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Tips For Letting Your Freak Flag Fly

OwningPink's picture

Dancing and Serving at the Muir Beach Fireman's Barbecue

Dancing and Serving at the Muir Beach Fireman's Barbecue

I used to care a lot about what people thought. I perseverated over what I wore, how I behaved, what I ate and drank, who I hung with, who I dated, what I spent time doing- pretty much everything. But as you can see from this photo (at the Muir Beach Volunteer Fireman’s Barbecue), I’ve pretty much let that go. At this BBQ, I volunteered to serve food, which can be a tedious assembly line task. Put chicken on plate, spoon up beans, get salad. Put chicken on plate, spoon up beans, get salad. (Snoooozzzze….) But if you add “throw your arms up in the air and boogie to the killer music,” it changes everything. Suddenly, even the most mundane task is transformed into an opportunity to express your gratitude for being right here, right now, in this blessedly present moment.

Used to be I would hear a little voice in my head that said, "Dance, baby, Dance!" But I would quell the voice, snickering something like, "Don't be ridiculous. What will everybody THINK." Now, if the music comes on and I feel like dancing, I just dance- even if I’m the only one shakin' my groove thang. What I’ve discovered is that mojo is contagious. If you simply let your freak flag fly, others feel inspired to let theirs fly too. Why obsess over what others think when you could be disseminating love and spreading joy?

What do I mean by “letting your freak flag fly?” I’m not talking about getting stoned or being a ‘ho or engaging in disrespectful or unsafe behavior. I’m talking about opening the channel for your joy, mojo, and authentic self to express themselves. What have I done to let my freak flag fly? Here are some tips:
  1. Ask yourself-honestly- how YOU really want to dress/ act/ behave/ be? Then, as long as it’s not going to endanger anyone or land you in jail, JUST DO IT. Want to wear a purple hat to church? Why not wear the purple hat? Feel like skinny-dipping in the lake on a hot summer night when it’s just you and your best bud? Why not skinny dip? If the urge to sing along to the radio strikes you, I say sing your heart out, baby!
  2. Release your concerns about what “everybody” thinks. Who the hell is everybody, anyway? Make a list. When the critic in your head tells you that “everybody” will disapprove of you when you let your freak flag fly, who are these people? Most of the time, our “everybody” boils down to a few key people- like Mom, your ex-boyfriend, and Great Aunt Myrtle. Do those few people really want you to diminish your joy? Do you really care if they do?
  3. Look in the closet and assess whether your wardrobe really lets your freak flag fly. A friend of mine recently had a style consultant come into her closet, and the woman said, “Honey, there’s not a single bright color in your whole closet, and yet your light shines so bright. Why not reflect it? Everything is big and baggie, but you have this hourglass figure. Is that what you want to express to the world?” When you let your freak flag fly, sometimes that means you’ve got to go shopping so you can show the world on the outside who you really are in the inside. (Hmm…I’ve been buying a lot of hot Pink lately…)
  4. Unleash your heart. Do you feel the inspiration to hug someone you barely know or to call an old lady “Sweetie” or to hold hands with a girlfriend? Why hold back? I’ve discovered that there’s just not enough love in the world. If your heart tells you to put love out into the world, please don’t censor it! When I was a kid, Mom taught me about what my husband Matt calls "lucky penny love" from the song Mom taught me- "Love is something if you give it away. It's just like a magic penny, hold it tight and you won't have any. Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many, they'll roll all over the floor." Put love out into the world, and love will coming pouring in.
  5. Follow your bliss. When a wave of joy washes over you, don’t push it away. Bask in it! Those are giant shots of mojo, and you want to invite them in, rather than push them away.
  6. Surround yourself with other freak flag flyers. You will be inspired and encouraged, rather than squashed or put in a box.
  7. “Be the change you want to see in the world” –Mahatma Gandhi. Want to live in a world where others are letting their freak flags fly? Be the example.
  8. Make a list of things you feel tempted to do, but don’t. Until recently, I’ve been fixing my hair in mature and responsible hairstyles. But what I really wanted to do was put my hair in two braids, ponytails, or little knots over my ears that my daughter calls “Bunny ears.” My inner critic told me 40-year old doctors don’t style their hair this way. Then I realized this is ridiculous. My list of things I wanted to do but didn’t was lengthy- and I smiled when I read what was on it. I wanted to get henna tattoos and face-paintings any chance I get, but I'm not quite committed enough to get a real tattoo. Sometimes, I want to wear hot Pink wigs, but I don't want to die my hair. Still listening to the truth within me. What's on your list? Why not indulge your list? That’s your authentic self talking….you might want to listen up.
  9. Spend time in silence, so you can hear the inner voice that tells you how your freak flag wants to fly. When I talk about this at workshops, some people say, “I don’t have a freak flag.” I say BULLSHIT! We all do. We’ve just been so socialized to squelch it that when we give it permission to fly, it droops. Sit in silence, be still, and listen to the song of your soul.
  10. Attend gatherings where others are letting their freak flag fly. It might be easier to unfurl yours for the first time if you’re the meekest of a wilder bunch. Then store up some of what you experienced and experiment with putting it out there in the world on a regular basis. You just might find yourself the only person dancing in the serving line at your next fireman’s barbecue.
When I was writing this post, I was tweeting on Twitter about letting your freak flag fly, and I asked Pinkies on Twitter to answer two questions. Here’s what they said:

