Wave Your Freak Flag

Do you ever feel a little different from most of the people around you?

Are you and your “BFF” such a great fit because you’re both completely crazy in a way that no one else understands?

Are there parts of yourself even the people closest to you don’t get to see, because you fear those parts might be just a little too weird?

If so, there’s big chance that you should be diagnosed with…

…being completely normal!

At first I was going to say “…a freak like me”.   Or possible an entirely different kind of freak? Who knows?  I don’t know, because I don’t know you (yet).  But I have my suspicions that if we were to look in any single person’s mind and see what lives there, we could conclude they’re total weirdos if whe wanted to.

So for now let’s say you and I just happen to be misfits in a world full of normal people.  (Or alternatively: that we’re some of the last “sane” people in a world full of “crazy” ones, you choose 😉 )

Many people like us start to feel a little worried about their freaky side at some point. Because they haven’t found a group of people they belong to yet.  This makes them feel alone after a while. So slowly but surely, in an effort to blend in, they start playing down that makes them unique.

I remember watching that happen around me as a teenager. While my closest friends were all people with distinctive personalities that didn’t look like they belonged together, I often hung out in “other people’s friend circles” as well.

It always amazed me in how many of these peer groups, people did everything they could to be as similar as possible to everyone else.  They wore the same clothes.  They had the same music on their iPhone (I even remember one guy renaming the songs on his mp3 player -an archaic device not unlike the modern iPod- to the names of songs that were liked by his “friends” instead of the actual song names.  No joke. ). They also talked almost exclusively about things that had nothing to do with who they were as a person.

Conversations ranged from “Check out this song that I love because I’m supposed to love it” to parroting opinions and mimicking behavior that they already knew would be accepted by the group.

I can’t recall I’ve ever heard people in these cliques tell the story of how they played trumpet in their spare time, had a hidden interest in African history or that one time they went to a Brony convention as a dyslexic hoping to pig out on delicious baked goods with or without added cannabinoids, only to return home a little confused.

In my early twenties, I saw the same thing happen in the workplace, albeit with much older people.  They would talk about television shows they knew everybody watched, or “safe subjects” that fit the corporate culture (like talking about clothes in a clothing store) while staying silent about their dreams of climbing the mount Everest, their passion for female soccer or the Christmas party at their BDSM dungeon.

Some of them actually had a very hard time socializing with me since I don’t watch television, don’t follow sports and am not into politics.  Imagine that.  30 years of being alive to talk about, but running out of topics as soon as you run out of television shows.

Instead of proudly broadcasting their exceptional uniqueness, most of these people hide under a thick layer of fake mediocrity to “fake fit in”.

Yes I say “fake fit in”.  Because when you paint a pig white and put some brown spots on it, it might stop looking out-of-place in a crowd of cows, but that still doesn’t make it one.

(And I’m not even going to get started on milking it.   That’s just disturbing.)

Your Freakness Is Your Beauty

“Who run the world?”

-Beyoncé, 2011

“Not girls.”

-Pepijn, 2016

Okay, I’ll have to admit:  That was a bit of a tasteless joke about modern society.  And honestly, I personally believe even the men would be better off if the world was run by women instead of them.  What I meant to say is:

“Not girls.  Freaks.  (Which includes a lot of girls as well now that I think of it 😉 )”

It’s not even hard to prove that.  Just think of all the people who inspire you. The people who you admire in life.  The people who you love, or even the people you choose to hang out with.

Are they like everyone else?  I’m 99,9% sure they’re not.  Because if they were, you would feel the same about every single person alive.  You like them so much because they stand out by not hiding their uniqueness to you.

I’m willing to go even further and say that every invention or discovery worth mentioning throughout the entire history of mankind,  was made by people who dared to openly show their freaky side and challenge the status quo.

They probably were surround by people who thought what they were doing was stupid and weird as well.  But just like Bronies, they kept going anyway.  Think how weird it must’ve been for people when their neighbor told them was “inventing a device to talk to people who live on the other side of the planet”… What a freak 😉  I’m glad he kept going.

Just like Marilyn Monroe wouldn’t be the as famous without that “ugly” mole on her face, your real beauty lies in your freakiness too.

If you only show to other people the parts of you that are just like everyone else, you create the kind of  relationships with those people were, if they ever wanted too, on any given day they could leave and replace you with, well…  Anyone else 😉

Just like those people you love or look up to, it’s exactly those unique parts of you that will make them love you, or miss you when you’re not around.

“I see your true colours

And that’s why I love you

So don’t be afraid to let them show”

-Cindy Lauper, 1986”

“Putting quotes on your blog to validate your claims is pretentious.”

–Pepijn, 2016

Contrast Creates Beauty

I get it, showing your freaky side in public can be a little hard sometimes.  There is no shortage of people who’d rather talk shit about you when you truly show yourself, than to try to do it themselves.

