Don’t Fear Being Yourself

There are many reasons to visit New York – practically every post on my website discusses why it is worthy to come over and spend some time here. Still, if I had to say what is the chief advantage of living in New York City, I’d point to the feeling of freedom that I first experienced here. What is the reason for it?

Since there are millions of people living here, it’s easy to become part of the crowd and remain unnoticed. Even though some people would cringe from it, it’s actually the best thing that could happen to you. The crowd here will allow you to rest from your own self. The human mass is so colorful, unpredictable and diverse, that you simply are swept away by it. You become a small child again, allowing various stimuli to bombard you from all directions as your mouth opens wider and wider in awe. The line between acceptable and unacceptable is basically displaced over here.

At some point you are bound to adjust your own boundaries, too. You stop caring if your outfit is fancy enough, or if you’re fit enough or too fat, or what is appropriate and what isn’t. You’re a gay man and you feel like kissing your boyfriend affectionately on the street? You’re an African-American woman with the strangest hair on the block and weirdest-looking shorts? You’re an albino who decided to dye your hair black? Go ahead! You’re allowed to be yourself here – or just to be whoever you feel like being at a given moment. Will everyone like it? No. But no one will let you feel like you just did something inappropriate. 

From time to time someone will give you a look saying: „What a freak”, but a second later they’ll go back to their own matters, forgetting you altogether. This widespread acceptance of difference makes you stop fearing judgment and encourages you to show whom you really are. You start smiling more often at people you pass on the street and greet them without fearing being mistaken for a crazy person. You start conversations, you don’t fear talking to strangers, you say compliments to them, just like they say compliments to you. You wear clothes you would have worn so far; you do things you lacked courage to do before. Everything is a norm here and everyone defies norm constantly. Or, in other words: everything here is a departure from the norm – which feels so liberating.