I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.
It’s true. I got skills.
I might not be able to hunt down ruthless, sex-trafficking kidnappers, but I can speak movie dialogue like nobody’s business. I have a nearly inexhaustible recall of movie quotes.
I’m kind of a big deal.
A favorite quote of mine comes from the movie The Family Stone (a brilliantly funny, a little bit heartbreaking and all-around awesome film). Laid-back Ben tells his brother’s obsessive, highly strung girlfriend Meredith, “You have a freak flag…you just don’t fly it.”
This is true of so many of us.
UrbanDictionary.com defines freak flag as “A characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking.”
Your freak flag is that innate tendency that is distinctly, unabashedly, wholly you. It might be a trait so secret that only you know about it. It might be your calling card, something with which you proudly declare as your own. It might be funny. It might be sad, even a little desperate. It might be weird as fuck.
- Maybe pink is your signature color.
- Maybe wearing the shoes makes you fall down.
- Maybe you know everything there is to know about maple syrup.
- Maybe you like to eat human liver with fava beans and a nice chianti.
The point is: It is yours.
Do you have a flag?
Most people ask themselves if they have a freak flag? That’s not the question. The real question is, do they let it fly?
We live in a cynical world. A cynical world.
Often, our natural response is fear, especially when we are faced with the decision to own our truth. Fear of looking foolish. Fear of messing up. Fear of being different. Fear of missing out. Fear of failure. Fear of being rejected.
I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.
So. Much. Fear.
But here’s the thing about fear — it can only control us if we permit it. For everything we fear, there are scores of other people who share our feelings, who are waiting for one brave soul to step forward and unfurl her flag, who will stand with us in solidarity against the naysayers, the bullies, and the haters.
Fear does not work as long as they have hope, and Katniss Everdeen is giving them hope.
It does take hope, and it takes courage to overcome our fears, to be raw and vulnerable and messy, to express ourselves in every bit of our freakish glory. But, courage isn’t the absence of fear; courage is choosing to act in spite of the fear.
It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.
I decided to embrace my strangeness a long time ago. I am obsessed with office supplies. I sing out loud when a song comes on that I love, even if I’m wearing earbuds on public transport. I wear slippers to the grocery store. I am a bookworm, a nerd, a collector of inane trivia. I like staying at home, even when that home is halfway across the world. I don’t like Tom Hanks. Or Oprah Winfrey, for that matter. I accept that I have no basis for my dislike, and I dislike them anyway. I like washing dishes by hand. I refuse to flatiron my curls, no matter how many bloggers or fashion magazines tell me I should. I bow down at the Altar of Apple, from iPhone to iPad to Macbook. My closet is organized according to ROY G BIV. I’m kinda addicted to QVC. I find getting my leg waxed to be a pampering experience. My favorite comfort food is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, even though I am otherwise against processed foods.
I wish I knew how to quit you.
I am an unapologetic feminist. I talk about rape, including my own, more than most people are comfortable with. I don’t care. I have PTSD — fear, panic, flashbacks and agoraphobia are part of my everyday — even though I am not a soldier and I look ‘normal’. Grocery shopping at Whole Foods makes me happy. I am a dog person. I despise cats. I don’t give a fuck how awesome your particular cat might be, I’m still gonna hate it. I am a free spirit, a Boho princess, a hippie chick, a peace-loving liberal. I’m a fan of opera and Indie rock and boy bands. I write in coffee shops. I might be overly fond of red wine and vodka, though not together.
Get me a vodka rocks! Mom, it’s breakfast. …and a piece of toast.
What I am saying is that my idiosyncrasies and obsessions and philosophies and preferences come together to make the complex core of who I am.
You know me. I can’t change.
And I like who I am. I want to share who I am with the world.
The Dude abides.
PS There are 16 movie quotes included in this post. They’re easy to identify. Because italics. I’ve told you one is from The Family Stone. I’ll send a little gift to the first person who can name the remaining 15 shows. Your answer must be left in the comments of this post, not on the Facebook post. Here’s a couple of hints: one is from a comedy special and one is from my favorite television show ever. The others are from movies.