Conversation with…A tattered flag…begging to stand for something new.

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed an old, tattered flag on the ground. It was just what I needed in my life so I rushed over!

flag 1

Hey flag! I see you’ve been through a lot.  Me too!

TATTERED FLAG: Don’t judge me. I know I look saggy on the outside, but I don’t feel that way on the inside. I’ve got a lot inside that wants to come out, but who’s gonna take an old, torn flag seriously?

I will! This could be the start of something big!

TATTERED FLAG: What are you talking about?

Here’s the thing. All my life, I’ve been kinda quirky, and I’ve always put myself down for it. I’ve called myself, “fearful” or “neurotic” or “weird.”

TATTERED FLAG: So?

So for better or worse, at this point in my life since I don’t think I’m going to become a completely different person, why not stand up for my quirky self and be proud of it?

TATTERED FLAG: What do you do that’s quirky?

 Well, I don’t like elevators because I’m super claustrophobic.  Whenever I enter a building, the first thing I look for is the staircase. I always apologize for myself and then take the stairs.

 TATTERED FLAG: Is that all?

No. I have a panic button that can go off at any moment. Like, if I’m in an office building and the fire alarm gongs, while others are standing around assuming it’s a mistake, I’ve already raced out the door and run five blocks away.

TATTERED FLAG: Anything else?

Sure. Even though I’ve traveled in a plane lots of times, flying always makes me insanely nervous. So I’ve done most of my world traveling on youtube.

TATTERED FLAG: I’m guessing there’s more.

Of course. When I’m at home and open a new container of cottage cheese or milk and use a little bit, I’m afraid I’ll forget I’ve opened the container. I’m afraid the next time I want to use the milk or cottage cheese, I’ll worry I bought an opened container and someone poisoned my food. So for peace of mind, every time I open a new container, I write, “OK” on it. That way, I’m sure it hasn’t been poisoned. And then other times I–

TATTERED FLAG: That’s enough. What does all this have to do with me?

Well, in my older age, I’m thinking, “Maybe I won’t apologize for my offbeat behavior anymore. Instead, I’ll embrace it and FLY MY FREAK FLAG.”

 TATTERED FLAG: And…I’m the freak flag?

Obviously. I’d wave you proudly as I write “OK” on my containers. If I’m taking a train to visit my daughter who lives 3,000 miles away, you’ll be furling in my hand. The next time I’m faced with an elevator, I’ll hold you up high as I’m taking the stairs. After all these years, I will accept the person I am and wave my freak flag in all my glory.

TATTERED FLAG: Whatever. I’m in. But right now I’m just a ragged flag that looks like it’s been through the wash too many times. How can I become a freak flag?

 Easy. Just add more eyeballs.

flag 2

TATTERED FLAG: I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of that myself.

 Don’t give it a second thought. Welcome to my world.

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2018

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Do you fly a freak flag? Care to share?

75 thoughts on “Conversation with…A tattered flag…begging to stand for something new.

  1. Yay!!! Love it, I’m so happy to read this post, and I’m right there with you waving my quirky flag 🙂 It’s nice to not be alone in doing so!!!

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  2. I also want a freak flag!!! Can you ask it if it has any brothers and sisters? 😉
    And I’ve got the same problem with my milk containers!!! I never knew I wasn’t the only one crazy about it! And your solution is so simple and perfect, from now on I’ll write OK on them too, saves a lot of worrying. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lol Cathi. Travelled the world on Youtube and the OK sticker had me in splits. Yes, you always have the perfect solution to the problems. How lively the flag looks in the last pic with all those new eyeballs. Some to look outside and enjoy the world and some to look inward and keep loving oneself.. Maybe sometimes we really need more eyeballs to do that, don’t we..

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  4. Yes. I grew up in the 80’s/90’s but I’m obsessed with the 50’s. I feel like I belong in the 1950’s but somehow ended up here. I spent most of my life trying to fit in, but now I finally embrace my love for yesteryear. It’s very liberating. I think I could use a freak flag, or at least, a freak pennant. 🙂 Great entry btw. Of course, I love ALL your “Conversation With…” bits. So clever!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand your thing with the 1950’s. I have two strong feelings about my life. 1: In another life, I think I was a cat. 2: I was born to be 93 years old because I can’t wait to take a bus trip to New England for the day with lots of other older people, buy some homemade jelly at a farm stand, and go back home. There’s something oddly comforting and fun about the thought of that. I have no idea why but it’s my calling. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Former Goth here; currently debating on if I want to publish around 10 poems written between 1989 and 2000. The problem is that it’s pretty dark, what now gets called “Gothic Poetry” because of the dark themes. I’d have to put notices on them “#TriggerWarning” most likely, because I do have a few readers with serious mental health issues and I am concerned that some of my stuff might be triggering (the most triggering I won’t likely be publishing because of this).

