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:
- 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!
- 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?
- 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…)
- 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.
- 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.
- Surround yourself with other freak flag flyers. You will be inspired and encouraged, rather than squashed or put in a box.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Freaky is kinda cool! Off w/politically correct Polo shirt, On w/striped tank top & wild scarf around my head. Angel says ME 2!
Letting ur "Freak Flag Fly"...putting on a nice pair of sexy heels and having a hot nite out!!
I'd say be your authentic self - one persons freak is another person's normal. Seize the diversity.
I would set a good example!
What do I do to let my freak flag fly? I wake up in the morning. :)
I dance around the living room with freedom and abandon
I wear boots.
Crazy costumes, dancing like I am alone and being as much in the moment as I can. Not exactly "freaky" but def my flag!
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 :)
It means David Crosby is singing about almost having cut his hair. :-)
What does it mean to let your freak flag fly?
Freak flag includes: singing loudly when the spirit moves, wearing a flower in my hair and sometimes, the Cape and Tiara, too.
I think it just means to be yourself, no matter how strange, no matter what else anyone thinks.
"Freak Flag Fly" = BE TRUE TO YOUR SELF. Express it.
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,