What are labels?
Labels are words we use to describe ourselves as. You can go your entire life without ever thinking about this subject and get along fine, and I would have never thought about this subject if it was not for my English assignment on what we label ourselves as. Because of that assignment I decided to make this post, because I realized my labels have had a huge impact on my life and these labels affect us a lot more than I previously thought they had.
Why You Should Care?
Labels have had a impact on our lives. The best way to explain this is to give an example, that example being ME. I feel like I go by many labels, them being Gamer, Programmer, Streamer, Nerd, Star Wars Fan, GSN Member, Brother, Friend, Christian, the list keeps going on, I can be here all day listing things of that people have called me or what I consider myself as. Some of these labels I choose to have, while others have been given to me. Whether that has been by fate or others pinning me with that labeling. I am proud of most of my labels, and if given the chance I would not change a single one I listed. All these labels have had an impact on my life. Though the one that I feel has had the largest is me being a Gamer.
Have you ever made a falling row of Dominoes and once you push down the first one in the row the rest come down with it? Well that is the Domino effect, and I am guessing at least 99% of you said yes. But for some reason if you never played with dominoes as a child here is a video of what I am talking about.
Gaming for was my first Domino. My earliest memories were playing Star Wars Rogue Squadron on my dinosaur of a computer and though I could never get past the 4th or 5th level I loved that game! When I was about 4 I started playing on the Playstation 2. And this is when I became a gamer. I would play whatever game I could get my hands on from Gran Turismo 3 to Battlefront 2 (still one of my favorite games to this day). I fell in love with gaming, to me it was a great pastime that also allowed me to enter the mythical worlds I loved like Star Wars or LOTR. From there I started making friends that were also Gamers, and a lot of the friends I made 10+ years ago are still my friends to this day. Skip ahead about 7 years I was in 6th grade in a class all by myself knowing no one. And me being the shy kid I was (I still am shy but I am a lot better than I use to be) I did not want to talk to anyone, but then I overheard someone talking about video games and I was like “Hey! I know what this kid is talking about maybe I can try to start a conversation with him and make a new friend.” Well I went up to him and we started talking and we almost instantly became great friends. Anyways a few weeks later he told me about programming. He offered to teach me what he knew and I accepted and a few days later I felt like the coolest kid in the school because I could write a .bat file that generates random numbers endlessly. But that is how I started programming, and its all because of the domino effect because if I was never a gamer I probably would never have met my friend who got me into that.
Well skip ahead another two years to 8th grade, now I actually know how to make useful programs in Visual Basic and was trying to teach myself Java (this is also when I learned to hate Java). This is also the first time I played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, this game was the first that I truly fell in love with. Not only did it allow me to enter a mythical world that I came to love but it was the first game that allowed me to enter that world then do whatever I wanted to do in it! Skyrim is the game that made me love truly love video games and consider them as an art and not just a pastime. This love made me want to create video games and it has given me the dream to go and create video games like it. So now at this point being a Gamer has allowed me to make great friends, introduced me to programming, and has given me a career path that I want to pursue. But the next big thing that this label was going to do for me was about to come.
Fast forward now about 1 and a half years. It was late May of my freshmen year, the school year was almost over and my friend comes up to me and says “Hey Dean, I found this awesome game mode for Arma 3. It is called Altis Life you should join ***** (staring out name because I dont think he would like me posting his name) and I” I said “Sure why not.” So I get home from school I boot up my computer and launch Arma 3. Next thing you know I am being robbed at gunpoint with my friend on our way out of Kavala. Well after that we lose all the money we had on us we did a few package delivery missions and then logged off for the night. I get back on the next day after school and keep playing because I had a ton of fun and I slowly learned how to play Altis Life better and make more money and the more I played the more fun I had. Now skip ahead to August 26 2014, I have been playing on this server for about 4 months and I see that there is a public cop slot open. I said to myself “Oh this sounds like fun, why not try it?” I hop into the pub cop slot and I am told to get on teamspeak to communicate with the other cops. Well I head over to the servers website gsngaming.com and make an account on their forums join the teamspeak and open up the cop fines page. Little did I know that I was about to stick around with GSN Gaming for 1 and a half years, make great friends, and even become a member!
All these things have happened because I am a gamer. They all are a single domino in that giant row just that have been knocked over, I have no clue how this label will affect me in the future but it has been a positive influence in my life so far, and has allowed me to find make new friends, obtain new hobbies, and meet amazing people around the world. So I can not wait to see where it takes me next.
Everyone’s labels affect them. You may not notice it right away but I guarantee you can connect everything that has happened to you, whether it be good or bad to a label you have. Like I said earlier labels have affected me a lot more than I previously thought and they play a huge role in our live’s.
How I view labels
I see labels as worlds. If you take away the words we use to describe ourselves as there really is not that much of a difference between you and I. But at the same time that is what makes them so important to me. We are all individuals, we all like and dislike different things. These labels are used to describe those likes and dislikes or just who we are. But labels are also not an excuse to say you are better or worse than anyone because in the end we are all humans. We are all the same, labels are just the things that we or others put on us to describe our who we are.
My teacher in our assignment wanted us to explain how we were going to move on from our labels, well I do not think I can. Moving on from my labels would be like me saying I am not happy with who I am and I want to change. But I do not want to change, I never want to stop being considered as a gamer, programmer or streamer because this is who I am. Its important that you know your labels because they have made you who you are and it is also important that you know and accept the labels of others.
So, my challenge to you is, think about your labels and how they have affected your life. I found this a lot of fun to sit down and reflect on my life and how my labels have affected me and I want you to do the same. You do not have to write a 1000+ word blog post but you can just take 10 minutes out of your day and think about your labels.
This blog post can also be found on blog.thespacecoder.com.
Thank you for reading,