Letter to Labels – Kelly Habegger


Dear Labels,

It has been eighteen years since you entered my life and can I please request a little personal space? You always seem to stalk me. Whether I travel to another country, stay in one place and explore what it has to offer, or simply walk around campus, you always like to tag along and stamp another word onto my body. You never seem to leave my side whenever I try making new connections. You always enjoy watching me struggle with the consequences of the marks on my body and how they affect the interactions I try to build.

Since I was a young child, you’ve been assigned to me. I barely knew what you were doing until later on in life. I grew up being the “Director’s Daughter” and that’s all you ever put on me for fourteen years. You called me out for it and made sure others knew that too. I lost a ton of confidence because of your assigned work; did you know that? Do you remember that time when you sat on the steps while I comforted a friend, the other watching my movements and speech before telling me subtly that I did the wrong thing. Right then and there you stamped on “Worst Friend Ever.” Why did you do that? There is no need to put that on me; I tried! Was I wrong for trying to help someone that I care about? What about that time you stamped “Idiot” all over my body because of my attempts to get a better grade in a class, causing me to scratch and itch? Maybe you should get a better ink.

You’ve been harder to avoid since I moved away to college. I fear the marks you put on me since the day I was born. All I see are your stamps in the mirror, your eyes peering over my shoulder, your malicious grin. You’re ready to put more on me; I know you are. Every time I demand a restraining order for you, you manage to find a way around it. I cannot see you and that is the worst part.

I will ask one more time now that I send you this letter. Stop tailing me to my classes and to my visits with family and friends; stop making me feel useless and lost in this world. Your marks have burned into my skin and caused irritation. I have tried countless times to stop you and I am not about to lose this war. You will not win. I will not lose to your labels — not now, not ever.


Your Favorite Loser

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