“You have to forget about what other people say, when you are supposed to die, or when you are supposed to be loving. You have to forget about all these things. You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.”
– Jimi Hendix
I’m finding lately that my craziness is showing. I pierced my nose. I started this blog. I got it into my head that I wanted to learn to draw—and I did. I started chanting and referring to my chakras.
I blame it partially on turning 40. When I was freaking out about reaching this milestone birthday last summer, a good friend gave me a shake and said: “What are you worried about? Forty is great. Forty is when you stop giving a shit about what other people think.” As a woman who had spent most of her previous 39 and three-quarters years giving a very big shit indeed about what other people thought of her, this sounded pretty exciting.
But more than my mid-life meltdown, I feel like there’s something about becoming the mother of a medically, behaviorally and cognitively complex child that has propelled me right out of the realm of normal and launched me deep into the world of crazy. Well, not exactly at first; I clung on to normal for dear life with the aid of a strong dose of denial, but even that only lasted so long.
This complicated, unexpected life, with my terrors and my whining and my fears, is absolutely crazy. It is so far from perfect it takes my breath away most of the time. But what I learn each day is that if I want a life that is more than just coping and getting by, craziness is my ally. It’s a force I can harness and ride like a chariot to places I didn’t dream I could imagine.
My boldness is rewarded. I stretch myself to accommodate these unexpected demands, and in the process I grow more than I could have by simply willing myself to be more. Craziness lays out the welcome mat for a lot of messy heartbreak and turns it into breath-taking richness. It fuels creativity. It creates a fire in my belly. It makes my world and my heart much bigger and more interesting places.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,” Henry David Thoreau said. I realize now that the life I dreamed of having, with everything “perfect” and “normal” and to my exacting specifications, would probably have been a life of quiet desperation. But lucky me. My life is crazy. And craziness is like heaven.