Saturday, 31 December 2011

Crazy is as crazy does

People, what is normal, and what is crazy?

I had dinner with a fabulous friend the other night. She told me about a guy she dated and how she wanted to diagnose his craziness with that psychology book that lists all neuroses. I told her to save herself the trouble; he's a man, and she's a woman, and would they ever understand each other anyway?

Does the fact that you can not understand someone's behavior and motivations make that person crazy? Or does it make you crazy or stupid, due to your inability to understand the other person's behavior?

I've known a few people with bipolar disorder. They do the most brilliant work when the lid comes off and they have the energy to do it, but they can't keep up that frenetic pace for too long. Who on earth could?

The thing is, things that don't fit into the norms of society are labeled as such... but who decided the norms of society?

Do you think I like working a day job, 40+ hours a week? Do you think that's what I would have picked if I'd had a choice of, say, 35 or 30 hours instead? Some days I am out of the house and in the world for an 11-hour stretch at least, battling traffic, putting miles on my car, feeling the tension seep into my body, running from meeting to meeting, wondering what is the hottest fire on my desk that I need to put out first. Yes, I feel accomplished. Yes, I am proud of my work. But do I need to do it so very much? Yes, according to society's standards. So does that make me CRAZY for wishing I could work less?

It still baffles me how people work full time and raise kids. Seriously. I don't know how they do it. It's hard to find time to spend with my pets some days. Embarrassing to admit, but true.

But I digress. What is normal? Diva laughs at me sometimes. She tells me I can't outline and explain everything logically because some things can't be discussed that way. Some things defy logic; people defy logic- some more than others.

Any diagnosis in the world is just a label; the person remains the person. Amigas, I have loved some pretty crazy people in my life. I think my life path that led me to Winterville made damn sure I'd be exposed to a whole spectrum of crazy that I never saw before. I've seen it so much up here. It used to make me angry; I'd think that the person should just take meds and assimilate, show up for work on time and get over himself or herself already. And, in the workplace, when you are part of a team, yes, I think that is true; otherwise, you're letting people down. But in life? Messy, mushy, free-form life? How crazy can we take it?

Your friend in the new year and always,

Jane Q. Phoenix

Monday, 19 December 2011

Design your own reality

Dan Pearce's blog entry about "I'm Christian unless you're gay" still has me thinking. I talked it over with some friends; it's been a good thing to trade thoughts about. One, a blunt Sagittarius who is known for her razor-sharp smarts, said to me that she thinks it's just that people get to subscribe to whatever reality they choose. We (Americans) don't have 4 TV channels anymore. The information we absorb is obtained through "channels" that we are comfortable with, such as Internet, satellite radio, cable TV, and so on.

For example, I was going through the channels on the TV today (I have 12) and there was the religious channel with an angry man talking about the One True Way. He said that the people who call themselves Christians but say that there are many paths to the same realization are just plain Wrong. His way is the Only Way. Everyone Else is a Damn Fool. Well, he didn't use those words, but you can get my drift. It all comes down to: You either believe what I'm saying, which is correct, or you're stupid and wrong. (I didn't watch that guy for too long.)

The only people who watch that show agree with that man, just like the only people who watch news programs that lean left or right are the people who want that spin to the information they ingest. That's just the way it is. If you don't want to see much about celebrities, go with the PBS station; otherwise, you'll be hearing about Michael Jackson and the Kardashians for the rest of your natural life.

I think it comes down to designing your own reality. If you really concentrate on something, it increases in importance in your life and has more meaning.

People also have to decide for themselves what level of negative news that they can handle. Personally, I did not watch any of the Casey Anthony coverage. It has a lot to do with a demanding work schedule and a life that doesn't involve much TV, but there's also the element of: do I really want this information to take up space in my brain? Ask yourself that question about the things you come across. Is this really what I want to become a part of me? I didn't want the idiocy of Casey Anthony to become a part of me. I understood most of the circumstances of the case and her behavior from hearing snippets of news on the radio in the morning and on TV at night; I didn't need the details.

Mostly because I know that whatever she did, she's going to live in her own personal hell for the rest of her life. Do you think she is going to be remotely free? She's in prison whether she's doing time or not. Karma is probably kicking her ass as I write this. Karma will no doubt continue to kick her ass, whether or not anyone actually lays a hand on her.

When the verdict came down as Not Guilty, so many people were outraged. I'm sure the evidence I didn't hear about pointed to her guilt or involvement on some level... but the thing I became concerned with was that so many people wanted to hurt her, wanted to punish her, wanted to see her be hurt or imprisoned. Sitting back from my half-ignorant viewpoint, I thought to myself that the more informed people were about the case, the more they suffered. The more angst and anger they felt.

This takes me back to my original point. Some people sought out that news coverage, while others like myself did not.

People criticize me for my detached perspective sometimes. They ask, don't I care about the world?

Yes, absolutely, I answer. But I also have to sleep at night!

Wishing you pleasant dreams and a happy tomorrow,

Jane Q. Phoenix