C is for Crazy

Jerome, AZ; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Jerome, AZ; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I have an interesting relationship with the word “crazy.”  For those of us who consider ourselves unique, idiosyncratic, and not-followers, the label can be a badge of honor.  When people call me “crazy,” I feel complimented rather than put down, no matter how the label was meant.

I try not to use the word in my day job.  As a therapist, used at work, the word can be incredibly stigmatizing, especially when used in front of someone who’s been called “crazy” because of their mental illness or substance abuse problems.

I was reminded of this recently when one person in my group made a comment about “crazy chicks” and someone else said “I find that incredibly insulting.”  I sometimes forget how much words can hurt people.  I have thick skin and am not insulted by many of the things other people might be, but that doesn’t mean that some words don’t hurt.

People in the gay population took back the word “queer” and use it in an empowering way.  Can “crazy” ever be a badge of honor for people living with mental illness?

Crazy is a label that others put on those who stand out, as a way of dismissing them or keeping them down.  But being crazy only begins to describe me and really doesn’t capture the essence of me.  It’s an imprecise word.  So call me quirky.  Call me a know it all.  Call me irritable and scary.  Those words describe me so much better than that one word.  But if you can’t find anything else to call me, call me crazy.

I’m in good company.

“Being crazy isn’t enough.”
― Dr. Seuss

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”
― Albert Einstein

 

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5 comments on “C is for Crazy

  1. Alex Hurst says:

    That’s a very good and profound question, and one I think needs ample consideration. Crazy is one of those words, like queer, that has multiple meanings, which is why it’s hard to use it appropriately. Even queer, which in essence means strange, can still be insulting if said in a certain way. I personally don’t like it, and I’m in a lesbian relationship, basically because it is usually preceded by “the”, and makes the sexual-orientation sound like an “other”, nearly not human… but I actually don’t care all that much in the moment when/if it’s said. 😛

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

    • doreeweller says:

      Interesting point. I wonder how long it takes for a word to change meaning? And if there are some words that keep their dual meanings, no matter what.

      • Alex Hurst says:

        Well… awesome is a good word to look at historically. We hardly ever mean awesome, as in terrifying, these days, but that was it’s original meaning. 🙂

  2. grazona says:

    Great post. I was recently called crazy for making my own laundry soap so I’m with you. I take it with a grain of salt. I think it’s often used as an insult due to ignorance, when the insulter simply can’t understand why you would do/like/make/want something then you must be “crazy”.

    • doreeweller says:

      Hahaha! I make my own laundry detergent too! I have for about 7 years. It’s so cheap, and works just as well (except on whites). Plus, it doesn’t pollute the environment in the same way that traditional detergent does.

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