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The Outsider – in Hindsight

Posted by Didi Gorman on

Our post today is bitter-sweet. It starts with a story about exclusion, but has a happy ending.

Many years ago I had a personal encounter with a form of social exclusion when I moved to a new town and attempted to make new friends there, only to discover a community too close-knit for an outsider to become part of. However much I tried –and it lasted for a good few years– I never became fully integrated there; I simply didn’t belong.

Although that was a long time ago and I had since left that place and made many other friends, I hadn’t forgotten how frustrating and bitter the experience had been. In recent years, partly due to my interest in social dynamics and partly due to observing similar experiences in other people, I have decided to write a series of essays on the topic of social isolation.

The spike in interest these essays have seen on social media has made me realize, in perspective, that I’m actually quite grateful for having experienced a form of exclusion – as unpleasant as it had been back then.

Of course I couldn’t see it then, but the glimpse I had been given into what social rejection was like, would later transform into an asset – that of awareness. As soon as I realized that writing down my experience would benefit fellow outsiders out there, I was on it. The disempowerment has thus transformed into empowerment.

Had I been warmly welcomed into that social circle all those years ago, it would never have occurred to me to write about exclusion.

If this echoes with you, I have several other related posts on similar topics: The Outsider, Real Faces behind the Stigma, When Racism Hit close to Home.

By Didi Gorman