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Let Your Freak Flag Fly January 10, 2020

The phrase, “Let Your Freak Flag Fly” has been tumbling around my head for a while.  It pops in, unbidden, shouting, commanding, drowning out other, more hesitant phrases.  I have decided to make it the theme of 2020.

freak flag
This is my design for a freak flag. I figured the colors should not match and the font should be a serial killer’s handwriting.

This is 2020.  The year of clear vision.  The year my first-born son graduates from high school and the year I turn 50.  It’s stunning that this is 2020. I’m still writing 2018 on my checks.  (Yes, 2018.  That’s not a typo.)  (2019 was definitely the fastest year on record.  I think I lost a few months in there.  September was one, maybe April.)  I’m declaring 2020 the year that I officially no longer care what you think, and I think you should do the same.

Within reason, of course.  I mean, we all need jobs, and in order to get a job we have to impress the person hiring, and that means caring what the employer thinks.  I want you to buy my books, which means I want you to care what I have to say.

I want to be loved, which means I care if you love me.

But hear me out:

I’ve learned that the opinion I care about the most is my own, and if I don’t satisfy myself first, there’s no way I can make anyone else happy.  And here’s the other thing: I can think I’m fooling whoever I think I’m fooling, but I’m not fooling anyone, and if I think I am, I’m just a fool. 

If you want to be exactly like the other kids, there are hundreds of YouTube videos that will tell you exactly how to do it.  They’ll tell you what to wear, how to talk, what to think, what music to listen to, what tv shows to watch, what to read, and what opinions to have.  Somehow, “influencer” got to be a career choice.  (Honestly, though?  How does one get to be an “influencer?”  Cuz I’d like to be one.  I’d like to get paid handsomely for telling you which brand of ice cream is best[1].) 

If you want to be exactly you, just be exactly you.  Erase the phrase, “What do you think?” from your vocabulary. 

If it makes you happy and it won’t get you arrested, do it.  That’s it.  Those are the only rules.  You may or may not want to be concerned about the happiness of those you love, but truly if they love you they should be happy with you being happy.  Their happiness shouldn’t depend on shoving you into a box of their making. 

What you do on your own time is exactly none of my business.  What I do on my own time is exactly none of yours.

I don’t know who said it originally, but I had a high school history teacher who quoted somebody[2] who said, “My right to swing my fist stops at the end of your nose.”  He demonstrated this by swinging his fist about an inch away from a student’s nose in a way that would probably get him fired in 2020.  This was a heck of a lesson for me, though, and I think about it all the time.  I use this as a litmus test for whether or not I should care about what you are doing – is this swinging of your fist actually connecting with my nose?  Nope?  Well, then I have every right to think that your first swinging is ridiculous, pointless, stupid, sinful, bad, or even annoying, but my opinions are 100% meaningless[3].

If you think it looks good, then it looks good.  If it makes you laugh, then it is funny.  If it sounds good, then it is good music.   If you love someone, then they are loveable.  End of story.  And if someone else thinks you are a freak for it, then they just have to live with their small, judgmental hearts and we should pity them instead of fearing their opinions. 

Let your freak flag fly this year, my friends.  I’ll be planting mine in my front yard and waving it on every street corner.  Beware.

It occurs to me that there is no universally accepted Freak Flag to fly.  If you have a design or an idea for a design (my daughter is a fairly talented artist who could possibly render it into reality) post it in the comments below.


[1] Breyers’ Vanilla Bean.  Fight me.

[2] I could look it up, which would make me look erudite and prepared, but switching from Word™ to Chrome™ is a whole thing and remember, I NO LONGER CARE WHAT YOU THINK, and I don’t care who actually said it first.  The point is that it was SAID and it MEANT SOMETHING TO ME.

[3] Obviously, or I hope obviously, if what you are saying or doing is hateful or mean-spirited, then what you are doing IS connecting with the end of someone else’s nose and you should not be doing it.  Lawyerly disclaimer here: nothing in this article should be construed as my personal permission for you to do anything cruel or spiteful under the banner of “hey, I’m just being me.”

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook or read her award winning books.  Her new book, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

9 Comments

  1. Teri Foltz

    Love this!! See you at Erma and we’ll share our attitudes what do you think? Wait. I don’t care, right? For the record, I love you just the way you are!!!

    Reply

    • Lori Duff

      Back atcha! Not that you care. Or should care. But if you do — YOU ROCK!!

      Reply

  2. Ellet

    I’m guilty of being a socially nervous wreck that cares way too much about what everyone else thinks – also, my life’s too short to do things I don’t feel is right, so I’m even confusing myself sometimes. I will try though!

