We all do it, don't we?
I know I do, despite my protestations and best intentions.
For some reason, humans seem to have a deep-seated need to label themselves. Whether it's because we want to 'belong', or stand out from the crowd, or simply to make ourselves feel somehow special, we all tag ourselves with labels that define who we are and how we want the world to see us.
Human nature I guess, and perfectly natural. After all, who doesn't want to belong, stand out or be special?
But what puzzles me is why we all seem to feel the need to drop those labels into conversations at every opportunity.
It's fair enough when someone says "As an educator, I question the value of competitive teaching", after all it is entirely relevant to the subject.
But if I was to say to you: "As an atheist, I like cake", you'd probably give me more than a sideways look. After all, since when did non-believers have a monopoly of scrummy baked goods?
How does being a parent/Christian/vegan/geek/artist/eco warrier/lesbian/PTA chairman/Chief Rabbi make your opinion about the best anti-freeze to put in our cars as the winter chill closes any more valid than the rest of humanity's?
We know that, we're not stupid. But we all keep doing it. Preaching our own little sermon and announcing our speciality at the drop of a hat - even when it's entirely unrelated.
Anyone who has read more than a couple of lines of this blog will know that I'm 1) English 2) living abroad 3) a non-meat eater 4) married with a teenage son 5) juggling work with family 6) battling the bulge 7) stuggling to make ends meet 8) a bit of a foody.... and a whole lot more.
That's quite a list for a Baby Boomer (Tag No.9) who claims to hate being labelled, eh?
We just can't help it. Even if we manage to avoid starting every other sentence with "As a mother...", we can't seem to stop ourselves from dropping (not so) subtle hints when we Tweet our lunch menus - "Mmmm, veggy chilli. Nom nom" (guilty, as charged) - or so-called self-deprecating remarks - "I'm such a geek".
So, maybe it's time to stop slapping tags on ourselves (and everyone else)... ...or at least coming up with a few new ones?
From now on I'm gonna stop thinking of myself as a big-boned, middle class, working mum with a Radio 4 fixation.
No, I'm gonna be a web-footed, ambidextrous, bossed-eyed eco warrior with penchant for truffles.
Just gimme a moment to climb out of my box...
...and into my new one.