Don’t Fear the Freaks

“Freak” is a thorny word for me. It has many definitions, some of which I don’t mind (the green-hued sunset was a freak occurrence) and others which make me cringe (just look at that freak). It can describe a plethora of things or events – that movie freaked me out! Those penguins were gettin’ freaky at the zoo.

There’s an argument to be made that people have a certain amount of power over how words affect them. Can you take back the power of a word by claiming it as your own? Gloria Steinem brought this question to the forefront when she tried to take back the C-word.

While my battle with my F-word may not be as socially raucous, it brought up some interesting emotions for me with this piece. Social media and the news are brimming with angst, anger and fear. My response to distance myself may seem passive to some, but using this small F-word as my metaphor, I’ll say this: We all have the power to define words any way we want. I choose to focus on the pleasant attributes of the world by using the positive power of words. While some may use freak in a hurtful way, I will choose to use it in its most zany, surprising and enduring senses. And that starts with not being afraid of this piece of thorny lexicon. So cheers, friends, to not fearing the freaks! freak-show


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