“Let your freak flag fly!” Easy to say, usually much harder to do.
If you know me, you know that I was the purple sheep of my family. Born to corporate athletic types who viewed the arts as a hobby, not a career, I was an oddball almost from the start. Add to that the fact that my parents divorced when I was 3, at a time when I would be the only kid with divorced parents until high school, and you can see a bumpy road lay ahead.
As a kid, dancing on tables with my gold rhinestone sandals, going to Interlochen National Music Camp, spending months rehearsing for a school musical was tolerated, even encouraged to some extent. But once I hit 13, the same age as Melly in Lisa Jenn Bigelow’s Drum Roll Please, I was told who I was and what I would be. (In my case President of the U.S., I kid you not.)
My freak flag was folded up and put in the attic–out of sight.
In Lisa Jenn Bigelow’s forthcoming book Drum Roll Please (launch date June 26th, but you can preorder now) Melly doubts herself all the time. Her freak flag has never been unfolded, let alone flown.
Hesitant about going to band camp, she’s not sure she can hack it with the other students. She’s only going because her BFF Olivia convinced her to go by promising to stay by her side the whole two weeks. A promise Olivia will break in short order, leaving Melly to defend for herself.
Having no choice, Melly soldiers on hoping she can make it through without completely embarrassing herself or her assigned band mates.
Surviving all sorts of trials and errors, she not only unfurls her freak flag, but flies it proudly. She becomes part of a real rock band, as a drummer, makes new friends, and discovers her own unique rhythm in this middle grade coming-of-age story.
This book speaks to the rebel, or the freak, or the oddball, or the ‘who am I’ that lives in all of us, at one time or another. Though Melly is figuring some of it out at 13, I think this is a recurring challenge we face throughout our lives as we change and grow.
An extra bonus for me, or anyone who went to camp in MI, is that Camp Rockaway is based in MI, and “Interlochen is that camp for prodigies up the road.”
At a time when the ground is shifting beneath us, this book inspires its readers to not only embrace their authentic selves, but to allow that self to take them to wherever, or to whomever, they need to go.
What does your freak flag look like? I want to know! Reply to this letter or tweet me.
Hey if you’re in the mood, create your freak flag and send me a pic. I’ll post it on our Choose Acceptance Twitter account.
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Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.
Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Posted in Acceptance, Books, Diversity, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Inclusion, Self-Acceptance by anny with no comments yet.