What do you do to let your freak flag fly?

My sister, Keli Rankin, letting her freak flag fly

My sister, Keli Rankin, letting her freak flag fly

imninnkeeper Freaky is kinda cool! Off w/politically correct Polo shirt, On w/striped tank top & wild scarf around my head. Angel says ME 2!

singlexxx Letting ur "Freak Flag Fly"...putting on a nice pair of sexy heels and having a hot nite out!!

paulag01 I'd say be your authentic self - one persons freak is another person's normal. Seize the diversity.

LSFProgram I would set a good example!

missdestructo What do I do to let my freak flag fly? I wake up in the morning. :)

Lenswithlove I dance around the living room with freedom and abandon

CEOMamma I wear boots.

kendallthiessen Crazy costumes, dancing like I am alone and being as much in the moment as I can. Not exactly "freaky" but def my flag!

CCooper83 I wear what I like, I don’t tan (kills people and I don’t want 2 fry myself) I’ve been wearing my hair naturally curly 4 almost 10 years. My motto is and will always be: DILLIGAF. Do I look like I give a fuck? I love acting silly in public :)

ebuie It means David Crosby is singing about almost having cut his hair. :-)

What does it mean to let your freak flag fly?

GoddessMich Freak flag includes: singing loudly when the spirit moves, wearing a flower in my hair and sometimes, the Cape and Tiara, too.

jess_clevergirl I think it just means to be yourself, no matter how strange, no matter what else anyone thinks.

BruceBarone "Freak Flag Fly" = BE TRUE TO YOUR SELF. Express it.

juliedeborah to me it’s to not give a damn and be who you want to be and not to worry what other people think.

What do you Pinkies thing? What does it mean to let your freak flag fly? How will you fly yours? Do tell...

Freak flag flying high,



violette's picture

I think this is a wonderful

I think this is a wonderful post....thank you thank you thank you! I let my freak flag fly by living in a purple magic cottage with a giant dragonfly on the front and I used to drive a painted and glittered van. Also i paint all of the doors in my home very artfully! Appearing on the show Weird Homes was another way to let my freak flag fly! Hooray for us!

love violette

Jason's picture

I wear socks with my sandals,

I wear socks with my sandals, have dance parties in my living room, howl at the moon and love gluten free oatmeal with peanut butter.

I also love to make-up wrap songs with my daughter.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Way to go, WolfMoon!

Way to go, WolfMoon! Congratulations! I'm so happy you've decided to own who you are. Life's too short not to live it authentically. What you're doing takes so much courage. Kudos to you.

WolfMoon's picture

I just recently decided to

I just recently decided to let my freak flag fly in a HUGE way. I am a 35 year old gay man, in very conservative Texas. I was raised up in the buckle of the bible belt....now I am engaged to the most wonderful man...we are getting married in Sept. Also, I have dedicated myself to Wicca, and to all the Goddess and God have to offer in this beautiful world of ours. Our flag is flying high!!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Right on! I love that. I just

Right on! I love that. I just wrote that on the wall of my office. "I wear my freak flag on my sleeve, baby." -Jamie

Jamie's picture

LOVE IT!! Today I was


Today I was standing in the living room waiting to see my honey out as he gathered his stuff to go for a walk. Suddenly he just looked at me and smiled and I was like, "What?" I had been totally grooving to myself, hands in the air and smiling. LOL, I hadn't even really noticed.

