Let me start this essay on the art of having your own style with a bit of drama, ok? Back in school people laught at me. Every. Single. Day. Because of my mohawk, the glossy black plateau boots, the blue and green lipstick, my self-made clothes and the ones I bought… Even at my „elf ear“, which is an especially dumb thing to do, because I didn’t choose it like an outfit, I was born with it. This story could go on over pages and pages full of self-pity and vengeance. But honestly, I never gave a fuck about those boring people. Peer-pressure created by the kids smoking at the school gate never worked for me and I’ll tell you why.
Even the ones who kicked me down to „prove“ that I couldn’t walk in those incredibly comfortable, though very high goth plateau boots I’ve had since I turned 15. And yeah, sure, I got a tattoo at 16 for the „attention“. Like being constantly touched and screamed at by strangers „Is this real or paint?!“ is something enjoyable. (By the way: Touching tattoos doesn’t make any sense, because the ink is approx. 3 millimeters under the skin, you dumb fucks can not feel a tattoo.) I still laugh about the nazis in our village who threatened to beat me up and rape me, because of my purple punk hairstyle. Also, getting called „anorexic“ by fat girls – gets me everytime. The most ridiculous guy in high school was probably the one who made fun of my big nerdy glasses just a year before nerd-glasses became popular and he started wearing them, too. Most people are scared of looking different, so they wait until something they secretly like becomes fashionable (again) and they can pull it off without being „the weird one“.
Nowadays, you might think that looking weird is the new normal. Well, it seems true at the first glimpse. Other pupils actually stopped laughing at my blue lipstick after that pop singer Rihanna wore it a few times. But that’s the thing about looking strange: When a famous person does it, it’s ok. When the girl in your history class does it, she’s either a disgusting alien or an attention whore.
Imagine a world where everyone can be themselves…
Ok, probably a lot of lunatics would be off their meds. What else? Yes, women would not be seen as sexual objects, but human beings. We’re still working on that part, sigh. Also, a lot of men would dress up and wear make-up without fear. There is this clichee that women ask men all the time: „Do I look fat in this?“ In reality, I often hear: „Does this make me look gay?“ The answer is: „No one cares.“ But it’s a lie. People get tortured and murdered for being homosexual (or bi or trans etc.) even in the European Union! How the fuck is this possible in the twentyfuckingfirst century (or 14th, when you are reading this in the Middle East). Therefor, a look labled as not suitable for a straight man might make you vulnarable in front of others. Actually, it has nothing to do with your appearance, but the fact that you were brave enough to pull it off and be the weird one in your town. It provokes the anger of those who have a deep desire for and at the same time great fear of being who they want to be.
Today, it still takes a lot of courage to live, love and look the way you want to. Some men look breathtaking with a bit of eyeliner (I know it best, I married one of them), but they would never go out like this in public, because they are scared of the reaction of others. Don’t give me this „I don’t care what people think“ bullshit. When you really do not care about anyone else’s opinion, you are a fucking narcissist and should seek professional help. Usually, we care about our friends‘ opions, because real friends want good things to happen to us, they love us and their advice is not a threat to us. When your best friends of 10 years tell you that you are smoking too much pot or that you are overworked and underfucked, they are probably right. But when they turn you into a social outcast for not liking HarryfuckinPotter, they are not your friends. This is why it was so easy for me to give zero fucks about popular classmates hating me. I knew that they do not and will never play any role in my private life. For me, they only existed in school, like sad toilet ghosts (no Harry Potter pun intended).
To know that those who do not tolerate you are irrelevant to your private life, will make it easier for you to face them and to keep on being yourself. Unless those people are in a powerful position and in charge of decisions that affect your life. Your teacher, your boss, the orange-faced reality-tv dude in the White House… This is when things get complicated. And when things get complicated, that is when you have to act instead of complain. Another source of good energy for the fights you will have to fight (against racism, sexism, nationalism, capitalism… pick at least one), except for real friends is art. I knew that I wasn’t an outcast, although some people wanted to make me think exactly that. I knew that I wan’t completely alone, even in the time before I was able to make actual friends. Because in that time, when it all seemed like I came from a different planet, there were Mr. Spock and Legolas (who both have elf ears like me), Bela B., David Bowie, Nina Hagen, Tank Girl, The Neverending Story, the show The Tribe. Art connects you to the thoughts of other human beings like psychedelic drugs make you think they do. I can cry like a baby when reading Kafka and I’m really not a crying-person, ask everybody who was at my dad’s funeral.
Art is on your side, that means, the person who created this art – dead or alive – was/is having similar thoughts and dreams as you or at least had/has a similar taste and style. This person was/is expressing this through music, literature, movies, clothes, whatever and so it found its way to you. Art is a beautiful form of communication through time and space. Now tell me, how dangerous would it be for you to go out there the way you want to be? With(out) headscarf, with(out) make-up, with(out) hair? Of course you don’t have to go so far that it puts your life in danger. A small change can already be the first step leading to a more open-minded society. Do you think you are an alien in a conservative neighbourhood, a boring city, a country ruled by a monkey? Then let me tell you: Being an alien is perfectly fine.
PS: I wrote this essay in English, because I know a lot of awesome people, who do not speak German (yet), also I’m getting more comfortable with English and can write fluently. No idea why WordPress keeps the German setting for quotation marks + too lazy to fix it. If you see any other mistakes, tell me, so I will learn.