What do cilantro and Grief Freak have in common?

Well, I’ll tell you and while I tell you just get used to me writing about this a few times a year because I have to explain it a lot—why I combined freak with grief.

It’s simple—you either love it or hate it.

You either love cilantro or you hate it. And with the word freak-you either get excited about it or you are repelled by it. At least that has been my experience with it. I even had one person tell me they couldn’t refer people to me because of the word freak. I was stunned, yet open to their feedback.

What do you think? Do you love cilantro and what do you really think of the word Freak?

I happen to love cilantro-the way it tastes and the way it smells, especially on tacos. My favorite thing in the world to eat is tacos, like the authentic ones from Mexico, especially while in Mexico!

And I obviously love the word freak since I decided to make it my name and my brand.

I call myself the Grief Freak because I’m passionate about learning all that I can about grief so that I am better able to serve you in yours.

Freak is either a positive term or a negative one depending on how you use it.

And in a way it’s really just like grief…you either love it or hate it since grief is an experience of both/and. It’s not either/or.

Grief and love are connected, two sides of the same coin, thus, we grieve simply because we love. I have started referring to you all as “Lovers” when I address you…and really that is what we are. We grieve because we loved, and still love. Grief is present tense when you think about love, because love remains and is always there.

So, lovers…I am on a mission, well actually two missions—I want to continue being an advocate for good grief work, it’s what I do-I spread the word about normalizing grief.

And I also want to embrace the word and concept of Freak. What is a freak really? And just where did that word come from?

I dug around in entimoligy and found this:

There are two kinds of definitions-it could be used in the context of “mutant”- being deformed or different in some obvious physical way. OR! You are an enthusiast and are so devoutly curious and obsessed with something to the point of it being an addiction.

And to be honest, I believe Grief Freak falls into both categories- grief certainly makes you feel deformed in some way because your entire life is fractured. I remember wanting to make myself look drastically different when I was in my acute grief, like putting a black streak in my hair or placing a bone/wing tattoo on my neck. (Michael, my partner, broke his neck).

I didn’t do that, but I distinctly remember wanting the world to see how I felt like a complete freak inside.

And, I did become obsessed with anything to do with grief. And I am still that way, although I am reading about other subjects now too. Lately I am reading about joy, brain states, sexuality, and even fiction! What? Yet, I find that even in fiction, there is so much grief.

So, yes I was slightly obsessed in my post grief life and I read all I could about grief. I was a grief freak. And that is simply because I didn’t have any guide or map to help me. I was searching for an answer as to why this happened to us? And I was searching for ways to just be with and understand my post trauma/full of grief life.

There’s a 3rd meaning for freak too that I discovered…from looking up freak online on Memidex…Middle English, freke or freike it means the be a bold man, warrior, man or creature.

I prefer to call myself a bold warrior…and that is really what we are called to be in this journey of grief in this western world. A world where grief is not something that is revered or understood, but rather brushed aside, hushed, ignored even. This culture that revers only what is positive, beautiful, happy, and fixable; not broken, shattered, sad, and ugly.

Other synonyms I found for freak could easily be combined with grief…enthusiast, supporter, advocate.

Yes, I am definitely a grief supporter and I am absolutely a grief advocate.

And I am clearly the Grief Freak.

At the time of Michael’s accident one of my all time favs of a musician’s music was in my CD player. It stayed there for the first 3 months and I played it often on repeat.

I am telling you this because one of the songs inspired me to use the word Freak. It was Michael Franti’s Stay Human song with the chorus that rang out, “All the freaky people make the beauty of the world.”

And there’s nothing quite like sudden grief to become keenly aware of all the beauty in the world. I like to imagine his message is to those of us who are grieving…and that our work becomes to seek and find beauty even amongst the rubble of our shattered lives.

What do you think?

Are you a grief freak too?

And tell me honestly, what do you really think of the term Grief Freak? I am open to feedback. Do you love it or hate it or perhaps you feel a bit of both.

After all, recently during a check-in with Michael while sobbing, I managed to say, “I never wanted to become the Grief Freak.”

But here I am, and here I am owning my life, my passion and even more ready and excited to continue serving you …and normalizing grief while I embrace the word freak.