We’re back in Germany and I’m smiling to myself as I recall seeing an advertisement for a “women’s flea market” while out shopping yesterday. However, I wasn’t quite sure what this headline was trying to tell me. Is it a flea market organized by women? Is it only for women? Or is it a flea market exclusively for women or can you buy or possibly even sell women, but only to other women? I just don´t know. As you can see, the possibilities are endless. 

With this mischievous thought in mind, I remembered a conversation I had with a participant after my presentation. The kind lady approached me at the end and remarked, “I would have preferred more examples that were focused on women in the films and stories you shared. It mostly centered on men.” I smiled and replied, “I thought my example of Michelle Obama was very feminine.” She nodded in agreement, “Yes, you’re right. But even the pictures of all the celebrities at the beginning – the ones with women were all darker than the ones with Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Co.” Ah, I understand. I thanked her politely for the feedback and pondered over my examples and whether I had enough diversity in my photos, including children, babies, minorities, people from different countries, people with disabilities, and even animals. Unless we count Yoda from Star Wars as an animal, then I might have lucked out and earned a half-animal point.

In the end, I came to an important decision. Everything is fine just the way it is. No matter what adjustments, changes, or actions I take, it would never be “right” for someone else. Like my example I use of my blue and red glasses. Someone else may dislike this choice of color because they wear a red pair themselves. Or someone may dislike cruises, and therefore my stories about the ship wouldn’t be well received. It all comes down to what we do every day, what we talk about, and what we work on – it’s all about our personal preferences and our lives. So, whether someone likes or dislikes our examples has nothing to do with you or your examples. It’s all about their individual perception, and it doesn’t make them good or bad. It’s just their opinion.

Does it make sense to explain why I chose these examples and how I see them? To a certain extent, yes. But not always and not for everything. Some people look at the message behind something, while others look at the messenger or the vehicle used to deliver it. And that’s what makes us human. Everyone is different, and that’s okay.

Stick to your own path if it feels right and fits for you. Your company/your life = your rules. The same goes for the women’s flea market. Regardless of which variant of my assumptions ends up being correct at the end of the day, as a man, I won’t be welcome there. That’s what this headline makes clear to me. Does that have to be true? No, only for me. Instead of getting upset or trying to make suggestions for improvement, I’ll just smile to myself, keep my fleas for another market, and leave things as they are. Because everything is fine just the way it is.

Speaking of “seeing,” on Tuesday at 7 pm, I will be opening the German “Pure Lust am Leben” online congress. And this week, there’s also a wonderful talk by Evelyn Ohly & Axel Kimmel from “Sehen ohne Augen” (seeing without eyes). If you’re interested in why you don’t actually need eyes to see, you can still sign up spontaneously for the whole week with all the great talks for free. Go to pure-lust-am-leben.de and use the code „Norman“ to get your ticket for free.