Living The Other is, well, as it sounds: living as the Other. What does that mean?
The Other is simply the opposite of the Self. However it is you define yourself, that which does not fit your ingroup is, subconsciously, to you or your community, an Other.
If this concept is new to you, here are some definitions that may be of use:
Otherness : the state of being different from and alien to the social identity of a person and to the identity of the Self... the condition of Otherness is a person's non-conformity to and with the social norms of society.
Othering : The practice of Othering means to exclude and displace individuals from the social group to the margins of society, where mainstream social norms do not apply to them, for being the Other.
Some people, I believe, experience the effects of Othering more so than others.
Do you ever get stared at for a difference in appearance? Do you get remarks and assumptions about what your occupation or livelihood might be like purely because of your race or nationality? Do people think they can trick you and insist that they are right and you are wrong because of your biological gender?
Perhaps you can relate.
I personally think that I haven't had to endure some terribly harsh form of prejudice during my short 25 years of living, and I hope to God I won't ever have to. But that does not mean that I have never been a victim of prejudice in which my Otherness is stressed upon by...others.
A Bit About Me
Nationality / Race / Ethnicity:
I've been an immigrant half of my life, and in that time I've grown to become more aware of my Otherness. You don't quite belong here, but you don't quite belong back home either. And then there have been occasions where I am reminded (by strangers, usually) that I am from an inferior country.
Being a female has, on many occasions, made me feel very self-conscious, often finding myself with thoughts of, I should not be here; as if I am misplaced, and in the country I've been living in, where it is uncommon for women to go wherever she pleases by herself, this feeling is no exaggeration.
I am a Muslim, and for a long time my low self-esteem stemmed from the looks and stares some people just can't seem to avoid giving you because you walked around in a headscarf. For years, I harboured fears of travelling to countries and regions with very little or non-existent Muslim populations. The very thought alone caused me to tremble with irrational fear.
If you think about it, every single person is an Other to someone else. It's no different a concept to me than Yin and Yang; the balance of polar opposites coexisting.
When have you been made to feel like an Other? Perhaps while working in an environment dominated by the opposite sex, or while living in a country in which people of your skin tone and appearance is scarce.
All blogs posted here - however unrelated they may seem - are all written observations, suggestions and anecdotes based on my experience living the other.
And that is what this website is about.
Nothing here is intended to sow dissension, and definitely not to offend anyone. In fact, I'd love for this to be a diary for any who wish to share their stories as an Other. Be they good or unfortunate, there is no shame in being the Other; harm is only inflicted by the hands of those who aren't able to value the natural coexistence of the Other and the Self.
"Understanding the fact that we often automatically see members of "other" groups as "all the same" can help us step back and reconsider aspects of our social world. At the end of the day, we're all human. And we all have a ticket on the same ride."
― Glenn Geher, Ph.D. ; www.psychologytoday.com