F is for Freak Flag


Growing up, Ms. Manners and my mother made sure I behaved in a polite manner at all times. I responded with eye rolling and my catch phrase, “For crying out loud,” which drove my mother crazy. The frustration got overwhelming when I felt expressing your individuality went against the grain.   

So, I channeled my loud and energetic personality through my musical and artistic interests, while I stayed quiet. Liz Phair, Sylvia Ji and Chuck Palahniuk sing, paint and write about sex, sadness, darkness and nakedness. Their raw and gritty honesty captures the essence of humanity, breaking through the filters everyone uses to look, sound and act the same.

As an adult, I still fell in line, holding back my true nature for fear of what people would say. It carried over to my writing. My voice and style felt empty and forced. I didn’t want to upset someone, but a writer expresses themselves through their writing. It looked like I didn’t have a clue.

I realized I needed to fly my freak flag, and stay strong. Not every reader will enjoy my writing, but I need to stay true to myself. If I don’t, my creativity becomes constipated. My readers deserve to see me through my writing, not someone I think they want to read. Here’s to growing a thick skin!

What do you fear when you write? 


Amie Kaufman said…
What a fantastic post--amen to flying your freak flag and staying true to yourself!
Matthew MacNish said…
I prefer to rock my nerd card hard than to fly my freak flag high, but I'm known to do both from time to time.
Elaine AM Smith said…
Yeah, fly that flag!
I was so well trained I loved the daily grind and the weight of mortgage repayments.
The pressures of teaching full time combined with the extra burden of an autistic child meant I got stuck in survival.
My greatest fear would be that doing a good job will prevent me from achieving the dream.
Michael Offutt said…
I fear that I will be judged in a negative way for the things that I choose to write about.
Josh Hoyt said…
It is so important to give our readers what they deserve which is our own personal creativity. I fear to put in too much spirituality into my books and that people will reject it for that aspect.
Laura, I'll toast to that! I used to keep a lot in, then I found that people secretly felt the way I did, they just didn't have the courage to speak up. Fly that flag girl! I'm flying mine right behind you.

Susan Oloier said…
The older I get, the less I care what others think of me. It has helped me immensely b/c long ago I was in the same spot as you once were. I can relate, for sure.
Laura, yes! Thank you for sharing this. I've struggled, too, with this and have yet to shed my shell. You're an inspiration!

~ that rebel, Olivia
P.S. I was looking for your follow button, did I miss it?
Anonymous said…
When I was younger I always worried about what people thought and I would never speak out. Now I stand up for myself more often and who cares what people think. They're just jealous! hehe
Erin Kane Spock said…
I love the freak flag idea. I have recently owned that I am "quirky and eccentric" and it was quite liberating. I wish I had done it years ago.
What do I fear when I write? Judgment.
Honestly, I am proud of my work but still rely too heavily on validation from outside myself.

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