So just last week we took Reegan on her first family holiday to the little costal town of Tenby, which is in Wales. I say "family holiday" but we stayed in a caravan belonging to one of our friend's parents, with our friends and Reegan's aunt and uncle also, so more of a friend holiday really, but we tend to count our friends as family anyway. It was soooo nice to just get away from everything, and although I didn't really want to come home at the end of the week I have returned feeling a lot better about life in general. I have been aching to get away for months now, because I really like to travel and I love feeling like we are far away from home or in the middle of nowhere. It gives me valuable perspective. My kind of holiday definately isn't your average sun-sea-sand holiday most people enjoy, in fact that really isn't my idea of fun at all. I prefer to go out and DO things, like go to museums and tourist-y crap like that. Usually only if it's something historic or cultural though. Thats just my brand of nerdiness.
Anyway, what this little trip really got me thinking about was my experience of other people noticing me and how it differed from the city where I live and what I usually experience when out and about at home. I think in general us alternative types who live in or close to the city must have it a lot easier than those who live in small towns or the countryside. Obviously this idea stems only from my own experiences so I would be interested to hear what others think on this. The city I live in isn't even that large at all (you can pretty much walk around the entire centre of town without needing a car or other mode of transport at all, and a lot of people cycle everywhere) it just happens to be very culturally diverse, especially the area I live in now as opposed to where I lived four years ago. The funny thing is at home, I seem to have days where most people don't give me a second glance at all and others where it feels like literally everybody is staring and every other person I meet will stop and say they like my hair colour or something along those lines. I used to put it down to some days wearing more casual clothing or makeup and others feeling a little more gothed up, but the three years I have had unnaturally coloured hair I look abnormal even when I think I'm dressed down.
When we were on holiday even though WE were the tourists I felt as though we were the attraction (The boyfriend with the shaved head, beard and tattoos and me with my dark clothes and green hair). People stared A LOT. Most of them weren't even malicious or judgemental, just innocently gawping as if we were street entertainers or characters in costume, even the locals in the shops and bars were taken aback. I still got a lot of hair compliments though, and most of our conversations ended up being about our baby or our dog anyway. That's another thing, I think Welsh people are generally very nice, and whilst Bristolians and people from the South West can come off as grumpy we are generally a pretty tolerant people. In the UK I think Goths and alternative types face a lot more stigma in the north of England than in the south, especially judging as Manchester was the first city to truly recognise alternative subculture as a hate crime motive and make positive steps towards a solution to the problem. Although I personally would put this down as a direct result of the horrific murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007, which I am sure you are all aware of. But what happened to her did serve as a catalyst for change, and her mother and all those involved in the Sophie Lancaster foundation are the amazing people who drove for those changes.
So here's to them. And to everyone who ever experienced unpleasantness because they were brave enough to be true to themselves.