Let Your Freak Flag Fly


Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to be on T.V..  I had even been working towards that goal for 22 years…but when I got even remotely close, I panicked and retreated. What if I suck at reporting? What if I embarrass myself? What if I look like a freak?

I can’t stand it when I’m just bad at something. Even the words “constructive criticism” make me cringe. That’s probably because I have this nasty habit of becoming discouraged when I’m not innately good at something — which is a total disadvantage since I can only think of a couple things I’ve ever really picked up quickly. And it’s that fear of failure that has stifled some potentially big opportunities for me in the past.

Just one of my dad’s countless admirable qualities was that he was never afraid to let his freak flag fly. He always did what interested him and he wouldn’t worry about looking bizzare in the process — and sometimes he was a pretty bizarre! My dad was just so willing to put himself out there to do what he loved — maybe it’s because he was so good at it — or maybe it’s because he wasn’t afraid to fail.

So, starting today I will no longer let my fear of failure hold me back. I will no longer be afraid of feeling awkward, looking like a total freak or being downright bad at something. I will find fulfillment in doing things because I want to — not because I’m good at them. After all, if we’re not learning, exploring and bettering ourselves in this life, all we’re really doing is killing time.

I hope you’ll join me in doing the things we’ve always wanted to do, but until now, have been too afraid to actually do. Maybe you’ve been wanting to get into shape but the very thought of the gym makes you a nervous wreck (I’ve been there). Maybe you’ve thought about starting a blog but you’re worried nobody will read it (been there too). Or maybe you’ve avoided dancing in public because you’re afraid of looking completely awkward (I’m there now). Well truthfully, you probably will be a little goofy your first few times at the gym. And maybe you’ll only have one person who reads your blog (and maybe it’s your mom). There’s even a really good chance that you’ll feel (and look) incredibly foolish while you’re dancing in public. So what? Be foolish. At the end of this life, I can promise that you’ll never say “I wish I hadn’t danced.”

And no, I’m not telling you to “dance like nobody is watching, ” I’m telling you to dance like everybody is watching — because there are probably going to be plenty of people watching you dance…wishing they had the courage to dance too.

So go play pool if you want to. Start a band if you want to. Wear a cowboy hat and pink tutu if you want to. Dye your hair and change your name to Sunshine if you want to. Try yoga, painting or paddle boarding. Learn a new language, pick up an instrument or join a team. Go back to school, start your own business and chase your dreams —  even if your dreams make you look like a total freak. Go ahead, let your freak flag fly!

And one day I hope you’ll tune into my first live T.V. report. I will absolutely try my best — and if I come off as a little bizarre…well, that’ll be okay too.


Hannah Jane

“If you’re going to be weird, be confident about it.”

Hannah Jane Nancarrow is a San Diego State University alumni, with a B.A. in journalism and new media. After graduating in 2011, Hannah worked in local T.V. news before her dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Hannah managed and contributed to her dad’s incredibly popular blog (thenancarrowproject.com) and social media platforms before he passed away, after 11 months of bravely battling and blogging. The diagnosis was a catalyst for her own writing and for following each whim and dream. Today, Hannah writes her own blog and has been a keynote speaker at San Diego Women's Week, Relay for Life, and a top fundraiser for cancer-related causes throughout San Diego. Hannah also has a passion for health and fitness, since losing 75 pounds in 2011. She earned her Spinning® and group fitness instructor certifications, and teaches weekly cycle classes in Encinitas, California. Hannah also earned her real estate license and works in the family business, Nancarrow Realty Group, in North County San Diego.

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99 comments on “Let Your Freak Flag Fly
  1. Amy Chandler says:

    There are more and more people suffering and battling this horrible cancer. Thank you for your words of hope and inspiration. ❤💔

  2. We all wait in lovely anticipation of your TV debut in your own professional life. You were tutored by the best, have the communication and speaking chops (I saw you at the Women’s Conference recently- you were brilliant), you’re oh-so-smart, and your beautiful appearance won’t hurt you either. Will you let us who are still following this blog know of your progress towards this professional goal? God bless you, dear girl!

  3. KLee says:

    When you shadowed me at FOX 5 and would do your stand ups — I could already see your talent! Keep in mind, we all look like freaks in the beginning but, it’s just like writing – you get better with experience. AND, there is no doubt in my mind – you will succeed. You got it. Go for it! P.S. I love reading your blog. xo, K-Lee

  4. Larry Ahern says:

    Hannah. Where would Luke Russert be today if he didn’t believe or listen to his dad. As Neil Dimond would say. “The names have changed, but the stories the same one”. We’ll be watching, and wasting for you. Larry A. (Aka Goose).

  5. Fellow Encinitian says:

    Your dad is smiling ya freak! Awesome piece; well written and well received!

  6. Susan & Bob McAndrews says:

    We believe in you Hannah!