You’ll also meet a lot more people who just genuinely don’t like you.  That’s because when you’re openly different, you polarize people.  You are no longer “that forgettable mediocre person”.  You are now someone with a distinctive personality that people either love or hate.

It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have that happen to you.  I mean, why would you still want to hang out with someone who wouldn’t like you once you showed them your true self? Doesn’t sound like a fun time 😉

Still you are probably not enthusiastically lining up to be hated by people, either.

… until the day this blog came to the rescue in a heroic manner and shared with you the one inspiring deep quote that will make your whole life better.  I advise sharing it on Facebook with a beautiful sunset in the background, using it as your Tinder tagline and tattooing on your forearm or hips in cursive handwriting.

Here it comes…

…(that’s what he said)…

….

“Haters make me famous.”

-[Insert person who never said this, preferable Abraham Lincoln.  Bonus points for grammar or spelling mistakes.]

I think I just lost all my credibility if I ever had any 😉

I know this saying is mostly used by “attention whores” unwilling to work on their own shortcomings. But as I was writing this and thinking of ridiculous quotes I could include into this article, I realized there actually is something to this one.  Lemme ‘splain:

I currently live in Belgium.  In case you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a little known city somewhere in Brussels that specializes in incompetent governments, proudly stating French fries are not French and having only one season:  Autumn.

For that reason, when you wake up in this beautiful town called Belgium, and you suddenly see a ray of sunshine coming through the blinders, you literally jump out of bed and run outside because you feel like it’s going to be the best day ever.  All those dark clouds really make the beauty of the sunshine stand out.

You may say “that’s because rain is ugly” but that’s not true.  I remember residing in California and waking up to some nasty, stormy weather.  Since every other day was sunshine, I loved it.  We immediately went out to sit on the balcony and enjoy the beauty of the rain coming down on us.

It took me much longer until I learned to appreciate the rain here in Belgium simply because the days here lack contrast.  It’s the contrast that creates the beauty.  Beauty needs a backdrop to be appreciated, or even witnessed.  If the sky was completely saturated with stars, no one would notice a single star in that weird yellow sky. If you paint a white castle on a white background in white outlines, you may be the best painter in the world but no one else will ever realize it.  If a tree falls in the woods… Let’s not go there.

So in a way that means that all these “normal” people who hate on you, actually help you shine.  They are the perfect backdrop for you to show how beautiful you really are when you openly embrace your freakiness.

Aren’t they a bunch of friendly, supportive folks 😉

Wave Your Freak Flag

It is an internationally recognized sign that when someone walks under a white flag, this is an indication that they are unarmed and either willing to surrender or negotiate.  This means they should not be fired upon and will not attack either (that’s considered a war crime).

Without a sign like that it would be very hard to know the oncoming “enemies” have good intentions.  So when you’re going to negotiate, it’s a pretty smart move to make sure you wave the white flag.  If you don’t, the odds of dying increase a whole lot 😉

I think most people (including me) simultaneously have the desire to be express themselves in their own unique way and to belong to a tribe of people that makes them feel accepted and supported.

Here’s the thing though.  Just like unarmed soldiers need to wave their white flag to not be shot at, you need to wave your freak flag, or you will remain alone.  No tribe will ever notice you and realize you have something in common.

You can act all “casual and mediocre” if you want, and hide your crazy side like most people do, but in return people will only love you “casually and mediocre-ly” instead of being crazy in love with  you 😉

I get that playing it safe seems like a smart strategy because this “normal tribe” is always readily available, but you know what much more fun than being liked by people?

Being liked by people for who you truly are.

And the thing is, if you dare to wave your freak flag and show people those quirky sides of yourself, you’ll be amazed by how many people actually connect with you on that level but just actively hide it as well.

For example, when I shared my vision on relationships that was my most read article at the time.  It was also the article that got the least comments or likes on Facebook.

You could say that means I shared something “freaky” about myself and people didn’t like it or chose to ignore it, but here comes the interesting part:  It also caused me to receive tons of messages from people who felt the same way about love but didn’t want to admit it publicly.  I would’ve never known how many other people understood me, had I not dared to openly share it.

In a similar way I’ve recently started to open up to some people about some unusual things which happened to me lately.  I ran into disbelief a couple of times, which didn’t hurt the connection since I could relate to the feeling of disbelief. However, what I least expected happened even more commonly:  Many people told me they’d been experienced similar things and didn’t talk to anyone about it.

Now I don’t care if you are a woman stuck in a man’s body, an antelope in a woman’s body or just like to sell tissue boxes of your face that look remarkably similar to sex dolls (which is quite a useful combo, I guess).  There are tons of other people out there who’d love to connect with you on that level if they only knew that part of you.

So please don’t wait for Charles Xavier to come knocking at your door and connect you with those people one day, wave your freak flag proud 😉

 

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