The Perks Of Being An Outsider


Diriye Osman

Beloved reader,


I don't know about you, but I've been an outsider my entire life. As a fey little creature, I was reminded repeatedly as a child that I didn't make sense as a person, and that I didn't matter.


This messaging was telegraphed to me in explicit terms at home and at school, and as I grew older and became more autonomous, it was pointed out to me again and again in romantic dynamics, in the arts world, in friendships, and so on.


It reached a point where I couldn't leave my house without pedestrians of all ethnicities and cultural locations openly gawking at me as I schlepped down the street.


So what do you do when your personhood and your wonkiness, which is to say your humanness, baffles everyone you encounter? You lean into the elastic beauty of this so-called strangeness, and turn the weirdness quota up to eleventy-five.


It's the only way to be, beloved reader.


If the good folx in your orbit are so unimaginative as to see you as an alien, you tap into the deepest corners of your forest-wild imagination, and you become an alien of your own design.


This is self-invention as survival tactic and self-liberation.


I walk out of my house every day rocking the most fabulous, bizarro outfits. I walk down the street feeling confident and sexy and dynamic simply because I refuse to be afraid.


It takes courage and strength to be who you are, beloved reader. It takes vision and resilience to honour your humanity again and again, knowing very well that it is your inalienable right to bring the totality of your selfhood to the table.


When you get to that point in your development, you'll make friends a lot easier, your familial bonds will strengthen, your loveships will deepen, and you will laugh at the joyous stupidity of daily life.


Most of all, you will stop being afraid.


With love and solidarity,


Diriye


Image by DIRIYE OSMAN and STEVE BRIGHT.


Song of the moment: 'They Say I'm Different' by BETTY DAVIS.