“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Being “the other” is a familiar feeling.

At elementary school, I was the girl with glasses and unfashionable clothes.
In high school, I was the introvert who preferred a book to a night out with friends.
At University, I was the one skipping classes because of a chronic condition.
At work, I was the only woman in meetings full of men.

Being “the other” can be lonely. So lonely that it takes time to see “the others” around you.

With time, I found solace in otherness. I realized that I have always been sitting next to “others.”

The little boy who came from abroad and struggled with learning the language.
The hyperactive adolescent who couldn’t pay attention in class.
The classmate who struggled with mental health.
The gay colleague in a conference room full of straight people.

The more I see them, the more I see myself in them. And now that it’s not just me, but it’s us, I feel empowered to be who I am and to live my uniqueness to the fullest.

In this life, I want to ensure that nobody feels alone in their otherness. And that we all thrive as our authentic selves.

— Erica Santoni