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Yesterday Someone and I walked to town to see The Pride Parade. I cannot remember when I last saw a parade, let alone been in a crowd.* I wore a Spo-shirt with mask to match, shorts (cargo-length), and oh-so-practical walking shoes. I wore a baseball cap, for it was quite sunny. My one frivolity was the taxi yellow sunglasses, with the tessellated black squares.  Although the attendees were diverse, no one seemed dressed like I was. Most were in tight-fitting tank tops and shorts, while others were in dull drag. Many had on outlandish attire, such as rainbow wigs, leather harnesses, a fluorescent-green tutus.  It was quite a collection. 

I felt out of place in my ensemble. Have you ever attended a soiree where everyone was formally dressed and here you are in your flannels and jeans? It was that sort of feeling. Needless to say, the feeling of ‘not fitting in’ was all of my own making; the Spotlight Effect bias was happening. No one paid any attention to me or to what I was wearing. Everyone was watching the parade. 

It is funny to feel the emotion of ‘odd man out’ in a group whose stated cause is diversity and all-accepting. I was also body-conscious, which was also rubbish, as all shapes and sizes were present, not just the beauties. I thought I had come to terms with this lifelong emotion but apparently it still twangs in me from time to time, like a twinge in a bone that was once broken. It is annoying more than vexing. 

I suppose this pesky little neurosis won’t go away but as I tell my patients the point isn’t to exorcise it but make some peace with it and then don’t let it call the shots and run the show. Spo-shirts, after all are not my fashion, but my style, which I see comes and goes like the length of the shorts I saw today (now creeping up from at-the-knee to match the 70s). 

Near the end of the parade, while I squeezed through a group, lightheaded from drinking a G&T on top of the sunshine, I passed by someone who made momentary eye-contact. He exclaimed: That is fabulous!”  meaning my shirt and matching masks.  It made me smile and I walked with a bit more pride in my step. 

*I didn’t take photos. For one thing it was too crowded. Another reason: if you’ve seen one float full up with rainbow trimmings with drag queens and muscle boys, then you’ve seen them all. The main reason though is I like to experience things with my eyes, and not through the lens of my iPhone. Everyone around me had their phones raised high as if in a salute. I wondered if they were truly watching or waiting to later to view what was right there, live, in front of them. 

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