I’m sure many of you out there have heard the term “freak flag” and wondered about what the heck it could possibly mean. Is it an insult? Is it a compliment? It is anything special? Is it worthy of a blog post?
The short answer is yes.
Urban Dictionary defines freak flag—its Urban Word of the Day on March 21, 2008—as “a characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking.”
Ok, so what does that mean?
In simplest terms, a freak flag is something that sets you apart from everyone else. Now, I’m not saying that it involves a person swinging from a chandelier or down on all fours, barking like a dog in the middle of a staff meeting. In the right context, that might work, but for the most part, those types of behaviors might land you a trip to a padded room with a jacket you can’t get out of. Rather, waving one’s freak flag might be a gesture learned from your father or an accent that you only use with your best friend. What sets these quirky acts apart is that they would not be defined as freaky if performed in private. However, once you let loose in front of other people, consider your freak flag flown.
For example, I have a co-worker. Let’s call her Mary. Mary is infamous for dramatically exiting rooms. One day, she stopped in front of my desk, raised her hands to her head, stared at the ceiling, and stood there. For at least sixty seconds. She never looked at me or even acknowledged that she was standing directly in front of my workspace. With a heavy sigh, Mary finished whatever it was she was doing and walked out of the room. Dumbfounded by the whole experience, I tried to go back to my spreadsheet, but I found it difficult to focus. Mary had just flown her freak flag.
What’s so important to realize about a freak flag is the acceptance that comes with it. People cannot fly their freak flag without being comfortable with themselves and not giving a rat’s tushy about what other people think about them. A lot of people are envious of those who do not let the opinions of others affect their behavior and I’m sure even more people are made uncomfortable when someone acts in a way that does not fit their definition of “normal.” It makes them uneasy and they don’t know how to react. Or their reaction is to run far, far away.
I have a freak flag of my own and I am definitely not afraid to share it. Are you ready?
I dance all the bloody time.
Yep, I’m that person in the car next to you making the duck face and getting’ down with her bad self. I am the co-worker walking down the hallway with a little extra swing in her hips and a bounce in her booty. I am the gal cha-cha-ing on the tile waiting for her frozen meal to heat up. I am the chick in the store swaying along the aisles with her cart as she reaches for yogurt and cereal. I’ve got music and rhythm inside me all the time and who am I to keep it locked up.
And I see the way people look at me. Some gaze at me like I’m an alien from outer space, but most seem entertained by my antics. It’s hard to frown at someone who is so clearly enjoying herself.
My mom is often embarrassed when I hear a classic song off a public speaker and break out the moves. She’s used to it by now, but she would never join me in my freakiness. That’s what my dad is for. Long before I embraced public dancing, my dad would horrify my teenage self by singing and dancing wherever people could see and hear. Now, we dance together.
My goal is to one day have someone who I don’t know join me in my dancing. You never know how much fun something can be until you throw caution to the wind and join in the pleasure.
But enough about me… what about all of you? There’s a quote in The Family Stone where Luke Wilson’s character tells Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, “You have a freak flag… you just don’t fly it.” I’m sure my Wonderlings are proudly flying their own freak flags.
What defines your freak flag? Do you freely fly it or do you try to suppress it? If you don’t fly your freak flag, why not? What do you think about those folks who do?
I hope you all know how wonderful it is to fly that freak flag, how liberating it feels to do what you want when the mood strikes, and how much fun it is to just embrace your unique little quirks.
And if you don’t, you can always come dance with me.