A few years ago, my MacBook battery ceased. If the power cord was removed, I had about thirty seconds to connect the power cord. I was unable to use my laptop at my leisure, the way a laptop is meant to be used. I was bound to the cord, which was limiting. Sure, I could take my laptop the the coffee shop, but only if I could find a place to plug in. Generally speaking, it didn’t seem to be a hindrance. A few days ago I took the plunge and dropped a hundred bucks at the Apple store for a new battery. It was monumental. When I got home, I sat on the couch with my MacBook. Wirelessly. I didn’t realize what I was missing out on. It seems silly and petty, but coincidentally, I had published my “One More Episode” zine the same day. Dirty Boots 004 is a perzine about shedding labels that hinder my existence. Light bulb.
While my MacBook could still function, and I was still able to go (almost) anywhere my heart desired, I was still bound by a wire. I had somewhat of a revelation. How I felt about my MacBook debacle was completely relatable in regards to labels. The only thing it changed was the distance I could venture from the outlet. The computer was fine. It was the same. But, I simple had a new sense of power. Freedom.
A friend and I talked over my zine, discussing labels. She made some great points. When you are first exploring a facet, labels are fine. They can be an incredible guide. For example, when you’re vegan, it’s surprising to learn how many foods contain animal products. It’s nice to have a black and white idea of what is “vegan” and what is not. The bumper lanes at the bowling alley. It’s nice to have guidance. After a while, it becomes second nature. Reading nutritional labels doesn’t seem like a daunting task. Avoiding animal products is no longer a speed bump. However, after a while, you can remove the bumpers and continue living as you always did. Nothing has changed. You’ve lifted the barrier that protects you from the gutter, but you’re still using the same form. And, chances are, after years of bowling with bumpers, you’ve got a pretty great handle on the situation. Strikes and spares are no big deal.
“Once you name something, you strip it from all of its possibility. You tether it to a singular definition, and it is unable to thrive. Enough room to breathe and extend our gaze to the horizon, but not enough to bear the badge of freedom.”
If you have pigeonholed yourself into a box, I suggest giving this zine a read. Some folks can grow and thrive as they categorize themselves into religion, politics or lifestyles, but I find it to be quite inhibiting. I hope this perzine gives you a little insight on my view of labels and the obstruction they cause. Pick it up in the Storenvy shop.