Embracing Otherness, Embracing Myself

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 in life | 3 comments

Every few weeks or so, I like to visit Ted.com* and listen to the most recent talks there. I find inspiration and encouragement from them–often no matter the subject.

These speakers are a great success in their chosen profession. They have a passion and a vision for life and their craft, and they’ve moved outside the box to make wonderful discoveries and serve the people of the world with unbelievable courage.

And at TED, they come together to share their vision of the world in 6 to 20 minutes–a simplified summary of all their years of hard work, commitment, mistakes,  and progress.

If you had 6 to 20 minutes to share your vision, what would you say?

I’m guessing most us would share different things depending upon the particular stage we are at in our life. My perception of the world and my place in it when I was 8 was far different than when I was 16, and it is far different now, in my 26th year.

Our ideas about the world evolve as we continue to brush up on new things, make mistakes, encounter new situations and lifestyles, and settle upon those places that sit most comfortably in our hearts.

The process of coming to know and understand ourselves–particularly as we strive for equal footing within our communities–is intriguing and difficult and ambiguous to understand.

I have thought at length over the years about how to find my own unique voice in a sea of very loud, very stubborn companions. My community is a tight-knit group with a set of stringent rules, and it is hard to find any wiggle room within that environment to figure out whether you are acting because (1) you want to, (2) it is easier to do what you’re told, or (3) you are afraid of the consequences if you pave your own way.

I’ve come to the point where I must define myself, even within the parameters laid before me by my community. My self is restless and achy and sometimes almost violent in its desire to break free and find truth for itself.

This doesn’t mean that I want to abandon my community. It only means that I have to be willing to abandon my community for the sake of my own knowledge about what is true and right. If truth leads me back to where I began, I will be more capable to take the road and find success. If it leads me elsewhere, I must face that new road with courage, knowing in my heart that it is the right thing.

These are all very general comments on a very deep and complicated human subject, but alas, I will leave it at that for now.

I found Thandie Newton’s ideas in the following TED talk to be comforting and relatable. She gives the audience a sense of her own struggle with oneness vs. otherness. At the very least, it helped me see that I am not alone in this journey to define myself –both as an individual and as a member of a community of other selves.



*If you are unfamiliar with TED talks, by all means check out the website and see for yourself. The website is basically a compilation of videos from TED conferences around the world, and the purpose of each conference is to inspire and bring new ideas to the public. Speakers are typically widely successful individuals from around the world, come to share their little slice of life with the rest of us. And the videos are free.




  1. Hi, do you may have a facebook fan page for your blog?

  2. Thanks for the question, Doudoune. I do have a Facebook fan page; I just haven’t published it yet. It’s on my priority list, so I’ll get right on it!

  3. What a very informative blog! I am so excited I discovered your page. Keep up the amazing work. Have an incredible day!

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