I say “no worries” an awful lot for a woman that functions in a near perpetual state of worry. The state of anguish can range from a low thrum to a limit that nears paralysis. Yet, my go to response to so many things and people in my life is “no worries”. It’s almost as if I am worrying enough for everyone else. They don’t need to bother themselves with it, because I have already thought through the infinite amount of possibilities. I have determined that whatever it is that they are concerned about or apologizing for does not merit their fretting. Clearly, I need to allow myself some of that same forgiveness. I need to allow myself to worry a little less- Forgive myself a little more.
That train of thought- that odd juxtaposition of my personality led me down a rabbit trail in my mind. Not an atypical situation for me. But it got me wondering- what else do I do along the same lines? How else do I cut others slack, or want to unburden them, when I don’t allow that for myself?
I categorize myself in really flattering ways more often than not. I frame myself in the most complimentary terms within the confines of my mind. The previous words are recited with ample amounts of sarcasm. I talk to myself in a tone that truly is unacceptable. Yet, I allow it.
If one were to distill all of the phrases that I utilize to describe myself in any given day, it would come down to one word- crazy. I would say that I wear it like a badge of honor, but that would be a lie. Instead, it is a cloak of resignation. I am crazy. I can’t seem to battle it- I have been trying for years. So I may as well own it. If I warn people ahead of time, then they won’t be taken off guard when they see it. Clearly, this is healthy.
When Moose’s father and I first began dating at the tender age of 20, this cloak already rested upon my shoulders. I was accustomed to it’s weight. And his response to said description of myself was a relief. He didn’t shy away from it. He leaned in. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.
What I took as acceptance, wasn’t. He didn’t tell me that he loved me just the way I was. He didn’t tell me that having needs and emotions made me complex; human. It is what differentiated me from an inanimate object. No, he told me I was less crazy than the women of his past. That I recognized when I was being insane, so it was easier to deal with. We dubbed it “girl logic”. I cannot tell you how many times I used the phrase in a disagreement. How many times I prefaced my emotions- belittled my needs- with what I viewed as an innocent description. The simple term that made me easier to digest.
I haven’t uttered those words in years. So I guess I can count that as progress. But following most explanations of the emotions I experience are these words- I’m just being crazy. I’m insane. The phrases that indicate my inability to allow myself to be human. To feel. To have needs.
My mind is an alienating place. It is full of shadows that house the voices of judgement and uncertainty. Voices that sustain themselves on my insecurities. My mistakes. But they are also supplemented by the world. By this idea that society has given us. A concept that we take without question. That women are inherently crazy. But it can be judged on a sliding scale. What level can you endure?
I saw the above meme on Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. It was posted by a female friend of mine, her fiance tagged. I am reading into the lives of these people, for I don’t know what conversations they have. But I interpreted the semi public exchange to mean that this conversation is one that they have engaged in. Maybe they even joke about her being crazy. It probably seems innocent. An innocuous description.
But I don’t think I realized how much it settles into the fissures of my brain. The dark places where fear grows. The places that are sure that I am insane. That the way my brain works makes me difficult. That maybe my ex-husband did believe that I was a manageable crazy, only to find over time, that I was too much. That my crazy made him miserable.
Here’s the danger with calling women crazy- it may seem funny, but all it is succeeding in doing is belittling their needs. Making them second guess their feelings as valid.
Maybe I write with too broad a brush. Maybe it just feels that way to me. Maybe I am being sensitive.
Ah! There it is. Even in a post of my control- the thoughts that swim in my brain are being modulated. I am questioning the worth of my opinions. My observations. Worried that I am being hyper sensitive to a fabrication of my own mind.
I’m unsure how to break the cycle in my mind. In the words I type into text messages or utter in the darkness. I watch the words as they escape. I recognize that maybe I shouldn’t say them. That the first step is to not mitigate my own existence. Why is such a seemingly simple step insurmountable some days?
After my divorce, when I lived in a bubble of introspection and growth, I determined that I matter. That my voice matters. I began to stand up for myself, knowing that I deserved a person in my life that recognized my worth. I chanted it to myself. That it was better to be alone than with someone who didn’t see me as important as I saw them. And then I exited my cocoon. My protective bubble.
I began to type that I have fallen back into old habits. And in some respects, I have. I still caveat my needs or experiences. But I no longer keep those words tucked away in the safety of my mind. I speak them into the atmosphere. I practice bravery in the only way I think it truly exists- executing an act despite it being completely terrifying.
I am changing. I am growing. It is a lot slower than I envisioned that it would be. But I am really lucky this time around. Because now, when I find my voice- though it may be shaking with fright- it is met with a different response. I am not less crazy than someone before. I am embraced. He strives to understand me- to meet my needs to the best of his ability.
The reality is, I don’t trust it. I don’t trust the acceptance. That I will get it every time the ghosts whisper in my ear. Every time insecurity overthrows my synapses. That my needs will continue to matter- to carry weight in the world. That I will continue to be understood. But I am taking the steps. I keep testing the safety net. I no longer suppress my tears. I look forward to a day when the words “Maybe I’m just insane” don’t enter my consciousness. The day I let that last bit of my armor fall.