“an area lying beyond the strict limits of a thing”

What does it mean to be on the periphery? To be beyond the limit? Outside of a thing and not a part of it?

What does it mean to be peripheral; to reside on the margins?

It means hours of transit in cramped quarters just to get inside of the thing.

It means being expected to leave the thing after you’ve put in your time.

It means being essential to the functioning of the thing, but not being allowed to be a part of it.

It means being invisibilized, stigmatized, forgotten except as fear.

It means being from over there and not from here.

It means you’re both dangerous and in danger.

It means where you live isn’t meant for thriving, it’s just meant to contain you.

Yet the periphery makes the thing. A thing cannot only be what it is, but is also defined by what it is not. Outside the limits of the thing is its periphery, thereby giving definition and form to the thingness of the thing itself. The periphery therefore is essential to the thing yet is forever excluded from it even as the thing would not exist without it.

What is peripheral is less important, an afterthought, a glancing image. It is what remains unfocused, unnoticed, unattended to. Negligence of the periphery allows for attention to the center, to the thing. The periphery requires active unseeing for the sake of the thing. Peripheries are what are left off the maps.

Limits are for thingness. Peripheries have no limits except for their unpermitted entry into thinghood. To be limitless is to be potential. To be a force that can expand in multiple directions. Usually, that expansion is for the worse, as the periphery sees itself as the thing sees it, as not a thing, therefore not worthy of what the thing is worthy of. As such, the periphery mistreats itself and those in it, often in the cruelest of ways.

But to be beyond the limit is to be beyond the thing. It is to be able to create all that the thing cannot. It is to embrace the lack of boundaries and declare a redefinition of the peripheral. To decenter the center and refuse to be the prop for the existence of the thing. Instead to exist for oneself, however peripheral others may label you. To shatter things and their limits. To go beyond.

Welcome to the periphery.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s