Things I Am Not

The Other

March 22, 2021 LegalAliens Theatre Season 1 Episode 3
Things I Am Not
The Other
Show Notes Transcript

“I am a dichotomy / In botany that means a branch splitting into two equal parts / I hold memories of being whole.” In this spoken-word piece, Egyptian-born Miray Sidhom contemplates a life between two countries, two languages and two cultures. Does migrating as a child mean she’s destined to always be “other”? Poetic and thought-provoking, “The Other” asks where home is, and maybe even starts to build one.

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Written and performed by: Miray Sidhom

Producing Artistic Director: Lara Parmiani

Concept: Emmanuela Lia

Director: Becka McFadden

Visual Art: Laura Rouzet

Website design: Daiva Dominyka

Social media: Catharina Conte

Original Music: Angelina Rud & Martin Bakero

Things I’m Not is funded by Arts Council England.

For a transcript of this episode please go here - TRANSCRIPT


I am not your fetishized commodity Your otherness personified  

Eroticized, homogenized  

to obscurity 

I am not the East to your West The Turkish in your coffee 

The Arabian in your Nights 

Conquered in your bed 

I am not your simplified symbology  of pyramids and camels 

Mummified bodies  

History’s relics 

I am not your oriental fantasy a colonized culture 

the submission to your dominance 

I am not the margin 

defined by your superiority  

I am not your pity 

I am not your piece of the middle east 

I am not a utility 

Validated by your expense  

I am not your Cleopatra 

Your Nefertiti  

Your harem queen  

I am not the Jasmin to your Aladdin 

I am not your white enough to pass I am not your dark enough to justify I am not an exotic bird of paradise 

I am: migrant

I am a dichotomy  

In botany that means a branch splitting into two equal parts I hold memories of being whole 

of knowing what the answer was when asked ‘where are you from?’ before that question became dismantled to accent and hair and complexion  Deconstructed to belonging and becoming 

Two answers 

One for my voice  

Another for my body 

The silence before my response 

as I grapple with severance and connection 

I ask you what you mean by the question 

You see, the voice you hear now doesn’t speak of migration modified beyond recognition 


it raises no questions beyond British dialect 

but then the phone rings 

it’s my mum 

and I answer  

we bacalemha bel arabi 3ashan di loghatna 

wa saalha heya 3amla eh 

we sa3at bansa kalma bel 3arabi wa olha bel englisi 

and I slip into this Arabic English accent that I cannot will or control a remnant of language on my tongue 

(Speaks Arabic)


to nothing more  

than an extra syllable at the end of my words 

I remember the first time I had it pointed out to me  

after any trace of accent had been erased 

‘why do you say…at the end of every word?’

it wasn’t a big deal 

just something everyone seemed to notice  

everyone other than me 

til it became all I could hear 

in the space where silence should be 

is an echo 

of a language I rarely speak

but the muscles of my mouth remember 

can you hear it? Can you hear it?

I am learning 

I am unlearning 

I am absorbing 

I am adjusting 

I am change 

I am multiplicity 

I am organic 

I am synthesized 

I am not a fixed point

I am not a singularity

I am not a binary

I am not a colour

I am not a body

I am not a voice

I am not home 

Because home became birthplace 

a mosaic of fading memories 

home became  


a feeling like an exhale 

a changing image, 

smog filled skylines and treacle traffic 

blend with moors and dales 

a fleeting sound 

uttered by accident 

connected by severed ties that still conduct from time to time 

Home tells me how much I’ve changed 

asks me where I’m from 

although I speak the language, the words don’t sound the same

and meaning gets lost in swerved conversations 

slips through the gap 

between what’s said and what’s felt 

what’s known and what remains 


It’s easier to tell you who I am 

By telling you the things I’m not 

I am not inherited belief 

I am not my insecurities 

I am not habits and needs 

I’m not who I was last week  

and that’s okay 

I don’t know which box to tick 

Ethnicity. Egypt doesn’t identify as African, even if I do 

And there’s no box for Arab or Middle East 

so ‘other’ is the only box I fit into 


I am still coming to terms with a culture I concealed  

for the sake of conformity  

I am still coming to terms with a culture I embraced without questioning whether or not  it embraced me. 

I am still  

trying to compose myself 

(mix of Arabic and 80's synth music starts)

with melodies of Egypt  

and synths of Britain 

To build a home from my duality 

and live in it  (music ends)