May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017
Mary with collage and clutter

Monday, July 20, 2015

Let your freak flag fly

Shoni Shimmel, the Native American guard who plays for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, drew a sell-out crowd for the second year in a row to Seattle’s Key Arena for the match-up between the Atlanta Dream and the Seattle Storm. Shimmel doesn’t start and comes into the game for a brief time, but when she plays, she’s exciting to watch, and Pacific Native Americans come to the arena in a familial show of support for one of their own who’s making it.

After the game (the Storm won by 25 points and Shoni Shimmel played only a few minutes), Shimmel was interviewed about what the crowd means to her and what advice she has for young ones watching her. Asked where her family was seated, she circled her arm around the arena. “Everywhere. My family is everywhere.” Asked what advice she would give young ones, she said, “Well, really for everyone: Believe in your dream. I’m just a little girl from the rez in Oregon, and I knew I wanted to play professional basketball one day. And look at me now.”

Shimmel’s inspiring. She took the winter off, not playing in Europe, Russia or Asia like most other WNBA players. Instead, she spent time with her family and watched her sister play college ball. For her, it seems, family comes first, and she defines family broadly. She’s another example of the way that the women’s game and all that it stands for is different than the men’s game.

Shimmel’s response got me to thinking about what I would say to younger ones. I’m not much of one for advice, but if I were…. I would have a different message than Shimmel’s. I’m old enough to know that dreams and possibilities change, so I’m thinking about something more enduring. Probably the advice is for my younger self as much as anyone else: Let yourself discover and celebrate who you are. Especially if you feel like you’re different than others. (And the secret is that we’re all different than others.)

Perhaps a better way to say this is to use Jimi Hendrix’s phrase: Let your freak flag fly.

There is so much music with freak flag in the lyrics. I thought first of Laura Love’s song “Freak Flag,” but young one’s parents, who are my friends and siblings, might not embrace some of the advice, like piercing your face (or other places) or putting “a bone right through your nose.”

So I was glad Ms. Google reminded me of the lyrics from Shrek the Musical:

[GINGY]
(spoken) Listen up puppet! We spend our whole lives wishing, we weren't so freaking strange.
(sung) They made us feel that way, but it’s they who need to change.

[PAPA BEAR]
(spoken) The way they think that is.

[GINGY]
It's time to stop the hiding. It's time to stand up tall.
Sing, "Hey world, I'm different, and here I am, splinters and all!
Splinters-ah-whoo-oo-oo-and all-whoo!"

[MAMA BEAR]
Let your freak flag wave.
Let your freak flag fly.
Never take it down, never take it down.
Raise it way up high! Let your freak flag fly! Let it fly, fly, fly!

[PINOCCHIO]
Its hard to be a puppet...

[CHORUS]
Little puppet boy...

[PINOCCHIO]
So many strings attached.

[CHORUS]
Can't cut loose.

[HUMPTY-DUMPTY]
But it's not the choice you make.
Its just, how you, were hatched!

[ALL]
Let your freak flag wave, let your freak flag fly. Never take it down, Never take it down,
Raise it way up high!
Let your freak flag fly.

[THREE LITTLE PIGS]
I'm proud to be a piggy.

[CHORUS]
Little pig, little pig.

[PAPA BEAR]
I raise my furry fist.

[CHORUS]
Papa Bear, Papa Bear.

[SHOEMAKERS ELF]
It's time t’ tell the world I'm a scientologist!

[CHORUS]
Scientologist.

[WICKED WITCH]
I did some time in jail.

[CHORUS]
Yeah, yeah.

[GARDEN GNOME]
I smell like sauerkraut.

[CHORUS]
Whooo.

[WOLF]
I'm gonna shed my house coat.

[CHORUS]
Go, Miss Thing, you work it out!

[ALL]
Let your freak flag wave! Let your freak flag fly! Never take it down. Never take it down.
Raise it way up high!

[PINOCCHIO]
(spoken)
Yes! It all makes sense now! We may be freaks, but we’re freaks with teeth, and claws,
and magic wands! And together, we can stand up to Farquaad!
(sung)
Never take it down:
Raise it way up high!

[ALL]
Raise it up way high!
Raise it up way high!

[HUMPTY-DUMPTY]
We've got magic.
We've got power.
Who are they
To say we're wrong?

[ALL]
Wrong!

[HUMPTY-DUMPTY]
All the things that make us special (They stay)
Are the things that make us strong!
What makes us special,

[PINOCCHIO]
What makes us special...

[ALL]
What makes us special,
Makes us strong!
Let your freak flag wave!
Let your freak flag fly!
Never take it down. Never take it down.
Raise it way up high!
Yeah!
Let your freak flag fly!
Fly!
Fly!
Fly!
Fly!

[PINNOCHIO]
(spoken)
I'm wood! I'm good! Get used to it!

[ALL]
FLY!

These lines stand out to me:

What makes us special
Makes us strong!
Let your freak flag wave!
Let your freak flag fly!

Love the person you were hatched to be.


That is all I have to say.

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