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

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