This podcast contains conversations about trauma, addiction, death, and other challenging subjects, and maybe sensitive for some listeners. Listening discretion is advised. If you need resources to get help, please see the show notes.
You're listening to Drawn to a Deeper Story. I'm Cath Brew from drawntoastory.com. I'm an Australian artist who illustrates and educates about marginalized experiences for positive change, with a particular interest in identity belonging, and expat life. This podcast is about the lives that challenge us and the difficult conversations around them. It's a place to listen openly to absorb people's truth and to learn how to[:
show up differently for the benefit of everyone. And this is a new podcast inspired by the human library project. Now, if you don't know about the human library project, it's the most amazing worldwide project where you can go into a library and you borrow in air quotes, a person to talk to, to learn about their life. And to understand a bit more about them. Someone who you might not think actually exists within your life. And so this podcast is inspired by that project. And simply it's about the power of being seen. As humans, all we want is to be seen and to be loved for who we are. And for many of us that's much easier, because we blend into society's idea of the accepted norm. We look a certain way. We present and behave in ways that don't challenge the greater norm. And so we belong, but there's a whole[:
lot of other people who are trying to fit. And their actually, their actually just like all of us, but the fundamental difference is that they don't necessarily feel like they belong. And that's because we don't allow them to - whether it's their neuro-diversity, their life choices, perhaps it's things that they have experienced or even just their opinions. And I'm acutely aware that we 'other' people. We tell ourselves they're not like us. They're different to me. So why do we do this?
Humans assess people very, very quickly. You know, you do. When you go to meet someone, you meet them, you look, unconsciously, even for all the cues and you're working out, are they safe? Are they like me? Is this someone who I want to know? Is there a reason I shouldn't be talking to this person? You are constantly assessing very, very quickly[:
And we do that because it's about safety. We like to box people up. So if we think we understand them, they then fit within our idea of what that person is. And therefore that then feels safe to us. But the major problem with othering people. Is that it isolates. It creates prejudice. It creates division.
It creates suffering and critically, what I think we often forget in this moment of othering, is that regardless of color of gender, of sex, sexuality, religion, wealth, poverty, culture, education levels, employment states, whatever these things are that we use as cues and as judgements, whatever they are.
We are all someone else's[:
other. Now, when we try to fit-in to society, we feel that we have to hide who we are to be accepted. That's what trying to fit-in is, but when we belong, we are accepted for who we are, regardless of our differences. And we all know what that feels like. We know that space when you're meeting somebody for the first time and you just click and you laugh and you joke, you talk about the soul sister, a soul brother, whatever, like it, you know, when you feel a hundred percent accepted for who you are and you have things in common, but.......
This is not what otherness is about. Otherness is seeing differences. Seeing the things that we think that show that someone is not like us.The world is[:
dictated by social norms, that prescribes how we ought to behave, what we're meant to say, what's deemed to be socially acceptable and there's boundaries. Of course. I mean, there there's always boundaries, but these can be just as mysterious, especially to an outsider. And whilst I've always been interested in how people make meaning and the intangible layers within which we all operate, it took me to moving to the UK to really start to explore this and to really look at it in depth. So when I first came to live in the UK from Australia, my partner gave me a book called Watching the English: the hidden rules of English Behavior by Kate Fox. It's well worth, if you know anything about England. It is a fantastic book that had me chuckling all the way through,[:
but it helped me on a serious level. It helped me to understand. British history, social expectations, and consequently helped me chart my path to living here long-term, and I learned that there's social connotations and judgements about whether my midday meal is called dinner or in fact lunch, whether I choose to have pudding, dessert or afters. I learned about the rules of privacy, about queuing, the difference between class and class (said with a different accent), the stiff upper lip and pub etiquette. And apparently the way I hold my knife and fork also speaks volumes. Now I jest a little, but these things originally existed to maintain class lines, power and control in society and their effects still leave their imprint today.
And so for me, in reality,[:
I've really grappled with learning the differences between social and cultural accessibility and unacceptability in my life here. But I also realized that if I look like I belong, I'm white, I'm a redhead, and until I open my mouth and speak with an Australian accent, I could be a local. And despite all that, I've struggled. So it got me thinking about all the other people who live here, who also looked like they belong, but what's going on in their lives? What's going on that impacts how they are treated by greater society. Is there things that people are dealing with? Are we judging people? Are we 'othering' people and keeping them at a distance and keeping them away from us? Because we think that's the safe thing to do. It's actually very easy to other people.[:
Like I decide they're not like me because I don't understand them. They challenge me and actually I don't want to be challenged. So I'll walk the other way. And we deny that discomfort and leave it unresolved. And at the same time, the person we've just othered, is continuing to try to fit in, often at great expense to themselves and ultimately to society as a whole. And so as you listen further into this series of interviews, you'll be taken on a journey to emotions that you don't like to spend time with. And no doubt, there'll be places that you may have never been. There will also be times that you feel uncomfortable and that's my invitation to stick around because that is where you're going to do good work. Stay with that discomfort. It has a lot to teach you. There'll[:
also be humour. Laughter in the face of adversity is good.
Anyone who knows me knows that I like a good sense of humor. Don't feel guilt or shame if you laugh though, it's a powerful release of tension and it's from that place that we can truly listen to the person speaking and equally to ourselves; listening to what our body is telling us about our own values, our own biases, judgements, and attitudes. And so I go back to my why. Why am I doing this podcast? Simply because on a broader community scale, the more we understand each other, the better society we have and the better connections that we have to ourselves and the people around us, to our community, but also to the people that are in our lives.
So on a personal level, the more we have these conversations, the more we are better placed to[:
improve our friendships and our closest relationships. And if these conversations relate to people in your own life, now, this is an opportunity to consider ways in which to save you the discomfort and emotional pain of not being able to have this conversation after those people have died.lt conversations around them.[: