the isolation of difference

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The world, it seems, falls into two camps. The majority and the minority.

We even use the words in every day language. Ethnic minority. Minority groups. The silent majority.

If you are in the majority, you get to call the shots. You get to determine right and wrong, to label the minority, to make decisions on behalf of all.

If you are in the minority, you get to feel different, labelled publicly, isolated and badged as ‘the minority’.

I have recently been exploring what are termed neuro diverse conditions – dyslexia, dyspraxia, Aspergers and the like. Neuro diversity is a term coined by those not in these groups. Those same people refer to themselves as neuro typical. Typical meaning simply the majority in this case.

This same phenomenon exists whether your ‘diversity’ is sexual, physical, ethic, religious. If you are in the minority, you can feel labelled and judged by the majority.

One result of this majority minority tension is that many of us seek to be in the majority, to conform, for acceptance. Here is the power. The power of majority. Or we hide, for fear of judgement and rejection. Here is the isolation. The isolation of minority.

Yet every one of us, by some definition, will be in both a majority or a minority. So let’s stop all this nonsense.

 

the hidden art of hiding

hiding dyslexia
In recent months I have spoken to a number of people with dyslexia.

One common aspect of our conversations has intrigued me. The tension that is created between a need for some support, balanced with a desire not to be marked out as different. I want some help, but I don’t want to be seen to want help.

Those I have spoken to have talked of their shame. A sense that in some way they are inadequate. Unable to do things that others find straightforward. Many hide their dyslexia for this reason. Preferring to find their own coping mechanisms. Choosing roles and work where the challenges arising from their dyslexia aren’t exposed.

Whilst my dyslexic confidants have shared their fear of judgement, their desire to hide their ‘condition’, they have also shared heart wrenching stories of the efforts required to cope. To stay afloat. Many are desperate for some simple supports.

The reality here of course is that these dyslexic individuals have other strengths, other capabilities which are more developed and stronger than their non-dyslexic colleagues. Just as with any human being, we are all different. All unique.

We all hide too.

Sometimes we hide a part of ourselves from those around us. Often we hide a part of ourselves from ourselves. Yet we think that the hiding is hidden.

Honesty and truth seldom bring blame, judgement, criticism. When they do, it is those criticising, judging, blaming who are the individuals who are really hiding. Hiding behind judgement, criticism and blame.

We need to come out of the shadows.
To learn to be, in all our unique glory.
To stop hiding.

image by: Sally Green