::Warning:: Excessive use of the word “crazy”. May cause outbursts of political correctness::
So, i decided today to totally own my insanity and to loudly and proudly take back the word ‘crazy’ from the oppressors.
We’re Here! We’re Queer! In the Old Sense of the Word!!
And we will form a coalition and a parade and make a nifty colored ribbon to wear if we actually could leave our homes.
Or our beds.
Or communicate clearly with one another.
But, unfortunately, a lot of us are locked up in hospitals, residential housing or our own minds and getting out and parading requires SO much planning, and consensus and mental ENERGY that those of us who possess our own keys and can walk out the door would rather use that momentum for something else. Like getting to work. Or walking the dog. Or visiting loved ones. Or buying chocolate chip mint ice cream.
Actually, i’m not sure the anti-queer community (in the old sense of the word!) can truly be called “oppressors”. Oppressors, in my mind, try to restrict the speech and movement of a people, discriminate against them in the form of refusal of housing, employment and equal rights, force them to live in certain places through legislature, economics and drugs…oh wait.
It’s hard to live in white America if you are black, brown or otherwise beautifully colored.
It’s hard to live in able-bodied America if you are born into a body that dances to a different drummer.
It is hard to live in ANY society if you are the “other” and don’t look or act like most folks.
But it is also super hard to live in a society that emphasizes unattainable models of beauty perfection, a certain norm of social behavior and a sustainable and never ending capable-ness when you neither look, feel, nor behave like what the images that the social/medical/pharmaceutical communities within that society project so loudly.
One-Flew-Over-the-Cuckoo’s-Nest-medical-model types who feel that ‘crazy’ needs to be medicated, repressed, and removed from society’s socially proper eyesight are some of the loudest proponents of this social norm.
Cuz we can’t have any outward displays of insanity, now can we?
But i would dare to suggest that this “norm” we are all supposed to live up to (don’t yell in the streets, refrain from crying in public, go outside with your pants on) is artificial. It’s puritan, repressed, and just down-right not real.
Because even the Dalai Llama has bad days.
We ALL go a little crazy sometimes. And some of us (i would guess a LOT of us) feel a little nuts on the inside. But then we do our best to never, ever, ever, EVER show it.
And is that a good thing?
Where would modern art be if ear-chopping Van Gogh hadn’t made his starry night swirls?
The late, great Robin Williams took ad-libbing on stage and camera to a new level and blessed our happy hearts with a never-ending stream of hilarious consciousness that most of us will never forget. And “balanced” is probably not a word that will ever be used to describe him.
Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin, politely described as “reclusive” and “eccentric” gave us, and is still giving us, incredible tomes of a fantasy world so meticulously described and delivered that hundreds of thousands of fans are dying for his next release. His world is SO real and SO deep that we feel we are actually IN it. Yet, when asked why it takes 7 plus years to write a book he replies, “Because that’s how long it takes.”
World’s WORST interviewee.
But ‘brilliant yet eccentric’ doesn’t always interview well.
And ‘crazy’ isn’t always comfortable.
Seeing someone talking loudly to their imaginary adversaries, or crying on a park bench or walking around without pants on makes us nervous.
That’s a big question. i get nervous too when someone’s colorful and fantastical inner world becomes their loud and very noticeable outer world. It’s uncomfortable for us to be privy to that kind of oddness.
Yet, i would venture to guess that it is a whole lot more uncomfortable for them, living in that world.
So, maybe instead of feeling nervous and embarrassed and crossing the street, we might try holding a little space for them and even looking them in the eye and smiling when we pass by?
i wonder how often a schizophrenic in the throes of an episode and caught up in her inner world gets eye contact and a smile from a stranger? i wonder how that must feel… To be completely ignored by a society that is all around you.
What a profound loneliness that would be.
To take this thought exercise further…why is it so unacceptable for someone to be openly schizophrenic/bipolar/depressed? i have often thought the whole thing with trans and gender-neutrality issues comes down to labels. Either we have two too many or are desperately short on them, because if we are going to label folks, then “he” and “she” just doesn’t cut it. There are unlimited variations in between and far beyond “he” and “she” and forcing folks to pick one has caused countless heartaches, social strife and even death.
The same is true for mental health labels.
There are huge books devoted to the labelling and micro-labelling of mental illnesses. If you are “different” or have difficulty following along with the program, you get a label. (Bipolar, schizophrenic) If you show up behaving similar but not quite to what the definition of a label is, you get a slightly different label. (Bipolar 1 and 2, schizoaffective) If you just hate people and all their crap you get a label. (Borderline Personality Disorder, PMS-ing)
That’s a LOT of labels.
i want to start a movement that gets past these labels. (Or maybe just a blog post. i’m a bit too introverted/anti-social/agoraphobic/lazy for a movement. Labels as excuses!! YES! There’s a use for them!)
What do these things mean anyway?? Doesn’t everyone swing on the swingset? Some just go higher and lower than others. And what “border” are we on? Can we cross it? Do we need passports? Is there documentation or some kind of approval process that gets us across this line? Who set this line where it is anyway? What if i just think someone else’s line is a bunch of malarky and ignore it and walk all over it? Is that how i get a Madonna song named after me?
We aren’t schizophrenic or bipolar or borderline …we are HUMAN.
And humans? Are crazy.
So, let’s just own it.
You and me, babe. Let’s just Sonny and Cher all over this planet and dance like the crazy mo’fo’s we are!
Because CRAZY is BEAUTIFUL.
Just like YOU.