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the outsider

published: 2013-06-05

A friend of mine is an actress and writer. She created a theatrical-adventure that entails stepping into people’s homes you’d otherwise never meet. Before I arrived, she asked me: ‘when have you ever felt an outsider?’
I realized this was going to be a part of the performance in some way, so I gave this a good thought. My initial reaction was to think: ‘always. I am always an outsider.’ It’s one of those automated responses that are stored in my system. Something I readily cough up whenever someone throws the right coin into me.
But for the arts, one has to be specific. To bring a message across you need to wrap it into an event, a scene, something other people can envision. It’s no use saying “always.” It simply doesn’t work.
So I wondered whether I could pin-point that feeling to one specific event. And the interesting thing was: I could, but those events were hardly of interest. It had me questioning whether this internalized belief was actually true. Maybe I’m not always the outsider. Maybe it’s what I’d like to be. Or maybe it’s a belief that helps me when things in life get complicated. Such as when I suddenly feel like an outsider within a relationship. Or even in my own home.
This is when I love the arts the most. When a play confronts you with your own premonitions about life and yourself. And you leave seeing things differently. So I’m not always an outsider. But I’m not sure whether this is a relief.

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