One of the questions I never get asked is, “What is it like to be crazy?” Well, I am going to try to explain it to you because I have a sneaking suspicion that is what everyone would LIKE to be asking me if they didn’t feel so self-conscious about it.
Being crazy is like being sane, except TOTALLY DIFFERENT. I can definitively say this because I have been both, very often.
Here is an example of crazy.
When I had been married to Kyle for about 3 years, we had an argument. I had been at the house all day long, cleaning things, making dinner – typical nice-Mormon-wife kind of stuff. We lived in Vegas, so it was hot as the dickens outside, and I had been feeling a little trapped. Still, I wanted to make everything nice for Kyle when he got home from the job that he hated.
When he came home, he immediately went to the thermostat.
“Did you touch the thermostat?” He said, scrutinizing the buttons that looked like random calculator keys to me.
I said, “Yeah. It was really hot, so I turned it down.” I was a little disappointed by his initial reaction to coming home. I was really hoping for something like, “Wow, the house looks great, Willow” or, “I noticed that you have makeup on and you smell like you took a shower.” Something that was a little more positive. I could feel the tension beginning to rise in the back of my throat. Then he said the worst possible thing he could even have imagined.
“Well, you did it wrong.”
This is where the normal person would have said, “That is pretty rude, Kyle,” or a REALLY good person would have said, “Oh, I did? Well, how do I do it the RIGHT way?” I just got so mad I walked out the door.
Kyle tried to call me for the next four hours, wondering where I was at. That’s right. I was mad about this for at least four hours, and every time he called, I thought of a new mean thing I would say when I decided to pick up. By the time I did pick up, I had a wonderful arsenal of crazy-inspired rants to choose from.
Kyle was obviously shocked. He had no idea what was going on! Of course, neither did I. In retrospect, it was about not feeling wanted or appreciated, or some other similar malarcky. I just didn’t feel like my reality was being respected, but I had no idea how to tell him that. Instead, I just focused on hating him for telling me I was wrong. I screamed at him until I felt better, and then I came home. And I apologized and learned how to do the thermostat the right way.
This is what living with a crazy person is like.
You see, the crazy person truly thinks that he or she is doing a pretty logical thing. In the worldview of the crazy person, it makes perfect sense that the TV is telling them how to talk to God because God made the TV, TV’s were meant to give information, technology is incredible and why couldn’t the TV talk specifically to ME?
Being crazy is available to anyone at anytime. It is simply a matter of degree. Even the most “normal” person can get lost in their own situation and lose their perspective. Because that’s what insanity is: forgetting that our personal reality is not the only reality available. People who we consider sane are very nice about making sure their reality fits in with most everyone else’s. People we consider insane just want to have their own reality and don’t really care if anyone else agrees.
Think about this for a second. The times you thought you were insane were the ones where everyone else said one thing and you said another. Insanity is an extreme form of individuality.
I had a friend named Kate in high school. She was very nice and fun and everyone loved her. One day, I decided to pull a trick on her. I came into the band room and greeted her. Asked her how her day was, made some stupid joke about a wenis (that’s the thing on the end of your elbow, by the way) and then made up some excuse about having to leave. I left.
I came back in about 5 minutes later and did the exact same thing again. Same greeting, same question, same joke about the wenis. I even tried to do the exact same movements with my backpack, same tone of voice, same pause before the punchline. I said I had to leave and she looked like I had just punched her in the face.
“Is this a joke?” She said.
“What are you talking about,” I said.
“You just did all this,” she said.
I gave her that look. You know, the one that tells someone they’re being crazy.
For a moment, she actually believed that she had made the whole thing up in her head, even though she realized that she had been cleaning her flute the first time I came and it was put away the second time. I made her actually question her perception of her own reality.
And that is what being crazy is really like: not knowing if your reality is the same as everyone else’s. I think that is why being a stay-at-home mom is so hard for me. I don’t want to lose track of what the normal reality is because I am getting so caught up in my own version.
Well, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad. At least in my reality I get to be in charge of the thermostat.
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