  7. Susan R. Wise says:

    You betcha, dear Hannah, I’ll be watching for your 1st T.V. reporting assignment! I’ve in Jan. 2013, begun my own company, Cleopatra’s Recess, a mid-day dog walking service, serving Oceanside, Vista & Carlsbad, CA. In 2013, I only had (4) cats for whom to give pet-care service! What the heck, I’m still “out there” passing out my business cards, applying via (2) pet care websites for dog-walking opportunities – and I KNOW, with perserverance, they will come! So, I KNOW, you will give it “your best” with a T.V. news reporter assignment. I send you, your sweet Mom, Susie, handsome Graham and darling Britta my hope, warm wishes, love, hugs & prayers for “all the GREAT things in this Life!” Susan & Julian Wise

  8. Sarah O'Neal says:

    Beautiful! Stomp those fears! If you can handle TV as you have the last year it will be easy peasy. Can’t wait to see what you’ll do, just be you. ❤

  9. E Tucker says:

    Hannah, you are amazing. Just like your Dad. Thank you for your posts, thoughts and being am inspiration. You are a wonderful young woman who is going to rock this world! Freak on!

  10. Ken Kim says:

    I don’t think it right that they want to remove Loren’s memorial bench from a public place, look at all the memorial bridges and overpasses for officers and others that have lost their life’s. It just ain’t right!

    Sent from Ken’s iPhone


  11. Jodie says:

    Great post…. I started letting my freak flag fly years ago, and it feels great! Love the blog, keep up the good work! As for being a reporter… Don’t let fear hold you back! Your Dad was the best and know that you carry him in your heart and genes. He’s got your back… So go get it. We never fail as long as we try and do our best and know that we were real and stayed true to ourselves in the mean time.

    You got this!!
    Much love to you all!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thankfully the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. Go girl! And thank you

  13. Each new blog, I like even better than the last, and this one I love, love Hannah!! Almost
    no one, is really good at something, in the very beginning. That’s what that “try, try, try
    again” saying is about. And if you fall down a time or two, at the start of something new,
    so what? It helps you learn to be humble. Just reach your hand out and I can practically
    promise you, there will be someone there, more than willing to help. If not, just dust
    yourself off and get back in the fray. Whatever you choose to do, just aim to be the best
    you, that you can be. But no worries–have fun, mess up, giggle uncontrollably–it’s good
    for your soul. And if part of the time, people think you’re a freak, then great! Far as I’m
    concerned, that’s part of being human. Be the best darn freak you can be, kiddo.

  14. Liz says:

    I love this and will join in! Thank you for sharing I will be letting my two girls read this as well so they get inspired

    • Julien says:

      Hannah,What a great Bible name!I don’t know how old you are but Angela was 13 when I baptized her. She was a litlte older when I married her. Well, you know, I didn’t marry her but I married her. :- ) I was her pastor.She can explain that being baptized doesn’t end the temptations and sins in your life, but now when you do sin, you have an advocate to turn to and find forgiveness. Angela is an excellent Bible student and she’s probably already explained to you about our advocate.I’ll keep you in my prayers because it is often very difficult to be true to your faith in our very evil society. You’ll understand that as you get older. Just determine you will be faithful to God and follow the steps of Jesus. Read the Bible daily! Even if it’s only 3 verses before you slurp down your Cheerios and run to catch the bus. :- )Blessings upon you and your family.Pastor Rex F. Cain

  15. Debbie. Westcott says:

    Dear Hannah; 1st of all remember your Dad’s always got your back. And he’s so proud of you already, and he’ll be really glad to see you trying out the t v gig. You’re part of his legacy, you’re his continuation. And you’re attractive , eloquent and you look good on the few tv spots I’ve seen you in.
    Every time a colleague of mine “dies”, or moves on I think I need to try hard to fill that space. That doesn’t necessarily have to be sort of what drives you, but I think you and your family can help carry on where Loren left off. I want to see that Healing Garden! Maybe that’s how he was able to “graduate”, he knew someone would pick up where he left off.
    Always remember love never dies.
    Keep on keepin’ on!

  16. Diane Middleton says:

    Dear Hannah, You can do anything you set your mind too. You are a wonderful writer…you could write…you”re bright. witty…have alot of common sense…I love what you said..I can totally relate to your words…I’ve been a fearful person my whole life…and I just had my 59th birthday..Wish I had your spunk when i was your age…If your dream is to be on tv….then go girl…it’s in your blood…I bet you would be great!! i just wish i could see you…i moved to wisconsin…and we don’t get much San Diego news…Your dad is so, so proud of you already…He’ll be with you always….Good Luck Hannah!! Thanks for writing…you are an inspiration!!

  17. Kristy says:

    (& I will be watching!)

