Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

“Freak Flag” (Urban Dictionary):

  • A characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking.
  • Letting loose, being down with your cool self, especially in front of a group of strangers. Your inner freak, that wants to come out, but often is supressed, from social anxiety.

    I was at a paddling team party – more like a relaxed potluck dinner with a chance to sit back and enjoy each other’s company outside of a boat. One of the girls plugged in her phone into the stereo and put on some dance music, and it didn’t take long before a little dance party broke out in the living room. A couple girls were in the middle shakin’ it, then one of the boyfriends joined in. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere, one of the most quiet girls on the team stepped into the middle and just let go of any and all inhibition and went to town with funky dance moves. She was shaking and moving every part of her body to the music, and her smile was as big as her dance flare. All of us on the periphery stood there in shock at this new brazen dancing queen that was shining out of what we knew as the shy girl. She let her freak flag fly.

    As I thought about it, I realized three false “truths” that many of us probably share:
    1. We all have a freak flag we want to fly
    2. We don’t do it out of fear of what people will think
    3. We believe that the only way to do it is under some substance influence

    We all have one, no denying it. If you don’t have one, you’re boring, but I don’t believe anyone is boring at the core – just on the outside. It’s just that most of our freak flags are folded neatly (from rare use) and tucked way in the back corner of ourselves. But we want to fly it. We want to let our weirdness and uniqueness burst out because it takes more effort and energy to suppress it and to project our current boring conformist exteriors. I want to be like that girl who just let loose at the party. I wanted to just jump right in and dance with her, but I stopped myself because I was afraid of what the other girls would think – which of course they wouldn’t have cared because I was one of those side-liners watching, and I was both impressed and jealous.

    We stop ourselves because of fear. Fear of what other people will think, fear of what we may see in ourselves, fear. What’s that statistic? 90% of things that people worry about never happens. I’ve also heard that 78% of statistics are made up on the spot, but I really believe the worry stat – it’s gotta be in the 90% area. Fear of what others think is such a foolish but real guide by which many of us live…especially people pleasers like me. Who cares?! They certainly don’t!

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Suess

    As for the third reality, resorting to alcohol or any substance to boost our courage and lose our inhibitions – it’s a quick-fix, sure, but you’ll always wake up the next morning stuck with the same you…so you may as well make yourself a fun you all the time instead of just a weekend-party-time-fun-you version. Liquid courage is too quick of a fix…and I’m lecturing myself on this one. It’s surface-fix, not true-fix. I’m allowed to fly my freak flag AND be free of alcohol while doing it…what a concept! I bring up the alcohol specifically because I’m an anti-drug sorta gal, but I know lots of shyish people turn to drugs to bring out the fun them…stop it! now! Enjoy life naturally! And to all you non-shy types out there – if you see one of us shy people looking like we REALLY want to join in and dance, just grab our hand and bring us on the dance floor! If your freak flag flies a little more easily than others, help a sister or brother out!

    “Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.” ~Henry Miller

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