I’m 23 years old, which means I’ve had a long, prosperous career of being called “crazy”. Twenty-three full years, to be exact. It’s not as weird as it sounds.
It’s not always in the same context — when I was little, my father used to carry me on his shoulders and when I’d demand he never put me down he’d laugh. “You’re crazy,” he’d tell me. Sometimes when I go out at night with friends and I’ve had just the right number of drinks, I’ll climb up on a table and start dancing. “Girl, you’re fucking crazy,” they’ll say before they join me. And sometimes, during arguments with guys I always think I know well, they’ll look at me with disgust and say, “You’re being crazy.”
It’s the last one that bothers me. It makes my blood boil, my hands curl into fists as I imagine punching a giant hole into the nearest wall. But worst of all, it always makes me hesitate, uncertain, as the question burns in the back of my mind: “What if they’re right?” Because sometimes, honestly, they make me feel crazy. Not “crazy“, the way my friends say it when I’m dancing on tables, not “crazy” with a laugh how my dad used to do it. Just crazy, period.
But what does that even mean?
It never made any sense to me. If I acted like I cared, I was crazy. If I acted detached, I was a straight up bitch. If I acted upset when someone blew me off, I was being psychotic. If I didn’t, they’d just do it again.
When I called them out, when I caught them in a lie, when I was hurt by something they said or did, the word always found its way back to me: crazy, crazy, crazy. At some point, it started losing its meaning. Or maybe it just stopped affecting me because I started to believe it.
The thing about always being treated like your feelings are invalid is that eventually, you start to believe it. So you swallow back your emotions and your words and you stop fighting back and you do whatever you can so that you don’t fit the stereotype you’re so tired of being shoved into. When you’re mad, you shrug it off. When you’re hurt, you cover it up with a smile. And when you’re told you’re being crazy, you just say “sorry”.
I remember telling one of my friends about confronting someone who had hurt me, how in the end they’d just made me feel worse and — oh god, not this word again — crazy. He just looked at me, surprised, and asked, “You realize that’s bullshit, right?”
It came as a shock to me, a jolt to my system, to finally have someone voice something I had always wondered all along. And it hit me then that I’d spent years tiptoeing around people in fear of a simple word I’d given so much power. It made me more mad that it took a man telling me that for me to actually believe it.
But that’s how it works, isn’t it? You never hear about crazy men, just crazy women who think too much, who feel too much, who want too much. Insane ex-girlfriends, psycho wives, you name it — we get every qualifier in the crazy spectrum. But when men do all the same things, it’s just considered normal. They are the rational beings — women, less so.
And I’m over it. I’m done listening to people who throw around words with no intent other than to control me. It’s been too long since I’ve said what I wanted, since I’ve swallowed my pride and told people how I feel. Call me what you want for it, but one thing I know it’s never going to make me is crazy.