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!
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.
TATTERED FLAG: I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of that myself.
Don’t give it a second thought. Welcome to my world.