No matter who you love, love them with Pride

 Alternative Stockholm: vibrant, shocking and full of colour

With our crowded minds and hearts all of us need at least a short break from time to time. Not because we should try to escape from ourselves and the reality, but conversely to recharge our bodies and souls for new goals and adventures. To me this recovery procedure is called travelling. And no matter where I go, I always find inner peace in my beloved Stockholm.

Nordic countries associate with calmness, sea (or, actually, everything that is connected to marine style), and beautiful nature, muscular men, who look like Vikings, and good food. Or in other words- lots of red, blue and white. However, my fifth journey to this Swedish city was different. The pricks of conscience, stress and other mental problems were nagging me whole Summer and within the getaway I found the strength and happiness in the world again. Mostly because I found the definition of love, or maybe that was at least the closest that I got to It.

People define love as a mix of feelings, an emotion, affection, attraction or attachment. Typing this mysterious word LOVE into a Google search engine leads to an infinity and endless amount of articles, quotes, pictures or songs about it. My all-time favourite is Haddaway- what is love. And it’s been stuck in my head since the beginning of this text. It is funny how the deeper online search for love ends with WikiHow article of “how to love” and meaningless tests that come with the diagnoses, such as “wildly, even recklessly, in love” or “Sorry, but the thrill is gone”.

But is love really that commercial? Is it just a really romantic feeling or something really really sexual?  So what is love for real? Love for yourself, your work and creativity, family, nature or animals. Places and faces, cities, sounds and colours. Love for another person? A chance to open yourself and let another person in your world, with almost all strangely confusing thoughts, fears, wishes and desires. Complicated and not fully understood. I see it as a drug, a sense of chemistry. Addictive, long, sometimes too poisonous but not cracking sound. And a colour. A whole bucket of colours.

In Stockholm I saw one more definition of love as it happened to be one of the craziest weeks in the capital. As I visited the city for several times, I did not want to go to any museums, where I have been before already. Luckily, all the best exhibits were straight in the main streets. For the first time in my life I had a chance to see gay pride. I have never seen so many happy people in one place anywhere. Young, old, man, women and even dogs, everyone covered in glitter and rainbow colours. I saw people, who were celebrating love and life. And I wanted to be a part of it forever.

The atmosphere was beyond the limits of imagination. At first it seemed as a preparation for a fabulous apocalypse since the streets were empty and obstructed with white tape, declaring the pride. After floundering in the same spot for a while I have decided to buy some water as it was one of the hottest days in summer. I found a place to watch the pride and it did not take long to start. Two girls, who looked like characters from a futuristic/tribal action movie, greeted everyone while passing in the middle of the road. Crowd went crazy… People shouted, screamed and clapped their hands. It felt like the whole world had zero intolerance and all the good emotions are in this moment, in this part of the Europe.

Policemen and firemen covered in rainbow stamps, men in dresses, skirts and high heels. Scandalous and shocking event full of brave people, who accept everyone as they are. Balloons, costumes, loud and energetic music, people dancing and singing. Couples, friends, families, kids and elder people, decorated party buses, cars, motorcycles, streets, shops and bars around. And smiles, smiles everywhere. This is life. And this is love. Real, messy, crowded and colourful.

Sometimes it feels like some things do not affect me, like they are not real, just a part of the movie or a chapter of a book. They are somewhere far away. Like love. And even though that I felt a bit of a stranger in this environment at first, standing there quietly with my black clothes and dark thoughts, that feeling disappeared with the atmosphere, which sucked me inside and did not let go.

Surprisingly, Stockholm greeted me fully open-armed. I got another opportunity to see one more unique view of the world. At the same time Moderna Museet or the museum of modern art was exhibiting Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama life works. Certainly, that was the most stunning and magnificent art world that I have ever seen. A completely different dimension, something blowing the minds. From the craziest, weirdly shaped and bright coloured canvas to installations with water and lights and even food. And even though that her works were created as a consequence of haunting hallucinations, I still felt the message transferred through love and colours. It is normal to be different, it is normal to have your own world and even if no one understands you right now, eventually someone will.

I carried that feeling during my whole visit in Sweden. And the more colours I let into my daily life, the more my eyes started to open widely. Happiness is all around, the same with love. It depends on us what life we want to see, what life we want to live and create. I am glad for people who painted my life with colours. And no matter, who you love, your dog, family, significant other, job, sky, town, sound or colour, love them with pride.

I love you, Stockholm. I love you, world.

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