Labels. Labels are fraught with meaning and can be difficult for a variety of meanings.
Adiba tackles the label survivor in this way …
I agree 100% with Adiba. The label survivor doesn’t feel right because cancer will never be past tense for me, it is always present and will be until it murders me. I’m fully aware that the American Cancer Society defines a survivor as a person who has been diagnosed with cancer and that the label is appropriate as soon as one has lived one day with cancer. I just can’t embrace that definition, it flies in the face of reason to me since that’s not what the word itself means.
And yet, if the label resonates, use it.
Just don’t impose the label on others.
I’ve been tagged in photos on social media and labeled as a survivor by several people, mostly those who have had early stage disease. When I’ve politely asked to be labeled something else since that label doesn’t resonate with me, I’ve received a variety of responses. The worst have been those people who insist that they can label me whatever they want, that it doesn’t matter if I don’t believe the label applies to me. Those same people then blocked me for being “negative.” Others have listened, asked questions, and adjusted.
The bottom line for me is that labels are personal, individual, and cannot be imposed. We all need to get into the habit of asking others what label resonates with them. Just like those people who don’t identify as binary (I shared Theo’s story earlier this month), those of us in the MBC community often defy categorization.
And that’s ok because that’s real life.
And now you know more about why labels aren’t universal and those of us with MBC should be asked what resonates with them!