The Concept of Other – Pt 2.

9 Dec

The whole concept of “other” is strange to me. Being “Foreign”, “Alien” “Different” has negative connotations and represents fear of the unknown.
When I was a child, I didn’t “fit in” with the boys rough and tumble in the playground. I didn’t feel comfortable with the gender role created for us – boys in blue play football, girls in pink play with dolls. I wanted to play with dolls. I was “different”
With my friends in secondary school, I felt excluded. It was a multicultural, mixed faith comprehensive school. I identified as Asian, but not Asian enough.
With my Pakistani Muslim peers, I wasn’t either Pakistani or Muslim enough. I was more “Punjabi” because I wasn’t from the Mirpur and I didn’t speak the native language.
With my Sikh and Hindu friends, who stated their families originated from India, in particular from the Punjab, I wasn’t a true “Punjabi” as I was neither Sikh nor Hindu. I was “different”.
My identity seemed mixed up, like a mongrel ready to be put down.
Within my own family, i couldn’t quite connect with my brothers, who seemed to mock me whenever they had the chance. I was slow and dim witted, a loner and isolated in my own world. I was “different” and on the peripherals of the brotherly dynamics, hardly ever included in the socialisation of siblings, although the rivalry fell with abundance. A machismo world full of masculinity and hormones, Friday and Saturday night was club night and I stayed at home. I didn’t “fit in”.
i didn’t fit in because I didn’t talk sports, sex or state “She’s fit!”
I didn’t fall into the category of heteronormativity.
I laid the blame at my asexuality.
When I explored my sexuality, visited several pubs and clubs, opened my eyes to the world of homosexuality, I didn’t fit in. I had no label to hold my name. I wasn’t a “type” that could fit in. Not an otter, bear or whatever label is fashionable. I had no boxes to “fit in”
My religiosity was hidden. No prayers 5 times a day, or a pilgrimage to hajj. I didn’t show my faith, so couldn’t possibly be Muslim. I didn’t “fit in” like birds of a feather. Although i have read the Qur’an and the Bible and carry my own moral compass, worked with the most vulnerable in society, the poor and the needy, provide to charity in my own way. The colour of my skin highlights my heritage and origins, but when I speak, my voice is clear (as if you can’t be one colour and sound like another)
I’ve been told even my voice is “different” – a hybrid of London, Birmingham, with a slight twang of “theatrics” thrown in.
Am i from the North or the South? I am neither. My voice and accent is just part of me and who I am.
I met my partner who doesn’t say “You’re different”.
He knows who I am and loves me for who I am.
Our hearts, minds and spirits transcend the superficial world of “you don’t fit in”. We are so different, yet similar. We are chalk and cheese, like two worlds colliding. Yet we fit so well together.
We acknowledge and recognise that acceptance of others is key to moving forward.
I recognise we all have issues, stresses and factors that shape us. We all have identities which are unique.
Our DNA tells us we are unique individuals.
All our identities are multifaceted.

Did you know in the late 1940s and 1950s, the sci-fi movies created in America at the time were a part of a political propaganda, at a time when Americans felt they were being “invaded” by other countries, and policies, especially in relation to communism? and isn’t it ironic that here in the 21st century, USA is pedalling more Superhero/sci fi movies than ever before at a time when there is a global crisis, a fear of the unknown and countries being “flooded” with immigrants ?? Just think about that for one moment.

We fear the unknown, yet we say we love the “uniqueness” of individuals and to celebrate our “differences”.
In todays world, there is so much division, we can’t just focus on the differences and ignore all the similarities.
As in my relationship, It’s the similarities which bonds us together.

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