When I’m running ten minutes late for work I save time by leaving the house without a shirt. Not really. The train that pulls into my subway station at 8:37 delivers a white male in his twenties who does not wear shirts. He is pale, plump, hairy, and alternates between a black leather vest and a light wash denim vest. It doesn’t bother me. The first few times that the train pulled into the station the doors opened and he walked off the car he was wearing the unbuttoned black leather vest. The best conclusion (or the most entertaining) I could make was that this man was on his way home from working at a kinky bar/sex dungeon.

Then he started wearing the denim vest. People can surprise you. I had a label, a reason, an understanding. Then he wore a denim vest. I’m having trouble imagining the denim vest at his previous place of employment. It’s harder to wipe down.

What if he chooses to live shirtless? When we pass during our morning commute he is ¬†on his way to a regular 9-5 job. Once he is one block from the office he puts on a shirt. He is being honest with himself: he hates wearing shirts so he doesn’t wear them.

Do you honor your truth regardless of social norms? Eff the labels in your head. No one pays attention to shirtless man because it’s New York and they’re used to seeing him every morning. They recognize that his lack of shirt does not impact their lives.

Listen to your truth and honor it.

“And I can’t change-even if I tried. Even if I wanted to…”

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