Let’s Stop Putting Labels on People

Scarlet LetterNot too long ago I was at a business networking event and I struck up a conversation about what I do with someone I didn’t know. When I told her I wrote novels she honest to goodness looked at me and said, “Oh, so that means you must have ADD.” (Attention Deficient Disorder–a mental illness.)

Needless to say I was flabbergasted that someone would actually make such a hurtful, not to mention ignorant, remark. I looked her in the eye and said, “Well, in my line of work, that would actually be considered a job requirement.” It immediately shut her up and she walked away, which is exactly the reaction I wanted.

Few things make me bristle like people who insist on putting stigmatizing labels on other people and branding them with scarlet letters. Why must they do that?  Is it because there is some narrow definition of “normal,” out there, and creative, imaginative people simply don’t fit that so-called norm? Is that why creative people must be stigmatized for being creative?  Or is it because making other people look bad is how they make themselves look good? I suspect the answer is both. What I do know for certain is there are people out there who simply do not like creative people. Period. A few years ago I read an article instructing parents on how to “reprogram” their children if they showed any sign of being, “right-brained creative” so they could be made into, “left-brained analytical.” Apparently being “creative” is something else parents now have to fear.

Newsflash for all of you left-brained, self-obsessed psychiatrists and psychologists out there, (and yes, that means you with the MD or the PhD after your name.) I am a right-brained creative and I’m damn proud of it. It’s who God made me to be. And guess what? Even though I’m a, “wacko,” by your so-called, “standards,” I still manage to get myself out of bed every morning. I practice proper hygiene. I wear the same clothes that “normal” people wear. My house may not be June Cleaver clean, but you won’t find uncategorized life forms growing in it either. I’m not only able to perform my job, I even run a publishing business, and somehow I manage to get the job done for my clients.

So, Miss Smart-Alec, who the are you to pin your scarlet letter on me by labeling me with “ADD” because my job involves using creative skills?  Here’s a thought. Why don’t you worry more about your own life, and stay out of mine.