I wear my freak flag on my sleeve, baby.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Amen, sister! Just yesterday,

Amen, sister! Just yesterday, I took a photo of my daughter wearing this crazy joker hat. And I was so proud of her that she wanted to go out in the world that way- fearless, proud, and letting her freak flag fly. Funky hats of the world- UNITE!

Gloria's picture

One of My favorite things to

One of My favorite things to say is this: Life is Short. If you want to Wear a Big Funky Hat, You should wear a Big Funky hat. The first time I said it was driving through a toll booth. I was wearing an interesting hat. The Toll taker said to me, "Girl, look at you with that Funky hat!" It was a Compliment, I proudly took. My response was, "Life is Short. If you want to wear a Funky Hat, You should wear a Funky Hat." And I meant it. And she said, "Right on, Girl"

It was an AMEN moment.

Be an Ambassador For Human Beings Everywhere by wearing your Funky Hat. Whatever that means to you.

Purple Pens | Sally Around The Bay's picture

[...] by @LissaRankin who is

[...] by @LissaRankin who is all about fun and authenticity and encouraging others to let their freak flags fly which I think I am doing very nicely with this post) I bought a new toy for my desk, a wind up [...]

Lissa Rankin's picture

Love it, Sally! You and Celia

Love it, Sally! You and Celia are both gorgeous because you're both being authentic to who you are- butch, femme, whatever. Why do people expect us to fit into boxes, even when we're already living out of the box (or closet, as it may be!) I honestly don't get that. It's as if even those society might already consider a bit on the fringe (like artists, for example) expect each other to be dark, wear black, suffer financially, and have mental illnesses and addictions. Why do we do that to each other. Why can't we all just accept that we are who we are? We're going to OWN PINK in our own way, and we call it a day?

Thanks for sharing your truth with us, Sally. OWN it, baby (I know you already are, girlfriend!)

SallyK's picture

I love painting my toes odd

I love painting my toes odd colors from rainbow to purple to blue but that isn't very freaky to me anymore because I always do it.

I guess one way I am freaky is I look like a "typical, straight, Marin mom, housewife type" but I'm not. :-) In the lesbian community it's fairly common that women my age and older have short hair. I've gotten comments such as "women only have long hair to please men" and other comments that seem to have expectations or judgments behind them. In the past I've felt pressure to be more "dyke" looking but "dyke" looking is not me. I'm pretty darn feminine. I like my long hair. I love flowers. I love pink and purple and that's just how it is.

I have to say though that as gay people are becoming more accepted in society... the "stereotypical" looks are starting to go away. I think gay people are feeling more free to look how ever they want - butch to femme - it's all good. And in turn I think straight people (and everyone in between) are also feeling more free to play with their looks.

By the way my partner/wife has short spiky hair and I love it! It's just not for me.

7 Lessons We Can Learn from Michael Jackson’s Life and Death's picture

[...] Celebrate the diversity

[...] Celebrate the diversity within yourself and others. Lissa at Owning Pink had a great post on “Letting Your Freak Flag Fly” and I added to that conversation via a Twitter discussion. The message? Be your authentic self and [...]

Lissa Rankin's picture

You go, Pinkies! Let it

You go, Pinkies! Let it fly....Woo hoo!!

Leah's picture

Great post! I am all about

Great post! I am all about letting your freak flag fly. I love the way you break it down here.

Rock on sister! Leah

Chase's picture

I LOVE this post . I started

I LOVE this post . I started letting my "freak flag" out all over the place this year and it so so freeing. Keep up the great work inspiring others!

Lissa Rankin's picture

I LOVE your hair, Jean! It's

I LOVE your hair, Jean! It's so YOU. And isn't that what letting your freak flag fly is all about? It's allowing your appearance, actions, responses, and choices to reflect on the outside who you are on the inside.