    Reply

    • Lori Duff

      Your life *is^ too short to do the things you don’t feel are right. Your life is also too short not do to the things that other people don’t like but you do. BE YOU! YOU ROCK THE WAY YOU ARE!! XOXO

      Reply

  3. Miki Thornburg

    Yes! Sounds like a plan. Congratulations.

    Reply

  4. Ernie

    This is awesome. I get the point AND I like it and I’m not just saying that because I want you to like me. 😉 I so wish I was going to Erma where I would look forward to meeting you. My daughter competes in world championships of Irish dancing in Dublin that same weekend. No escaping my role there.

    By the way, I turn 50 in 2020 too (2nd to last day of the year so maybe I am a twinge younger than you? Ha). My 2nd son graduated high school in ’19. The next one graduates in ’21 – always a busy year full of big decisions and major changes. Best of luck with all that!

    Reply

  5. Joni

    OMG! I clicked on your ad in The Bloggess out of curiosity and I can’t believe I found someone else who uses numbered footnotes in a blog post to keep her extra thoughts from leaking out all over! And I just hyperlinked the footnotes in my first post tonight a few hours ago (a reader complained I was frustrating her with all the scrolling up and down), only to find you are way ahead of me. I’m trying to decide if I’m mad that you beat me to this (I assume because you are cleverer and way more educated than I am) or just freaking happy I found someone else who has to spill over into footnotes just to say what she needs to say. Happy New Year – let your freak flag fly!

    Reply

    • Lori Duff

      Thank you!! Footnotes are the ultimate way to say multiple things at the same time. BE HAPPY WE FOUND EACH OTHER. And link your blog here so us footnote happy people can read each other’s stuff.

      Reply

  6. Sandy Lingo

    Oh, wish I could fly my freak flag. You are so young to have come so far. Love your footnotes. “Somehow, “influencer” got to be a career choice. (Honestly, though? How does one get to be an “influencer?” Cuz I’d like to be one. I’d like to get paid handsomely for telling you which brand of ice cream is best[1].) “

    Reply

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Let Your Freak Flag Fly

9 Comments

  1. Teri Foltz

    Love this!! See you at Erma and we’ll share our attitudes what do you think? Wait. I don’t care, right? For the record, I love you just the way you are!!!

    Reply

    • Lori Duff

      Back atcha! Not that you care. Or should care. But if you do — YOU ROCK!!

      Reply

  2. Ellet

    I’m guilty of being a socially nervous wreck that cares way too much about what everyone else thinks – also, my life’s too short to do things I don’t feel is right, so I’m even confusing myself sometimes. I will try though!

    Reply

    • Lori Duff

      Your life *is^ too short to do the things you don’t feel are right. Your life is also too short not do to the things that other people don’t like but you do. BE YOU! YOU ROCK THE WAY YOU ARE!! XOXO

      Reply

  3. Miki Thornburg

    Yes! Sounds like a plan. Congratulations.

    Reply

  4. Ernie

    This is awesome. I get the point AND I like it and I’m not just saying that because I want you to like me. 😉 I so wish I was going to Erma where I would look forward to meeting you. My daughter competes in world championships of Irish dancing in Dublin that same weekend. No escaping my role there.

    By the way, I turn 50 in 2020 too (2nd to last day of the year so maybe I am a twinge younger than you? Ha). My 2nd son graduated high school in ’19. The next one graduates in ’21 – always a busy year full of big decisions and major changes. Best of luck with all that!

    Reply

  5. Joni

    OMG! I clicked on your ad in The Bloggess out of curiosity and I can’t believe I found someone else who uses numbered footnotes in a blog post to keep her extra thoughts from leaking out all over! And I just hyperlinked the footnotes in my first post tonight a few hours ago (a reader complained I was frustrating her with all the scrolling up and down), only to find you are way ahead of me. I’m trying to decide if I’m mad that you beat me to this (I assume because you are cleverer and way more educated than I am) or just freaking happy I found someone else who has to spill over into footnotes just to say what she needs to say. Happy New Year – let your freak flag fly!

    Reply

    • Lori Duff

      Thank you!! Footnotes are the ultimate way to say multiple things at the same time. BE HAPPY WE FOUND EACH OTHER. And link your blog here so us footnote happy people can read each other’s stuff.

      Reply

  6. Sandy Lingo

    Oh, wish I could fly my freak flag. You are so young to have come so far. Love your footnotes. “Somehow, “influencer” got to be a career choice. (Honestly, though? How does one get to be an “influencer?” Cuz I’d like to be one. I’d like to get paid handsomely for telling you which brand of ice cream is best[1].) “

    Reply

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Lori Duff

Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side.  Her latest book, "If You Did What I Asked in the First Place" was a number one Amazon Hot New Release in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.

Let Your Freak Flag Fly January 10, 2020

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