  18. Anonymous says:

    Great stuff, but I sorta wish you had started out with paragraph 3. It took awhile to make reference to Loren – just too soon, still raw. Best of luck, dear.

    • I’m touched to know my dad’s life and death have affected you so deeply, however, I happened to know the man pretty well and I think he’d be more than content with his place in this piece. More than anything, my dad wanted us all to carry on and find happiness — and this blog is my happiness. If, without my dad, my writing doesn’t interest you, I understand, and perhaps this is no longer a blog for you — but do know that he will forever have a place here. I hope you too are able to find peace and relief from some of the rawness you feel. I have an insider tip that my dad was never one for extended periods of mourning or for being the center of attention. To carry on and to go courageously in the direction of our dreams is to pay the ultimate homage to my dad.


  19. Leslie DP says:

    Beautifully said and thanks for the reminder!

  20. MeJ says:

    You are your Father’s Daughter…..you will never fail! You will make him proud!

  21. gary and betty stewart says:

    you go girl!

  22. Susan Lewitt says:

    Hannah, You won’t try. You won’t have to because you will succeed and be a great reporter. You won’t try You will do! What ever you decide will be the right choice and you will make it work! And you won’t be a freak unless that is what you want to be!

  23. Jeannine Hillis says:

    You can do anything you want to do!!! So go for it!!!

  24. Heidi Bywater says:

    You will be awesome, believe in yourself and shoot for the stars like your dad. No doubting yourself, enjoy and go for life like your dad did

  25. Claudia S. says:

    Loved it! Inspiring!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Go Go Hannah.
    You are a natural. You will be a hit in anything you do. I look forward to seeing your journey.

  27. Moira Stanzick says:

    Loved your blog! Very inspiring!!

  28. Josephine M says:

    I will be waiting for your first tv report.God bless!

  29. Claudia says:

    You go girl, if you have wanted to do this for 22 years you will achieve, you had a GREAT roll model, nothing stopped him even at the end.

  30. Peggy says:

    You go girl!

  31. Hannah, your words inspire me. Also, love the Freak Flag pic. Great post!

  32. Barbara Gillingham says:

    Such a great thing to learn at a young age. You will have a wonderful, fulfilling life. A life that would make your father proud. He will be missed by many.

  33. Mary says:

    I know exactly what you mean Hannah, that’s how I feel about going back to school getting my RN, I’m currently a MA and I’ve been an MA since 1995. Math is my worst subject and I fail at it all the time. That’s my fear. If only I can just get rid of that mental block. I think we should go for our dreams:)

  34. Teri says:

    Just do what your Dad always did-“BELIEVE IN YOURSELF” He will be missed!

  35. Noreen Croyle says:

    Sorry didn’t get this link on for you

  36. Noreen Croyle says:

    Regarding your comments on fear of failing – check out this series done by Morgan Spurlock on Yahoo. It changed my mind about failing. Makes me want to start a ‘Failure Club’

  37. Jackie Owens says:

    Dear Hannah. We have all been there, some never get over that feeling. It has taken me many, many years to come out of my shell and I am still only a little way out of it. You give me the courage to try a little harder and maybe someday I will be able to leave the shell completely behind me. You are certainly an inspiration for all of us., Blessings to you and the family You Dad left a great legacy. Jackie

  38. Brynn Gaynor says:

    Hannah, You too are an inspiration like your mother and father! I can’t wait to see you do your first T.V. report ! I will smile! When I hit the gym I’ll be thinkin “I m waiving my Freak Flag” and laugh aloud.. Bless you . Brynn

  39. Alin says:

    In ’46 in Hawaii at 13 yrs old I dreamed of doing Radio/TV….ended up in radio while still in High school and worked thru college while working at a TV station…was in the crazy biz for 20+ years….you’ll need a thick skin, a very determined pro attitude and stay out of the biz politics and stay neutral on personal politics….bury your ego and let the excellence of your work do the talking….why you need a thick skin??? because it’s a very politically correct / judgmental atmosphere…Explore your creative juices and take them as far as grace and good fortune carry you….after all you have a Nancarrow legacy and I don’t think you’ll back off from a challenge…BE BLESSED

  40. Nancy says:

    Here you are in the middle of such a sad loss, and you inspire me more than I can say. Thank you. Your family and your friends are so lucky to have you in their lives.

  41. Terri says:

    Here, here!! Let that Let it fly girl 🙂

  42. Anonymous says:

    You go girl!!!!

  43. jgutierreztc says:

    Get your freak on girl and I hope I’m not afraid to do the same. You have encouraged me and I thank you ♥

  44. You go girl ! You sure knew how great your Dad was and how he rolled.

    Warmest regards, Nancy Peace Real Estate Broker 619-865-3645. CalBRE. 01457854 California Sales Coldwell Banker CORONADO 1116 1st Street. 92118 USA bestrealestatecoronado.com

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