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Blog Exercises: The Outsider

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.During a writer’s convention this weekend, someone familiar with my site and these Blog Exercises asked me why I was handing our all this information to help others blog better, use WordPress better, and migrate their site from personal to professional.

I had a pat answer then, but today, I have another.

…Assumptions like these also reflect how some people see me: an outsider.

In my recent Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress, I have agonised over the psychological reasons as to why I blog, pondered how to stay focused with more self-control, and more importantly, tried to discover my view of the world through my filtered lens. It’s dangerous, as I may reveal more than I had planned for 15 months ago when I started blogging in English. I may even understand who I am in this process of self-discovery. The thought is frightening.

I see the world as an outsider. This is my filtered lens. What do I see? How do I feel? I am passionate about living, but I am also very detached emotionally. Will this new perspective make my writing any different? How might this change my voice in my writing?

From “Born as an outsider” on Janet’s Notebook

My goal in offering these free blog exercises to you is to change your world. My reward, you change mine.

Janet Williams of Janet's Notebook.Today, Janet Williams changed my life with her courage.

Janet is a Chinese woman living in the UK with her son, pets, and a profound sense of self and identity while struggling with her sense of self and identity. While she is a woman torn between two vastly different worlds, Janet is at once comfortable and uncomfortable in both. She has shared her stories of the dichotomy of self for several years, finding comfort in being one of the “tweens” in this world, stuck in the in between, one of everything and none of anything.

What does this mean?

She has amazing courage, faith, and trust in herself and her abilities. There is no chance of getting anything past Janet. She explores both the differences and similarities of a subject, finding the connections between the extremes. She looks at the world through a microscope, and I adore her for it.

Your blog exercise today is to share what part of you is like Janet – an outsider.

In “Born as an outsider,” Janet shares how her left-handedness separated her from her family, teachers, and society in general. Her own mother called her a “Left-handed Ghost,” a child that brought more woe to the family that joy. She was the youngest, ostracized by the other children, and challenged for her excellent English skills “for Chinese.”

As the youngest child in a family of adults could be the loneliest experience. I remember sleeping on the floor with two adult sisters. Some nights, they would discuss boys and exchange gossips in their secret language. As a kid, I was curious, “Tell me!” “I want to know!” However, according to the Chinese wisdom: “A kid should have ears, not a mouth.” Their stories were none of my business. So I learnt quickly not to interrupt. Very often, when I entered a room when my sisters were talking, their conversation would just halt. The presence of me had the ability to halt many conversations.

It was the norm that a child was hushed. In a crowded, boisterous environment, a child was mute. One day, when my father told me that he had hoped for a boy, not a daughter, I was not upset, because I grew up believing that I was found in a rubbish bin.

We all grew up feeling isolated, separate, different from others in one way or another. That is one of the universal beliefs we share no matter our race, culture, or family circumstances. Most of us feel “different” from others.

It is your turn to be brave and share your difference with your readers.

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.Janet had the courage to share her difference with her readers, opening herself up, risking her identity, putting her fear out there for all to see. It’s your turn.

Share with your readers how you are an outsider, how you are different, and how that difference and self-believe dictates your world, changing how you perceive yourself and others through the lens of “different” from others.

It will take great confidence to open yourself up this way, exposing your mental underwear. Think of the rewards.

For Janet, I believe she has opened a huge door to her future. From this post I see a book, a memoir, fiction, non-fiction, a collection of short stories, the story of the Left-handed Ghost Girl and her bravery – it’s her “super power,” to quote a six-year old friend of mine – the possibilities are endless. She has shown us her true self and the world adores her.

For me, the reader and fan, part of her community, I now get her. Everything she writes makes sense now. I knew it came from a deep and dark place but I didn’t realize how deep and how dark. Those who have suffered, truly suffered, have a passionate energy around them. They see the world through this dark lens looking for the light, shining her eloquent flashlight on the world around her to make us see it differently – often better and clearer – through her eyes.

Sharing this story also means she trusts me, the reader. This is big. Really big. Your readers see it. They recognize the gift you have given them. And they love you more for it.

From this day forward I will think of the tiny actions I took on this blog to help you blog better and how it was enough of a ripple against the rock that is Janet, the Left-handed Ghost Girl, to let her open her soul up on her blog, asking us to open our arms and welcome her in with love.

With this post, she is no longer the outsider. She’s found her family. It may be virtual, but it’s family. She’s not alone any more. She’s got us.

See who you will have when you take a similar risk.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. Posted August 9, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Being an outsider is something that I am more than well aware of. My mother was Vietnamese, my Father is American, so I am a mix. I am also an outsider because I cannot talk – hear, but not talk. Now I am even more of an outsider because I live in Germany. It is a very strange, invigorating experience, and one which builds character for those who try not so much to fit in with the norm, but to create and be themselves.

    • Posted August 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing.

      We are all outsiders in our minds. I find the psychology of thinking we are separate from others fascinating, when we are such strong social creatures. All fascinating. Thank you for being brave enough to share your “outside” experience.

      Forgive me for being person but you mentioned you cannot talk? Does that mean you cannot speak the language or you have some issue that prevents speech?


    • Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Languages are no problem for me, but talking – as in making noise to communicate – is something I wasn’t gifted with at birth. A reason for bullying, as it happens, but not a reason to regret anything!

      I was an outsider right from my first day in school, when the teacher introduced me to the class and said everyone was to be kind to me because I am ‘dumb’. Personally, I prefer mute. You can imagine what happened after that.

      • Posted August 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        LOL! I can imagine what happened. My friend Glenda Watson Hyatt has CP and was often classified as “dumb” because she did not speak in a way people could understand. Spend some time with Glenda, and you learn her language, as people do with you. As she taught me, it’s a “get over it” kind of thing as we all have something special to bring to the table in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Everyone has their “thing.” Some wear it on the inside and others wear it on the outside. Me, I’m brain damaged, smacked upside of the head by a truck when I was six years old, and have spent a life time dealing with the repercussions. Contribute what you can to the world and leave it a better place. I like that idea. Keep rocking it and thank you for letting me ask such a personal question to clarify what you meant.

  2. Posted August 9, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Now I see. You are one of those “soul-openers” we’ve all heard about! All kidding aside, you put your finger on the difference between a writer and an artist. Very good observation.
    Thank you,

  3. samurai
    Posted August 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink


  4. Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I think we are all outsiders in some way; we all feel we don’t fit in. It makes us interesting. Though I do concede, some are more interesting than others!

    I met Janet and her son this year, through our blogs. She is a lovely lady with a kind heart and I’m privileged to be part of her blogging family.

    That’s what I love about blogging – all of us outsiders connecting with each other!

    • Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it the most amazing thing. I feel like a gushing teenager when I say that, but my world would not be the same if it weren’t for the beautiful connections and relationships I’ve had through blogging. Magic is a better word.


      • Posted September 21, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        Found an unexpected but welcome bonus of blogging in my site notifications for

        [Edited: Link was to private information]

    • Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Dear Tilly (The Laughing Housewife),

      Thank you for opening your door for us for 5 days in the north of England. WordPress made our friendship possible. I have got to know you as a blogger, poet, friend……and learn from your strength in dealing with prejudice and misunderstanding. I’m so touched by the warmth and friendship powered by WordPress. I’m blessed.

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  4. […] I think Lorelle likes me. She featured me in this post. […]

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