Today's post is brought to you by a blog carnival request
and this post
The blog carnival says "Let your freak flag fly", so let's start there. I've been a freak for pretty much as long as I can remember; it took me a while to realize that was a good thing though.
Showing up in 2nd grade (at age 6 - the youngest, and smaller than almost everyone) with headgear that looked like a torture device
was the first time I was called a freak, and it fucking hurt. Even before that I was different, but it wasn't quite so obvious as long as I didn't talk and no-one noticed what I was reading. And the name stuck; I was freak-face until I moved my senior year (still with braces, but at least the headgear had changed and didn't need to be worn 22 hours/day anymore).
I guess somewhere around 4th grade, I realized that it wasn't going to stop, and I tried to embrace it. It still hurt being compared to a topiary, or pushed around during gym, but I could do book reports on Beowulf
and Lord of the Rings
without making a difference in my classmates' attitudes.
And then in Junior High I discovered punk, and I started taking the name as a compliment. Being an outsider, but with a community I belonged to was a huge improvement; I no longer cared what they thought of me.
These days, I'm a fairly well adjusted freak; I struggle with the broken parts of me, but I like who I've become. The pain and the meds and the doctors visits are no fun, but I try to take it in stride. I'm fairly certain I wouldn't cope as well if I hadn't already grown to love my differences; so in some ways being a freak keeps me from giving up.
And my freak flag flies high every day - even when I don't leave the house. It's hard to pretend you're "normal" when you have purple hair and a love of alternative style.
I suspect that I've always lived in liminal spaces, only I didn't define them as such. I'm quite content living between the lines, it has always been where I "fit in".
A punk, but too fucking smart, and more feminine than my peers; a girl who loves dresses and heels but can't style her hair or apply makeup to save her life; one of the smartest kids in school, who skipped classes daily, didn't study, partied all night, and still screwed the curve; the young woman who came from money but never really had any, who went to private school in shredded stockings and mis-fit clothes; the 44 year old with a cane who still goes out dancing with her fellow freaks as often as possible.
I seem to take comfort in living a life of contradictions and not meeting others' expectations. The fact that I'm living with a disability and yet I still appear fit is just another part of being a freak, one I'm trying to learn to handle with grace.