And thank you Joanna! Glad you liked it!

joanna rawvelous's picture

Great article! :D

Great article! :D

Jean Kowalski's picture

Well, first.....I wear my

Well, first.....I wear my hair short and spikey!! Even when people constantly are trying to get me to grow my hair out! I say, excuse me...whose hair is it??!!!!

I sing whenever I want and as loud as I want, even though the singing voice isn't one for recording!

When I do attend gatherings, I wear the brightest colors I can find!!! Always makes people do a double take!!

Come on girls ... fly your flags!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Funny, Kittie- I was just

Funny, Kittie- I was just talking with Matt about what a savant I am regarding song lyrics. He started singing a commercial jingle and I went off with all the words! Isn't it funny how we all let our freak flag fly.

And you have a belly button piercing? YOU GO GIRL! Didn't know that. See what happens when you live thousands of miles apart? Thanks for the affirmation, honey. LOVE YOU! xoxo Lissa

Kittie Johnson's picture

I like to hand out

I like to hand out compliments to perfect strangers when I like whatever it is I like about them...say nice jewelry or that color looks awesome on you...whatever, but I swear I love that look of surprise on people's faces & then the smile:-)

I can picture your mom with her guitar singing with us in elementary school. I bet, if reminded, i could still sing all those songs.

Singing along with the radio, painting my toenails fun colors, buying costume jewelry, still have my belly button pierced, getting on the floor & playing with my dogs, going to the beach & wearing a bikini bathing suit, having a drink on a weekday, trading backrubs with my honey...I could go on, but other people might want to post.

Keep up the awesome blog Lissa!!!

Lissa Rankin's picture

I say DO IT!!! All of it! And

I say DO IT!!! All of it! And Leslee, who gives a flip whether it's still cool? (It is, isn't it, Pinkies? But what would I know- I've NEVER been cool!) If your freak wants a belly button ring, get one, sweetie. And a big pink flower tattoo? Well, of course, I'm ALL over that!

Leslee Horner's picture

I was at the gym the other

I was at the gym the other day and this woman stopped working out and suddenly started dancing her ass off to the music in the gym. I was so jealous....it was awesome! Maybe next time I'll join her.

I also really want to get my belly button re-pierced (but am trying to figure out if that's still cool...def. not letting the freak flag fly if I'm asking that question) and I'd love to get a huge pink flower tattoo on my upper back between my shoulder blades.

Fred's picture

For me, my freak flag flies

For me, my freak flag flies when I share loving moments with my sweetie! Champagne with Wild Hibiscus Blossoms and Baklava also help!

Beatrice Trezevant's picture

I am usually one of the

I am usually one of the wildest in the crowd, but I'm sure that I could find new ways to let my "freak flag fly". Hmmm...

Lissa Rankin's picture

Ah, thank Pinkies! (Dab,

Ah, thank Pinkies! (Dab, dab...) You GET IT! Warms my heart...

Anne Lubner's picture

Life is too short not to be

Life is too short not to be yourself! Love how you expressed this so well.

Bruce Barone's picture

AMEN! This brings a tear to


This brings a tear to my eyes; it is such a beautiful post.

Everyone ought to read it.

Paula G's picture

Yes I love this post! I got

Yes I love this post! I got in on the second part of the tweet conversation... so yes I think just being true to yourself is what it's all about. One person's freak is another person's kindred spirit. That's what makes life great and as long as we can all just accept that the better off we are. So hell dance away, dye your hair, sing on the top of your lungs and enjoy. That's what we're here on the planet to do...

Bless you on the food line - been there, done that. Not my favorite task, but it can be fun if you make it so.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Amen, sister! I've always

Amen, sister! I've always thought about dying my hair. Never done it. At first I thought that was because I was too conservative, but I've realized it's just that I genuinely like the color of my natural hair. But I don't think I"ll genuinely like grey- so I'll go nuts with hair dyes when that happens. It'll be FUN! Welcome to our collective Pink Posse, sweetie- we accept you, blue hair and all :)

miss destructo's picture

Oh yes! And I have bright

Oh yes! And I have bright blue hair! :)

Fantastic blog, I am bookmarking this. I believe that if more people were themselves they would be much more successful in life! :)

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