Has a man ever called you crazy?
Last night was the end of a yearlong relationship. I’m not going to spin it to make me the hero. I’m not.
Too often we shape ourselves to be who we aren’t because we are afraid we are unlovable. Last night I was called “crazy” and to be fair I opened the car door while it was moving like I was going to jump out. I wasn’t really going to. I was drunk. It was a last ditch dramatic gesture because I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to be held. Not just a held that can be done in a night. A held that develops over time that says I love you just how you are. And today I have finally accepted that this ex didn’t.
He doesn’t need to either. But his use of this word as an insult is a dismissal of the truth of my experiences and their impacts on me.
Women as “symptomatic,” “overly emotional,” or “crazy,” is age-old. To plaster this label on us like a white sheet of silence, as we sway back and forth to surrender our autonomy to a sense that we are lesser, damaged, and undeserving is to say that being a woman is to be crazy, to be an irremediable, shameful thing.
I have a real, as in it is actually there, struggle with depression and anxiety. Crazy is in your blood just like arthritis, dementia, or colorblindness, and my family has plenty of crazy.
But let me tell you something else about crazy. When you live wondering if you can shift into the shape that someone can love, you also feel this way. You feel crazy. When you are scared no one else will come along and love you if they see all of you, you act crazy. When you carry around abuse that makes you see the world through a lens, the world looks crazy. When you have a splintered, wavering, or unsupportive family or society or world, that inflict different versions of hurting, you hurt daily. And we don’t talk about this. We as women. We as a society. Not enough.
But this is no longer a word I am hiding behind. My crazy also makes me feel the people around me.
I met a little girl today who is snarky and demanding. She tells me she can smell the sticker books when they are there and they aren’t because she didn’t smell them. Then the cafe is closing. She says, “grandpa, let’s wait for the girl” and she tells me to hurry, says “hasta luego” and waves me forward with her hands. We walk eight blocks until we part for our various forms of transportation. She makes me sneak from the small ghosts, tells me she doesn’t like the parking lot being behind the fence, that it creeps her out. She is spunky. She is four and a half and she tells me she doesn’t want piercings and when she is a grown up she could be a teacher too. I tell her she could.
The split second of wondering if the pain of hitting the asphalt would wake me from being petrified of being on my own, or change the knowing that growing up to be a woman means no girl goes unscathed or to fill the trenches dug into my heart, body, soul and brain, is not crazy. Crazy is outside the bounds of the norm, by definition. We live in a society where an overwhelming amount of women-identified people have felt this desire to hurl themselves against something that will make it all better, make autonomy second-nature.
These experiences and brandings, are the real shameful, blame-holding, assfaces that should be labeled “crazy.” If there is a need to use “crazy” as an admonishment, point it in the right direction. At the shit we’ve overlooked. This “crazy” I’m accused of being, is said as if it is a venereal disease I purposefully contracted to spread around, like its something to not have compassion for, like it is something I am not working to dismantle. This thing you call “crazy” is just the reality of what it feels like to be me. Given voice, given compassion, given a willingness to listen, what you say is “crazy,” proves to be the a stifled voice.
Break ups suck ass. If you are going through a break-up, I feel for you. If you should be going through a break-up because the person you are with doesn’t love all of you or can’t love all of you, be real with yourself. We have a bigger mechanism to hack apart here and being committed to someone you can feel is not loving you completely breaks you and then breaks us as women. You are allowed to demand everything you want. And scar tissue is even stronger than the original skin it’s replacing.
Featured Image: Flickr user Derek Giovanni via Creative Commons