Student Narrative: “Flawed”

Labels

By Sally M.

Indecisive. Unintelligent. Competitive. Everyone is flawed. Everyone has one major flaw. And it’s out for everyone to see.

Stubborn.

That’s what I’ve been labelled as. Literally. When I was two months old they tattooed it on my arm for the world to see.

You see, the thing with this is that people see your flaw and judge you.

I’ve been rejected and I’ve rejected. My label constantly made me feel bad about myself. Meeting Ruby changed all that.

I was walking across the street when I noticed her walking beside me.

“Hello.” she said.

I guessed she was talking to someone else so I ignored her, but soon realized we were the only ones crossing. Once we crossed the street I kept walking down the sidewalk to get to my bus stop. She kept following me, so I tried to peek at her arm to see what she was labelled as.

“Trying to judge me already?” she laughed.

I looked down, embarrassed.

“It’s fine. You could’ve just asked you know, I would’ve told you.”

I decided that she’s a good person and I didn’t want to know her flaw because it might ruin my perspective of her. I shook my head and we kept walking.

“I’m Ruby, by the way.”

“Hazel, nice to meet you.”

We kept walking and after a moment of silence, I decided to tell her my flaw.

“Stubborn.” I said, “That’s my label.”

“Um… Strong-minded.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“You and everyone else sees ‘stubborn’. I see ‘strong-minded’.”

“But my tattoo-”

“Only knows negativity. The people that label everyone lack imagination. Our tattoos tell us who to be and we act like what it says because we think we’re supposed to. It’s not who we are. It’s what we think we have to be.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well, if someone was labelled ‘emotionless’ in a world where people labelled clumsy are clumsy, they probably won’t say how they feel. If there weren’t any labels, don’t you think that person would try to express themselves?”

“Well, I guess so. Is that why you see ‘strong-minded’ when everyone else sees ‘stubborn’?”

“Yup. I see what people would be if we didn’t have labels.”

“So what about ‘bossy’?”

“‘Leader’.”

“‘Conceited’?”

“‘Confident’.”

“‘Indecisive’?”

“‘Open-minded’.”

“I never thought about it that way.”

“No one ever does.”

We got to the bus stop and I didn’t want to leave, but I knew I had to get home.

“Oh, I have to go now.” I said.

“Oh, alright. Bye then.”

She turned to leave and as she did I saw her tattoo.

‘Detached’.

I saw abandoned.

The bus came to a stop in front of me and the doors opened. I hesitated and the bus driver asked if I was coming on.

I looked back at Ruby walking away and I wondered where she was going. Home, to her family? Or maybe home, to no one at all.

“Excuse me? Are you getting on this bus or not?” the bus driver asked again, annoyed.

“Um..”

I turned back to Ruby. She was about to turn the corner. I couldn’t catch up to her anyway.

“Yeah, sorry.”

I got on the bus and sat down. It passed by Ruby and I saw her tattoo again. It said the same thing, except the ink looked boldened.

I felt as if my own tattoo had changed.

‘You abandoned her’.

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