I will define freak as a person who doesn’t hold back. Who doesn’t let society or cultural norms tame their spirit.
The other day at the gym, I walked by a woman on a stationary bike. She was in shorts and a sports bra, her curly hair was pulled up in a bun. She wore blue headphones and was loudly and energetically coaching herself as she intensely peddled on the bike. “Don’t stop!” “You got this!”
I admit, I laughed to myself. Not at her but at knowing the feeling. That miserable feeling you have before or after you’ve been euphoric with endorphins and you just want to stop. For me the voice is usually in my head. But I certainly related to my fellow gym-goer.
I did my workout and went to the locker room to get ready for work. I found the same lady sitting in front of my locker eating her yogurt with the same ferocity that she rode the bike.
“Excuse me,” I said, “I’m right behind you,” pointing at the locker.
She quickly stood up.
“I won’t be long, I’m just grabbing my things and heading to the shower,” I told her.
“Oh honey, it’s OK, not everybody around here is as kind as you.”
I laughed, “yea it can get a bit territorial.” Some of the ladies in the locker room really do think they own the place. (I say ladies because I only have experience in the ladies’ locker room but I imagine the phenomenon is the same in the men’s locker room.) I have seen ladies move things out of “their” lockers. Or stand and stare at a poor soul who is just trying to get dressed because she is standing in the woman’s “spot.”
“Oh my Gawd. I know! I think if we was in war these people wuddn’t suh-vive. I’m from New Yowk, we let everyone play, you know.”
I walked to the shower reflecting on what she had said and this woman in her entirety. I pondered the delicate nature of life and the social prejudices we have. This woman clearly has been made to feel unwelcome yet I love that she doesn’t let that change her, she goes to the gym again and again, she pushes herself to work out…she has certainly been hurt. You can tell by her reaction to my “kindness” which was nothing more than common courtesy.
I kept thinking about this later as I drank my coffee. It is human nature to be territorial and possessive, to have an “us and them” mentality and to protect our “own.” But you would think in this day in age, with the information sharing we are privy to and the abundance of preaching on the merits of acceptance and kindness that we would have evolved past this type of isolating behavior. After all, it is miserable to be isolating and consequently isolated. You miss out on so much richness and diversity of friends if you limit yourself to those few in your “accepted circle.”
So this post goes out to the freaks of the world. To those who let their true colors shine and are fiercely true to their hearts. Who dance to the beat of their own drum or who dare to dance at all. And when we encounter those people, maybe we can take a moment to learn from them or at least listen to their story.