I caught a few snippets of the 2010 Miss USA Pageant, and I noticed something. The two hosts identified these 51 gorgeous women by the states they represented. So, I can’t even tell you the name of the woman who was crowned at the end. I can only refer to her as “Michigan.” She wasn’t even Miss Michigan. She was just “Michigan.”
I’m sure that “Michgan,” will now be known as “USA,” (and maybe then “Universe”) but I can’t help but wonder how much it sucks to be addressed not by your name, but by the entity that you represent. Then it got me thinking about labels. Just as Michigan wore (literally) the label of her state, many of our outer attributes label us.
Just recently I was placed in a position where I was able to interact with many people, and before I got to speak to them and learn their names and parts of their personal stories, I referred to them by what they looked like. So, I could say I spent the weekend with “plaid shirt girl,” “blue-eyed couple,” “linebacker” and an assortment of other characters who I labeled based on their attire or physical features. But as I actually got to know these people, I was able to remove those labels and replace them with actual identities.
On the flip side, I recently scanned the magazine covers at the grocery store and noticed that Jessica Simpson decided to go makeup-less on the cover of Marie Claire and many other celebrities including Kim Kardashian and the women of The Today Show decided to challenge themselves and go on the job without makeup. In doing so, they took off their labels that say they have to be airbrushed, and look good all the time and they looked like real people rather than just the images that are plastered across TV screens and billboards.
All this makes me realize that you can’t judge people by what they look like on the outside, especially if you don’t know who they truly are on the inside. But when you’re willing to peel back those labels, you can find something that is truly beautiful. And in regards to my own experiences, I’ve decided that it’s not wise to judge a person from a mile away until I’ve walked that mile with them. If I can actually do that, it will truly be beautiful.