Looking Differently

Yesterday night I went out wearing my new shirt. It was a challenge. I am so used to hide behind my black shirt. New York is such a liberal place but when you wear something that looks a little different even here you get quite some attention.

When I met my friend Tony yesterday to go to a club in the “Meat Packing District” he said I look like somebody who broke out of a prison. Tony was wearing a black shirt of course. I felt quite uncomfortable at the beginning of the night but then the punk in me kicked in and self-confidence took over.

How can we as human beings, how can the world grow if we do things as we did them in the past. How can I grow with a black shirt? How can I grow doing what everybody else does? How can I grow without change? Granted the real growth must happen on the inside. But growing inside, changing inside prepares us for change on the outside. After changing on the inside change on the outside is inevitable. Then change is wanted, change is not feared, and change becomes a way of life.

To me all this was on the plate yesterday. It would have been easy to change back into a black shirt. I have about 15 of them. But that would have meant giving in to the past and this I will not do no matter what. When I went to the subway it felt like everybody stares at me, it felt uncomfortable. I did put myself out there into the unknown. But all I needed was my good friend Tony’s comment on the shirt to put me over the edge. Suddenly felt very good about what I was doing. It just felt necessary to do and while I know that most guys would look stupid in this shirt I am self confident enough to carry it. If I am not holding back in how I think and act why should I hold back in the way I dress?

The problem I have with attention, yes here comes the parent thing again, is that I had a mother who could not get enough of it. My mother loves to dress flamboyant. There is the teased hair, the 70’s make-up, long red nails, very red lipstick and whatever she is wearing always has some sort of bright color. I remember this one day many years ago when we walked together through Munich. She was wearing a bright blue cape, the brightest blue you can imagine. People were staring at us all day, I was so embarrassed and all she said was, “Look Carsten, wherever I go people can’t help it but stare at me, I have no idea why”. This is why I have tried to blend in ever since.

I have done a lot of work on myself and it is time to let this one go as well. I had a wonderful time last night. When Tony and I got to the club we started to dance immediately and stopped when the lights were turned on at 4 AM. I even danced with a girl who is studying fashion design at FIT who liked the shirt a lot and knew the brand.

I am still not a great fan of attention. But if I like something I will wear it no matter what.

My good friend Michael asked, “Was it hard to let go of that image (the image I had about myself in the past)” on my “Rediscovering Myself” post. No Michael it was not hard at all since I am now rediscovering who I am on a daily basis and have forgotten who I was in the past.



“Looking Differnt” People crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, shot from underneath 06-14-08 at 03:55 PM

Please check out my website at carstenfleck.com



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