I walked hurriedly to meet my friend at a local Cafe' to go over a presentation that I had put together for an event that had my nerves worked up. It was freezing outside as snow fell silently across the city. I held onto my backpack tightly with my gloved hands, my teeth chattering as I fantasized about the hot chocolate I would soon be indulging in. Jones was standing outside waiting for me as I approached. "Oh, hey! So, now you're the immigration writer, aren't you?" He said to me snidely with a slight eyebrow raise as he held the door to the cafe' open for me. I smiled kindly and tucked a strand of hair behind my ears to make a better connection, "Oh, is that what they're labeling me as now?" I side stepped him in a playful manner. He followed me inside the doorway to continue the conversation, "Well, what would you label yourself as?" He shrugged as if it were a simple question with an obvious answer. My smile never wavered as I held my head high and met his eyes, "Nothing. I am not a label, therefor, I don't have one." He chuckled lightly, "Sure you do! Everyone has a label! I mean, I'm the guy who likes to play rugby in freezing temps, which earned me the title of a fighter." Pausing to reflect on the statement made, I lowered my eyes only to find a resilience sleeping in me that I never knew was there. Slowly, I raised my eyes back to his, "See, that's what is wrong in our times today. Society has made us believe that we are all labeled in some way. That we fall into a certain category, and that leads us to be judged based on what category we happen to fall into. Don't you understand? We are not categories or labels. We are people with feelings, emotions, aspirations, and dreams. We don't deserve to fall into a specific category which creates a sense of mental instability for ourselves to believe. No, we deserve to believe in ourselves whole heartedly and know who we are without the world telling us who we are. Labels are outdated and categories are overrated. It's time for us to be true to ourselves and just be who we are. What is wrong with that?" Jones couldn't find the words to combat my thoughts, he only nodded with a smile as he slid his arm around me in a welcoming embrace that made his understanding clear.
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