“We find ourselves only by looking to what we’re not.” ― Paul Auster, Moon Palace ⚜️
The nr. 1 thing you realize and understand when you dive into Representation and Cultural Studies, that we, as human kind don't see 'us' by defining ourselves, but by defining others; looking more for the traits separating us, than the ones uniting one and other. The notion of me and my mirror makes us a special animal, but the notion of us vs the rest makes us human. It is so much easier to create binary definitions of yeses and no's, parallels between a label I can apply and I can't, than defining who we are from the core.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been lucky enough to always study exactly what I wanted. I have not been lucky enough to do the same during my carrier. Somehow, I have always ended up working for and with a group of people who I absolutely can't, won't and am not willing to identify with. Sometimes I assume this distance and differentiation makes me as good in my job, as I am. ⚜️ However, as I have lived and struggled through a long period of wanting to be accepted and loved by everyone, I truly believe, that working in jobs, when I need to face the exact opposite of myself, helped me to define myself (and also helped me to find my research subject, for that matter). Well, things often happen for a reason, they say.
The notion of other is a dominantly negative term in Representation Studies, defining power relations between the superior and inferior group. But the notion of other does actually state some useful and important things when you apply it to yourself. I feel every day in my work environment how the gap between me and whom I am representing deepens, and it pushes me towards to the take the right decision. It feels as a reverse mirror warning me about the decisions which can lead me to the worst version of myself.
Q: What are the words which absolutely don't describe you or the words you don't want to be identified with?