    There’s also a lot of negative perceptions of the Gothic subculture that has persisted for decades and well….do I own it, because frankly, I’m not ashamed of it, or do I keep that under the rug so to speak, so as to avoid over-sharing? Freak flag indeed….;)

    By the way I liked your book.

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    • I hear ya re: over-sharing when flying the freak flag–especially if some readers might be triggered in a negative way. I think the fact that you own your Gothiness is what matters most, just like I’m trying to own the ridiculously-fearful side of myself. Maybe who we share it with is secondary? Also–I’m so very happy you liked my book. That means soooo much to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Here’s to celebrating being Quirky and the special person that you are. We all have our own little ‘quirks’ and so refreshing to read about not apologising for them and standing up for our own unique qualities. Have a great weekend!

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  7. About 25 years ago a friend said ‘I love your eccentricity and oddness’. I thought I was fitting in with the norm of the place i lived in perfectly …. had no idea my innate quirks and creases were showing and I was a teeny bit mortified. A couple of weeks later, sleepless after chewing on what it was that I was doing that revealed me as weird, I made an unguarded remark that led her to the truth. ‘Oh no!’ Said she ‘are you upset by what I said?; ‘yes’ replied I ‘But darling, it’s the fact that you are odd and strange that makes you. And we all love you. Never change. Never try to be anything else’. We are still friends and I have striven to be friends with freaky me ever since. Wave that flag for the love of you.

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    • What a great freak story! And I love that you’re surrounded by people who “get you” and love you for it. I think I was the most comfortable with myself years ago at one of my jobs, where I was a member of a writing team of about twenty people. We were all “off beat” in the same ways. For example, if we had a meeting scheduled in the office and one snowflake fell from the sky, there was no way we were going out. Everyone stayed home and hid under their beds. Ah, the good old days.

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  8. Yes to flying the freak flag! This is so affirming. I’ve been moving in this direction of not apologizing and embracing the fact that I am the crazy tree lady and compulsive recycler who carefully checks toilet paper 4 packs in the store to make sure they have no punctures or breeches of any kind. I’m sure there’s more I could add, but whatever it is, I’m gonna be proud! Taking the stairs is way more healthy than the elevator.

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  9. Oh honey, we all need to fly that “freak flag!” The only difference is those who admit it and those who don’t. I haven’t yet written “ok” on my food, but I do write the date I opened it on containers of things like pizza sauce, that don’t go bad right away but need to be used within a few weeks of opening. I prefer to think of it as being practical…
    And when I go to a theater, I have to sit in an aisle seat. And when I enter any room, I make note of the exit so I don’t get panicky. See? All of us have out “stuff.” It’s perfectly okay! (And I like to think a sign of a brilliant, creative mind, but that’s another story….)

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    • Ann! Thanks so much for sharing your specific freak flag behaviors. It made me feel right at home. Your idea to put the dates on all your opened foods instead of the word “ok” kills two birds with one stone. You know the food was opened by you, and you know when it has to be thrown away. I’m going with your method. Thanks!

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  10. We all have our own quirks and oddities. I have my fair share as well since I have OCD, and every time I arrive at the office I clean my workstation as if it hadn’t been touched for years although I’m the only one who’s using it, and all my colleagues look at me as if I’m crazy every single time. I have my own ways of doing things and some people may not like it, but I have given up on caring what other people think of me a long time ago. I’m proud of my quirks, and these things make me who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. OK This post is safe to read. Warning though: You might get an urgent need to laugh and to fly your freak flag. Nice post Cathi. P.S. You think you have strange habits with the food in your refrigerator. I hide the sweets in the vegetable drawer because I know that no one in the house opens this drawer but me. It’s the best hiding place I’ve found. Hihi …

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    • Ha ha! When I was a little girl, my stepmother used to bake cakes, wrap them in aluminum foil, label each one “meat loaf,” and put them in the freezer. That way, she thought my sisters and I wouldn’t eat a whole cake in one sitting (she hid all the cakes that way). Obviously, it didn’t work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no… Another story where the stepmother is losing. That’s funny though that the kids were smarter then the adult. It’s usually, thankfully, what we see in children’s book. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  12. You and me both with the quirks. (I write the date on nearly every food thing I open, with a freezer bag marker – except for stuff in the freezer! I’m much the same in an elevator and I’m also a youtube traveller… ) And your ‘freak flag fly’ reminded me of CSN&Y and their… hair! 🙂

    More eyes. Or maybe ‘ayes’ (yesses).

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  13. Pingback: The King Has Left The Building – soulgifts – Telling Tales

    • Hi Raili! I’m so flattered and completely delighted that you nominated me! Here’s my problem: my blog always takes place Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road (as you know). For that reason, I can never take on challenges because they don’t make sense in world I live in while in my blog. So though I would absolutely love to accept the challenge, I’d have to create a different kind of blog in order to participate. You know I love you and all your posts and if I could pull this off, I would! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Cathi

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