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Embracing other

Other | adjective  (oth·​er | ˈə-t͟hər  ) Disturbingly or threateningly different 

Today, I was publicly referred to as ‘other’. It’s not new. But on this happening, the sting was sharp and fresh. A wound opened up…

At that moment, I find that I am falling back through the decades until I reach the door of my eleven-year-old self. She is surprised to see me, but she welcomes me in.

“How many years have you had to travel back to find me?” she asks. Her question is gently framed by a wry, cheeky smile.
“At least three decades,” I reply. My voice heavy with the weight of my sulky bottom lip.
“Ahhh,” she says as she hands me my old armour. Tarnished and battle-worn, covered in the stickers of all the little victories my younger self had won.

Feeling hot and tired from the time travel, I say with all the might of a rising inflexion, “Really, do I have to do this again?”

My younger self shoots me a knowing smile, which quite frankly, I find really irritating.
“What has changed over the three decades?” she asks.
“I have,” I reply with a mouth full of sullenness.
“Then you won’t be needing the armour,” and she smiles as she takes it back.
I fall through the decades and arrive back in the present.

So today, I’ll do what my eleven-year-old self couldn’t do. I will embrace being threateningly different. Here’s to all the others. Cracks in a socially constructed reality that let in the light. Head for the cracks - that’s where the future lies.

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