Updated: Oct 4, 2020
She often heard the word ‘outcast’ in her life and fragmented a vague definition for herself based on the examples life had placed in front of her. But little did she know, that the true definitions of most ambiguous terms were often found through our own personal experiences.
By basic definition, an outcast is one that is refused acceptance by society but what has always bewildered her is the ‘society’ we speak of. Are we just observers or actual constituents of that very society which holds the power to ‘outcast’?
An Asian girl who was given more than the base line of expectations, she had the “privilege” of being educated in a good school, to study abroad, to have the freedom to work professionally and wasn’t oppressed with religious scrutiny either. Her life from the lens of normalcy was right within those parameters. Now, I’m sure you’re confused. What would she know about being an outcast? She was evidently given the privilege to be a virtuous part of the society and had more liberty than the average Asian girl child. Maybe, the fact of the matter was that in spite of her privilege, she still felt lack; clearly just a spoilt ungrateful girl who was never satisfied.
A human could be given all the privilege of the universe but still never feel part of a certain ‘society’. If privilege was the equivalent to freedom, this world wouldn’t lose educated, rich kids to suicide. This is her version of being an outcast.
Her mind has never functioned in an ordinary manner, it was always trying to speak about things larger than her conventional surroundings could comprehend. She thought in emotions, often coerced as being ‘emotionally impulsive’. She felt with her whole heart; accepting all her highs and lows with no restraints, but found herself often labelled as ‘bipolar’. Parents are quick at labeling a child’s outbursts and rebellion with certain personality traits so they can make sense of that behavior rather than ever focusing on why they act out the way they do.
This undoubtedly makes the parent more at ease but never really finds the true reasons behind all these behavioral changes. When you work with incomplete understanding of an issue, be ready to battle with crazier outbursts ahead; empathy never consists of quick fixes.
As an inquisitive teen and then adult, she realized how parents claimed to know the disposition of their children, which in most cases was just a disturbed version of their personality and potential, and instantaneously attempt to confine them into a label. I guess this is what STEM has taught us; find reasons for abnormal behavior through the most reductionist approach possible and conclude with yet another label.
Today, we live in a world where people are able to showcase a chosen face to society. This makes her wonder whether the human race would ever see people behind their evident filters, achievements and competencies. In her ideal world, she’d strip all these things down and try to discern why these wandering souls want themselves to be perceived in this manner. Why are all their strengths, certificates and connections worth mentioning but their unique quirks, weaknesses, and empowering struggles, won’t fit the bill?
Some may say everyone puts up a facade only to showcase the best in them, but why does this ‘best’ not depict the challenges that you overcome persistently, the factors that make you, you? And for this she is not apologetic. And maybe that is why this ordinary girl who has more than the average, who can’t reason with people who judge the most innate aspects of an individual, feels like an outcast.
The most basic human emotions can be torn apart because they don’t fit the ‘normal’ order. It’s amazing how some people have successfully fought for revolutions such as the LGBTQ communities but on the other end of the sphere, some don’t even have the freedom to be who they are without being subject to labels and constant need for rectification by others. Oh wait, “by society”.