No Labels Allowed

Wil & Ivy

(Wil and his friend, Ivy)

Two of my pet peeves are the statements, “That doesn’t sound like you” and “I’m the type of person who…”

It makes me cringe to be labeled like this. The most empowering ability we have as human beings is to change our perspectives, and therefore, our behaviors.

We may or may not want to change certain things about ourselves, but whatever we choose to do, we have this ability within us.

Of course, certain traits are much more difficult to change than others. If I’m in a highly stressful situation, I typically fall back on old behaviors that may not work well for me. But, the benefit I have now, that I didn’t have in the past, is having experienced how different reactions feel and work for me. Now, once I catch myself falling into an old behavior that doesn’t work well for me, I have the ability to change it.  Having that ability is one of the most empowering things about being a human being.

As with most of us, I’ve had a number of life experiences that have shaped and molded me, and will continue to experience many more. There are things I’ve had the courage to do now, that I never would have years ago. Overcoming my fears, and accomplishing these things, has given me the courage to tackle more.

I still have plenty of fears and insecurities about things. But, having the experience and knowledge that I can change my thinking to accomplish what I desire, is a confidence builder in and of itself.

I have three children, and I know better than to label them. I have twins, and those two have flip-flopped their interests so much, that if I told you one was the animal lover, next week the other would be.

My son has Down syndrome, and the last thing I want is a label to define him. I’ll never forget when we went to visit his Endocrinologist(to check his thyroid), and this doctor asked me what milestones my son, Wil, had reached.

If milestones were made in steps A, B, C, many times Wil has achieved step A, then skipped right over B to reach C. When he was learning to walk, he could put one foot in front of the other on a balance beam, while someone held his hand, before he could walk. In the milestone book, you are not supposed to be able to put one foot in front of the other before walking.

So, as I’m telling the doc Wil’s milestones that he achieved in this “out of order” way, this actually came out of his mouth, “Oh, he can’t do that.” I found a new endocrinologist faster than you can say endocrinologist.

Thankfully, the new doc got it. This time, when I explained how Wil doesn’t follow a specific pattern, she handed me a sheet full of milestones, and asked me to check off all the ones Wil had achieved. No labels, no putting him in a box, she accepted Wil doing things as Wil does things.

So, I do things as I do them, and as new experiences come and go, I have the ability to keep the traits that work for me, and the freedom to change the traits that don’t. Do me and yourself a favor, and don’t label either one of us. Revel in this freedom we have as humans to constantly reinvent ourselves.

All the best,



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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kodiak My Little Grizzly
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 09:23:06

    Funny how our kids are outside the box… Special needs or not!!! 🙂


  2. meredith0929
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 23:25:36

    So true! I think its funny that when my typical kids hit milestones out of order, it’s no big deal because each child is unique, but if Evelyn, who has Ds does, everyone is so concerned that it will harm her development. It’s as though she is expected to conform to the “typical” model exactly, while they are allowed more freedom to veer from the norm because they were born “typical.”


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