis shoes. Anything pink I professed to hate with a passion. I grew out of this, with time. While I still don’t enjoy makeup and doing my hair, I will occasionally dress up and I enjoy skirts.
Not long after that came “smart.” I earned more and more labels relating to this as the years went on. Bookworm, nerd, goody-goody, I’ve heard them all. The additions continue with National Merit Scholar and Global Engagement Fellow. I’ve come to resent this particular box. I’ve always felt that it makes me out to be better than everybody else, that others should strive to obtain something I have that I can’t help. My teachers gave this impression all through my school years, causing the other students to ostracize me. I always felt alone. These days, I have a hard time accepting when people call me “smart.” I will not say whether it is true or not; it is simply a box that I am unwilling to accept.
The box that has permeated all aspects of my life is that of Mormon. Yes, I’m a Mormon. But this box is not what most people think it is. I belong to The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe in Christ. I have a testimony that He lives and that He loves me, and I have seen His hand in my life. I will always be grateful for that. The box I have here is the one I am happy to call my own.
One out of many isn’t much of a track record for the boxes. With my own bad experiences this way, I have tried hard all my life to not judge people. There’s no such thing as a perfectly fitting box, so why even try? Its not worth it. Not judging has been worth all the effort, and without that policy I would not have some of the friends I have today. There is one in particular who it was so hard to give a chance to, but I did. And he became one of the best friends I have ever had, or likely ever will. I hope I can continue with this, that I can keep my eyes and heart open, and not label people. They are PEOPLE. They need no labels. I only hope that others feel the same.