I called him in sobs, crying about how everyone would think of me as his crazy ex-girlfriend. He replied that it wasn’t the time to worry about such things, and while it probably wasn’t, what I got from that was: it was true. People already thought that.
Then I spent the next year of my life worrying about what people (who I actually no longer talked to) thought about my mental state. Turns out I was only crazy when I was worried about whether or not I was crazy. It’s an ugly, never-ending cycle.
It’s not so much that I want the word crazy to be diminished from the English language, because that could turn into a slippery slope – insane, nuts, etc. They would all have to go, too. And, after all, they are just words – letters put together in black and white on crisp paper. Words don’t mean anything, so I often wonder what it is about the word “crazy” that I hate.
Recently, after a long heart to heart with one of my truest friends, I understood. It’s not the word; it’s the way it made me feel. Speaking about a particularly rough period of my life, she pointed out, “You were never crazy, you just thought you were, and that’s what made getting better so hard.”
I have dark drawings of fucked up girls in my sketchbook with the word crazy scribbled underneath.
I have poems written in tattered notebooks with central themes about what it felt to lose my mind.
I have scars, both visible and invisible, that prove to show just how “crazy” I really was.
Or maybe it’s not “how crazy I really was” but more so “how crazy I really felt.”
Knowing what I know now, I would chalk up my behavior to poor coping skills rather than the loss of my own mind. In other words, I was never really crazy after all. I was just a girl who needed so badly for others to validate her.
If I had an idea, I needed validation from another human being that it was good.
If I was upset, I needed someone else to tell me, gosh darnit, I deserved to be upset.
And if I didn’t get those things, it turned ugly.
Did I scream? Yes.
Did I cry? Yes.
Did I spit insults? Yes.
Did I act out? Yes.
It turns out when people don’t validate your feelings, the end result is crazy.
But was I crazy? No.
I never really was, but I did know my behaviors were off.
I didn’t know any other way to cope with how out of control I felt, it was what I had learned.
Still, recognizing that my behaviors made ME feel shitty meant I needed to do work.
Believe me, I did.
After the work is done, the final and most important trick is learning that you don’t need the approval of others to live your life.
If you can get that skill down pact, you’re golden.
Crazy is no longer a thing.
See, what’s hard for me to understand is: What does crazy even mean?
cra•zy: (adjective) mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.
Hmm… okay. That definition means nothing to me.
Nope. Not even on my worst day.
I guess I say things other people don’t.
I explore my feelings and put them out there and love and care.
Some people choose not to do this.
Neither one of us are crazy.
I have come to realize that it is so easy to be manipulated when you think you are crazy. At least it was easy for me to be manipulated. You’ll do anything not to be crazy, which is such a waste of time, because the process of doing your best not to be “crazy” turns into you doing a bunch of stuff you don’t want to do, which actually feels crazy. You following?
I’ve seen many articles about how awful it is that males throw around the word “crazy” and how terrible it makes females feel, and I agree. The problem is it’s such a vague word, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes it hit home. It’s not just males, either – females use the word in reference to other females, too.
Really, we just all have a different perspective of how to handle situations. While I agree that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to express negative emotions, there’s no crazy and not crazy. It’s just what people have learned.
It’s a hard concept for me to write about, because it’s complex, but I guess what I’d like to say is that crazy is one of the most debilitating things to be labeled as.
For a while,
My writing was CRAZY
My need to share was CRAZY
Any expression of emotions was CRAZY
My feelings for other people were CRAZY
And so it goes.
So I locked myself up in a cage and tried to be as perfect and as non-crazy as I could be.
I never achieved perfect or non-crazy, so hence, I was just left in a cage.
It was boring in there.
I’m glad I’m out.
Whatever word makes you feel caged up and controlled, I hope you learn a way to let it go.
People can think anything in the world about you and it just doesn’t freaking matter. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself.
I guess I just realized that whether I was crazy or not,
I was still breathing.
I was still waking up every day.
I was still walking through life.
And there was an easier way – letting go of what others thought and thinking more about what I thought about myself.