Honestly, I get that when this phrase was originally uttered there were several “counter-cultures” and movement of various kinds and anyone who wasn’t a white bread and picket fence kind of person was considered a freak. But, um, that was 60 years ago. But I heard someone say the phrase, “hey, let your freak flag fly,” just the other day. That bothers me. the phrase itself bothers me and the tone with which it was spoken bothered me. It was dismissive and heavy with a subtext of, “whatever, I’ll tolerate it but I’ll never accept it.” Why, after all this time, all the revolutions, advancements, breakthroughs, breakdowns, and reconstructions are we still looking at other individuals with disdain if they’re not exactly like us? And why do we feel the need to label people, personalities, affinities, lifestyles, etc. with such negative connotations?
Here’s a short list of different characteristics of people: sports enthusiasts, those who don’t like sports, those who love older, those who love younger, those who love everyone, gays, straights, bis, educated, uneducated, those who got their education from an institution, those who are self taught, trade workers, office workers, those who exercise regularly, those who get their exercise from everyday life, religious, spiritual, those who don’t believe at all, bibliophiles, technophiles, those who like movies, adrenaline junkies, phobics, allergics, vanillas, kinks, celebates, geeks, jocks, introverts, extroverts, runners, swimmers, horrible drivers, good cooks, fashionistas, recessionistas, recyclers, warriors, wallflowers, and those who ardently politically incorrect.
So, if that’s just the short list of what I could think of off the top of my head, imagine how long a complete list would be. It is pretty uncommon at this point to find a person, any person, who can be described in few words and even less common to find someone who has an interest in only one thing. We each have those things about us that are common with a large group of other people as well as those things that are only common with a very small group of individuals. Oh, and never forget: there will always be something about you that is totally and completely unique to everyone else. You know what that is? Your individual combination of things. You are your own master blend. What is it? I assure you, it’s not complete. But that’s another glorious thing about being complex.
So who am I? Let’s see if I can make this short (but again, not complete):
I am a musically diverse, bibliophilic, gear-headed, beach-bumming, rednecked, educated, wanderlustful, romantically open-minded, food-loving, dice-set-owning, geeky game playing, swimming, weight lifting, pickup truck driving, M*A*S*H loving, sun worshipping, technophilic, outdoorsy, active, alcohol imbibing, independent person with a penchant for sarcastic retorts, an undying respect for the military, police and fire departments, and a closet full of shoes.
Yeah, that’s pretty close to me. Who are you?