I was looking for a new pair of sneakers last night. I love the Saucony Jazz. I practically live in the Saucony Jazz. They fit my feet and my personality very well. They are colorful, happy, comfortable shoes.
I wear them since many years and I had them in many different colors. Every new pair, I try a new color combination out.
Last night, I was picking for a new color when I started thinking of where I will be living next. I wondered if it would be a really smart choice to have very colorful shoes, if it wouldn't be better to just wear something plain, something that it is not necessarily "me", but that most likely would help me to blend in more easily.
The thing is that no matter what I do or don't do and where I am, I find a way to stand out. I don't do it on purpose. I think I just have a strong, visible, personality. I dress in my own way, which stands out, no matter what. I had people commenting on the way I dress in every single country I lived. Mostly, because I love to combine colors. The way I dress and what I wear highly reflects my mood. And if my mood is down, I try anyway to put at least one thing with some colors to cheer me up. I love this, I love to express myself in this way. I love to be me.
I can adapt to a new country for many other things, but if I want to be in some state of mental stability, I need to be myself and not change the way I am to fit in in the country I am at that moment.
It worked well until now, except in one case. When I was living in the US last time. There, it was not so much the problem of standing out of the crowd for the way I dress, it was more a matter of feeling caged.
Don't go there, don't walk here, be careful with this, be careful with that.
For someone who often walks around with the head in the clouds like me, without actually worrying too much about the surrounding (I am not naive, I just live comfortably in the environment and enjoy it), the US way of living I experienced was a shock. I lacked my freedom of movement. I am most creative when I go for long walks and I let my mind wondering around, without paying any attention to details. I need to be creative for my work and for my mental health. I felt I couldn't do that there.
I am not negative about the US specifically. I am sure that in Roma or Milano, it is not safe either to behave this way. I have just never lived in a place like Roma or Milano. And in Montpellier, I felt that the city was dangerous, but at night, never during the day. So, there that was not an issue.
Now I am going to move to a state in the US where according to an article that I read recently (I don't remember if on the BBC or on the Guardian), they don't have any law about guns, and if they have any, it is so unclear that anyone does whatever he/she wants. Basically, you can walk around with any kind of gun, hidden or visible, you can carry it with you wherever you go, you can do anything you have in mind with it.
Guns for me put immediately the way of living all on another level. I am not used to them. I am not used to be in a place where guns are fairly normal. I am not used to live in a place where if someone for whatever reason has a bad day or doesn't like me or wants something I have, instead of simply attacking me or pointing a knife at my throat, can actually shot me dead.
You see? Freedom has all another meaning for me in a place where guns are allowed, free, and welcomed.
I know I should not be afraid. I know that violent crimes are not that common. The thing is that even if they are not common, they happen. And even if the chance of being shot dead or severely injured is 1 in a million, I definitively don't want to be that 1 person. The other day I read on the news of the city where I will move that a guy got shot dead in the middle of the day, in front of the post office, near downtown because someone wanted his bike.
Seriously? what are we back in the Far West? yes, it is not as bad as Pretoria, we agree on that, but still....for a bike? seriously? I am sure the guy would have given away his bike if threatened with a gun. No need to shoot him dead.
You see? that's my point. Blend in, blend in.
You don't want to have anything someone else may want. You don't want to attract any attention. You don't want to have colorful shoes.
I wish I had the cloth of invisibility of Harry Potter.
I am kind of freaking out for this. You can see that I am a bit obsessed with this. I keep writing about it.
I understand it doesn't help.
I just can't stand any kind of violence and I can't understand how people can get used to live in a place where every day someone can wake up in the wrong mood and feeling it is a good day to shoot someone dead.