For any of you wondering what the heck this blog is about, hang in there.
Consider the following with respect to flying your freak flag.
On March 21, 2008, ‘freak flag’ was named the Urban Word of the Day, according to http://www.urbandictionary.com/.
How is ‘freak flag ‘defined?
It is a characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking. Some of you might recognize it in the following explanation, taken from the movie The Family Stone,
“You have a freak flag, you just don’t fly it.”
David Crosby refers to long hair as a freak flag in his song Almost Cut My Hair, "I feel like letting my freak flag fly."
Another definition is letting loose, being down with your cool self, especially in front of a group of strangers -- your inner self that wants to come out, but often is suppressed, from social anxiety.
How do I simply translate it?
Nobody is perfect, everyone has a freak flag.
And a freak flag, contrary to how you might interpret it, is not a negative thing.
‘Flying’ it is ultimately about embracing you are, all of your colorful, unique, eccentric, creative parts, and letting others see that.
Throughout my professional life, as both a practicing physician and teacher, I’ve run across so many people who don’t let their true selves shine. Maybe they’re concerned about what others will think or fear their own judging inner voice. Perhaps they’ve tried flying their freak flag before and been criticized, ridiculed, laughed at, or ignored. Maybe they’re unsure of what exactly their unique mannerism or characteristic is. While not everyone struggles with identifying and flying their freak flag, most people, unfortunately, continue to keep a part of themselves from the world, month after month, year after year.
So what do to do?
First, realize that everyone has a freak flag. Yes, everyone has unique attributes that the world is actually waiting to see and experience.
I’m reminded of a quote at the beginning of Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!”
Start by embracing who you are – your life story (all the ups and downs of it), your different life stages, your challenges, your triumphs. Comparing yourself to others will get you nowhere fast emotionally. Instead, use that energy to draw up a description of the ways in which you see yourself as creative, adventurous, etc. (enlist the help of your close friends and family if you have a tough time with this).
Second, stop holding yourself back for fear of what others will think.
Step boldly forward, waving your flag. You’ll find people will appreciate and support you – trust that. I’ll share with you one of my freak flag moments from my college days.
I was lead singer of an air band (I use the term ‘singer’ and ‘air band’ loosely) and went by the moniker “Jen Bon Jovi.” It’s a side of me that is the performer, entertainer, creative and maybe eccentric, and I fortunately had a supportive avenue to express that. Perhaps unfortunately, pictures from that time period have recently been posted on Facebook, big hair and all.
Finally, remember Dr. Seuss’ words, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind".
You have a freak flag. Are you flying it?