Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The two "Ls": labels and love.

The two Ls, labels and love...

You might recognize the phrase as one of the very first lines in "Sex and the City"- the first movie, please, for the sequel leaves something to be said. So, disappointing.

Anyway, this entry is in no way shape of form, neither an ode to Carrie Bradshaw, as much as I could quote her on a daily basis, nor about the two "Ls" she describes. My labels and love combination is far nerdier than hip, more intense that light-hearted (although I will try my best to indeed, keep it light- do you not know me? ;)) and certainly more appropriate for the world inhabited by those of us plagued with actually loving what we do and what career path we have chosen.  Shhhh, so, some of us chose the road less traveled, but to quote my favorite graduate from Dartmouth, not Dr. Seuss, but Robert Frost, it made all the difference.

In the movie, Carrie's Ls, labels and love, refer to the kind of labels many of us ladies (and quite a few gents I know!) are fluent in, Kors, Mizrahi, Gucci, Coach; the kind of labels that represent a look, a personality, some would say, a certain level of sophistication and of style. I do love those labels, but truly, for me they stand more for allowing some of us to be more in tune with the three Ps: poise, professional and put-together. Plug for the many style-icons in my family that enabled my educational metamorphosis into a labels savvy gal.

Carrie also describes the other L, love as the one we tend to generally default to: romantic love. The combination of emotions, thoughts, feelings and experiences when we fall in love are both exhilarating as they are nauseating. Don't we love it. The pain that comes with being in love, finding love, nurturing love, losing love, we desire in a sick and purely masochistic way. Ha! Bring it on, right?

Well, again, permit me to explain and clarify that the labels and the love I am feeling most animated about tonight, are not quite the same.

I am a woman, a daughter, a mother-less daughter, a mother-less mother, divorced, college educated. I am Puerto Rican, Spanish speaker,  English teacher, self-proclaimed expert on useless movie trivia from the 1930s until now. I have such and such titles and responsibilities at work. I am known as the go-to person to write prayers on the spot. I am this and I am that. I have labels that define me.

Labels are placed on people, as the Coach bag is handed to the woman who carries it well, strutting her strut around and sending a message. Confidence? Maybe. Fear? Could be. The label on her bag adds to the label that IS her. Good? Bad? Think about it...

Labels are frowned upon by many individuals who don't like the label they were either born with, or received upon reaching a certain stage or age in their lives. What's the point, I used to ask my students, of all of this?? Well, I have recently come to a realization and until I was challenged with having to examine my own labels, I had not appreciate the power they could have. Labels send a message, which could be good, bad, indifferent. Let's shoot for good, shall we? THAT is the power of the label.

Love. As passionate as I am about everything related to "loving" this, that, this person, that place, my "love" doujour is the love of vocation. Talk about true love. No, I am not zoning in vocation in the religious life way, but the holistic and true meaning of the word: a God-given gift and calling. My vocation is to be an educator. A ha! Is that a label? Stay with me! :)

When speaking about love, about true love, is it to describe a deep and profound feeling of joy, often mixed in with a dash of pain, but overall, life-filling and life-saving. That type of love is what I am talking about and how it can be difficult to explain, let alone articulate, when you are talking about in the context of what you do for a living. This is not meant to be saying in simple terms, I love my job. This is more than that. What I am trying to convey is that very sense of fulfillment in what you do. That just like a long, committed loving relationship at times, experiences challenges and heartaches, disappointments and frustrations. The catch is you stick it through. You weather the storm, you renew your commitment, because you believe you are doing what you are doing for a reason bigger than you. You love it.

We all have labels that make us unique, perfectly imperfect human beings that have a choice. We ca either choose to use our label as a crutch or strut our stuff and take our labels out for a spin in the road less traveled that may make a difference. Embracing our labels make us proud of what we have to bring to "the table", at work, at home, on the field, for the team. Each label comes with a history, a story, a perspective. We should not let the label hinder our successes or get in the way of our dreams, especially if it will negatively affect what we love, who we love. And guess what, having many labels is a good thing. I wish some people would see that.

Labels and love go together. Whether you get the knock off label at a certain time in your life, that's OK. Don't get hung up on the superficial meaning of the label, but of the true value and intention of what the label has to offer... Yes, yes, you all know what I a talking about. Our labels define us and add to the passion of the LOVEs, the vocation we so love because it also defines who we are, the place we love to work at because of the value, skills and talents, our label, brings to the bigger goals; to the person we so deeply love who supports and cheers for us in gray and gloomy days when not even the brightest label can make us smile.

Labels and love go together... Having a firm grip on recognizing the real label from the occasional knock off (DISCLAIMER, if I could get my hands on the Michael Kors knock off I bought in China, but left in the taxi, I would- lol!!), will help us perhaps define better what it is we truly love. This is a round-about way of saying, knowing first who you are will surely help guide you in life as you define your passions, likes and dislikes, loves of your life. :)

I am this and I am that... those are my labels and they make me who I am, and who I am is the person that deeply and truly loves her vocation, her label as educator. I shout out (embracing my label of loud and life-lovin Puerto Rican!) my label of loving what I do and what I work for...

Love your label, label your love.

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