Being Unabashedly Other
Note: this is going to be a fairly disjointed collection of thoughts that have been bubbling in my head for years. Contrary to my official blog at aishasie.nl, I aim for this one to be much more train-of-thought, so expect posts to be a lot more unpolished.
I've known all my life that I was “other” – whether by the color of my skin and foldless shape of my almond eyes, the quiet shy nature of my personality, our Asian family dynamics that differed so much from my Dutch peers, the range of my nerdy interests and hobbies, my having online friends before being online was considered cool – so somewhere along the way, I stopped expecting to fall within the norm of anything. I stopped expecting being anything than “other”.
It's not that I didn't care, not yet anyway. In fact I would say that part of my shyness was that I did care about all this quite a bit and thus was ashamed of what made me “other” in whatever social context that was then most relevant, preferring to stay out of the limelight to keep anyone from noticing.
But there was a hard line inside me somewhere that said, at a young age, despite that shame, despite that awkwardness – I was not going to be able to turn myself white no matter what I did, and any previous attempts by myself at being or others at encouraging me to be an extrovert or non-nerd have been entirely futile anyway.
So I was going to stop trying to be “normal”, and just be me. Just “other”.