It happens the moment we learn to judge ourselves, measure ourselves against, let ourselves be lured by whatever greasy standard happens to be lurking against that dark alley wall, wafting its irresistible, oh-so-addictive wares of acceptance, popularity, intelligence, wit, beauty, whatever. It happens when we start to hate ourselves, mistrust our instincts, take down our own painstakingly, hand-sewn freak flag.
We incubate that self-hatred and, when it becomes too much for our systems to bear, we project it. We project it onto anyone who is different--of mind, of skin, of religion, of politics, of gender, of sexual orientation, of age, of weight, of height, of hair color, hair length, skin decoration...
Seriously. Every time that stuffed-in-a-corner little freak flag starts to ripple in the breeze, we shove it back down in a panic and turn that panic onto the trigger. You! You did this to me! You make me want to be the individual I was born to be, and it's scary! So I hate you!
Hell yes, it's scary. But you know what? It's liberating. Like running naked in a field at dawn liberating. Like being a life model in a room of eager art students liberating. Like telling someone, quite simply and honestly with absolutely no expectations, 'I love you' liberating.
The beauty is, once you drop the cloth, the pretense, hoist your flag, whatever, it's over. You're done. You've felt the air on your skin, in your heart, on your face, and in your mouth as you stood gaping at the beauty of that flag your little heart has sewn, and you'll never go back.
That's evolution. Or growing up. Growing up to go back to what we were born with.
Let your freak flag fly, baby. Let us be a field of fluttering color, undeniable hoards of absolute individuals.