AROHO and outsiders

From the application to AROHO’s 2015 Retreat ~

Virginia Woolf wrote:

“I’m fundamentally, I think, an outsider. I do my best work and feel most braced with my back to the wall. It’s an odd feeling, though, writing against the current: difficult entirely to disregard the current. Yet of course I shall.”

Respond to this, in 250 words or less.


I’m fascinated by translation because I have to code-switch in all environments — no social ‘home’ for me. Since I never fit in, it’s essential that I define myself on my own terms. When/if aspects of my identity become mainstream, I change, so I can keep growing, and surprising myself.

I’ve legally changed all three of my names (surname, 1992; first & middle, 2013). I was a henotheistic Catholic for 20 years, a Pagan for 25 years, and now I’m an animist, mystic, agnostic. I can’t pick ‘just one’ gender to be — I like them all! When asked (by Bhanu) which animal I’d be, I said a tree: I’m ‘green underneath my skin’. I enjoy my own company; I love my body. My moods tangle up with colors in my environment (emotion-color synesthesia), so I’m very aware of aesthetics. I’m tactile and kinesthetic: I’m happiest when I’m moving (dancing), and touching stuff. I cut my hair by feel; I don’t look. I retain childlike curiosity, enthusiasm, and friendly interest in many things; many adults find that unseemly, unsettling. I read a lot; I often have to minimize just how much. No matter what field I’ve been in, either working or volunteering, my background never resembles anyone else’s background. I have no interest in social rank, status, or prestige. I prefer spending time with people different from myself (heterophily) — we can learn from each other! Unfortunately for me, homophily is much more common. Many people are results-oriented, but I’m all about process!