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Sasha Cagen

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Women: Stop Calling Yourself 'Crazy'

Posted: 09/14/2012 4:07 pm

"I'm just following my crazy intuition."

The word "crazy" slips in so easily.

I hear women calling themselves crazy all the time. I noticed it today in a Facebook post where a young writer wrote, "Yes, I am taking two online classes at once because I am crazy/they happened to be at the same time." Here she might have easily said, "ambitious," "hungry for knowledge" or "turned-on about learning." But she chose "crazy."

A friend of mine who is starting a business called herself "Crazy Jen" the other day when she was talking about her business ideas. She might have called herself "creative" or "risk-taking." I don't notice men calling themselves crazy when they make bold or risky choices. Think of literature and the archetypal Mad Woman in the Attic; the roles for women have often been angel caretaker or deranged and unstable; neither describes who we are as human beings. When we call ourselves crazy, we throw ourselves back up in the attic.

I jumped in when Jen was talking and said, "Don't call yourself crazy, it's disempowering." Another woman recently said the same thing to me. I was talking about "following my crazy intuition." I have been making choices in my life which, on the face of rational American scrutiny do not make sense (for example, my instinct to spend 3-4 months in Buenos Aires this fall). She stopped me short, because I could feel that she was right. Every time I call myself "crazy," I send a message to myself that I am being inappropriate. The words we choose to describe ourselves have an energy and we can actually feel them.

Try it yourself.

Call yourself crazy. How does it feel?

For me, when I call myself crazy, I get echoes of the message that I am "full of cracks of flaws; crooked, askew; mad, insane; impractical; erratic; being out of the ordinary; unusual."

There is also a notion of crazy that connotes enthusiasm; "passionately preoccupied" is another official definition. We can be "crazy" about a person, a place or a hobby. As women, I think we are also often scared of our passion when it grows, when we get very turned on; we might see passion as dangerous, so we call it crazy.

The overuse of the word "crazy" is a habit, and there's usually another more specific word that describes us better. I, for one, will feel better finding the more specific word.

P.S. I do love Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" though. Enjoy. :)

To read more about my writing and learn about my group programs for the quirky-minded, visit me at sashacagen.com.

 

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