Don’t Box Me In: Labels

Label jars not peopleLabels drive me nuts. Truly they do. I am one of those individuals who consistently does not clearly fit into a category, a fact which challenges the sense of order which some people rely on. I know that I am not a “typical” anything, so I get pretty bent out of shape when someone expresses confusion because I cannot be fit into a nicely labeled box. I find myself wanting to ask, “What is a typical (doctor, 40-something, Californian, woman, etc.) to you, anyway?”

I have never traveled the beaten path, ever. This has defined my existence from conception, which came about in a somewhat unorthodox fashion. I can’t even check one box for ethnicity on surveys due to my Asian and Caucasian backgrounds. I looked different from EVERYONE in my grade school class. I was the only 16 year old in my class at high school graduation. I experienced college in a different way, then zigzagged through all the interests I wanted to explore, applying to medical school at the age of 30. By that time, I had modeled, acted, done graphic design and fashion design, worked retail, worked office jobs, worked as a personal assistant for a celebrity, became a beauty pageant queen, worked as a fitness trainer, and worked as an optometric technician.

Even as a IFBB Bodybuilding Pro, my division (Bikini) is considered a bit controversial due to the fact that this division is constantly being redefined. I am, at the age of 47, much older than most IFBB Bikini Pros. I am one of a select few physician-Pros in the industry. I LIKE standing out in a crowd, whether it is my physical appearance, my educational background, or my life experiences which set me apart from the crowd.
I am also intrigued by others who in similar fashion boldly contradict labels and stereotypes as they navigate through life. It is human nature to express individuality, to be recognized and set apart from the crowd. Hopefully that is something I will continue to do, since I enjoy it so much. Instead of having my footsteps muddied by those of so many others along a beaten path, I will always forge my own course.


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