I am different…Get over it!


A normal day started with a striking encounter, a small exchange, and ended with some thoughts about our humanity.

Walking in a park in lower Manhattan, a woman in rather flashy clothes and colorful make-up caught my attention.

I approached her and asked to take a picture, to which she replied with a bit of an attitude “Sure, why not!”. A bit stunned with her reaction, I took a few, and asked her about her outfit. “You really don’t know me?! Do me a favor and go look up the NUMBER 1 astronomer in New York. I dress up like this everyday”, she replied insisting not to share her name.

Well, I did and she was nowhere to be found! I laughed, but could not get over her self-confidence that made her story believable.

…I wonder what our attitudes tell the world about us, but most importantly, how the belief system behind these attitudes shapes the scope of our own lives.

This woman is not a unique case in this society that emphasizes the individual’s individuality. Being creative and thinking out of the box is not only their way to stand out in the crowd, but rather a means to reinforce their sense of freedom.

Where I come from is rather a melting pot where individuals are valued as long as they have a sense of belonging to the larger group, where choices to conform are much more common than choices to be different. Things are OK as long as we do what’s agreed upon by the norms and the unspoken rules; doing what’s “right”!

And here came my question: Are we giving up a basic human right by choosing NOT to choose?!

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