Once again, the brilliant and delightful Arwen of Raising My Boychick says what I wish I’d said.
From her post, On the ubiquitous use of “crazy”, where she discusses the propensity of folks to utter sentences about how “insane” or “crazy” some aspect of life is:
But I’m crazy too, and I don’t care!
Yeah, neither did I. Except the part of me did, the part of me that internalized that to be crazy meant to be chaotic-bad-inhuman-devalued. The part of me that said that maybe it was just as well, that I deserved the names, that I deserved to be treated as less-than. When I started letting go of that part, so long hidden, the rest of me started caring.
Maybe it isn’t the same for you. Maybe you can exist in a world that tries to cut you a hundred times a day and not be damaged. Maybe you have an infinite ability to laugh it off. Maybe you have Kevlar skin.
I don’t. Doesn’t that matter?
It’s not going to change anything, even if I stop. You’re fighting a losing battle.
If you start using other words where now you use “crazy”, it’s going to make my life that little much more kind. If you start thinking about the words you use and noticing the words other people use, it’s going to make you a better person. If you start asking other people to change the words they use, and challenge the attitudes those words reflect, it’s going to spread the message. If you use this new awareness to pay attention to the headline that your local government is cutting mental health funding, that another person was shot when they should have been helped, that some politician is trying to get you to think less of another because a family member is a lot like me, and you vote differently and add your voice to the protest and make a small donation to a cause that empowers us, if you do this and ask others to do this, actually, it can change quite a lot.
I don’t expect the use of all degrading metaphors to cease in my lifetime, and possibly not in any lifetime. But I have to believe, and have reason to believe, that the world can be better for our working for it.
Damn right. No, we can’t change everyone. But those who hear this message and make the change are starting the ripple effect of using caring words. My craziness is not your metaphor, folks. Your bad day does not equal my, or anyone else’s, mental illness.