Hello From the Other Side

Insiders, outsiders, and the quest to feel normal.

It’s a right-hander’s world.

But if you’re a right-hand dominant, you won’t think much about this. For you, everything just works. Scissors, guitars, spiral notebooks, credit card machines, desk chairs—the majority of objects in this world are designed just for you.

It takes a left-handed person to recognize this, however.

For righties, the way things are is how things work.

And for you, they do work!

It’s not that I’m not happy for you. I’d simply be happier if the world worked the same way for both of us.

It's not my fault you're left-handed, you may be thinking. And that's true. But stick with me. I'm trying to make a point.

I’ve noticed a similar dynamic playing out with those who are insiders versus those who are outsiders.

It takes an outsider to tell an insider that the inside exists.

Insiders may not notice it otherwise. Because for them, things just...work.

Outsiders know they’re on the outside. Insiders have trouble recognizing that there’s an “inside.”

Outsiders feel the separation.

Insiders feel normal.

As someone who’s recently moved to a new area, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the dynamics of being an outsider.

Other people may not notice that I’m a visitor at church, for instance, but I notice that nobody notices me.

This isn’t my first experience as an outsider, of course. Not by a long shot.

I’m also a girl who grew up being mistaken for a boy, a woman who’s been to seminary, an American who’s lived as an expat, and—yes—a lefty living in a righty’s world.

I’m also someone who’s enjoyed deep insider status in certain spaces.

If having been both an insider and an outsider teaches us anything, it’s to recognize when we’re the ones on the inside.

May we learn to notice, identify, and actively bring others in.