Layers of Insane

Growing up I watched my mother jump from project to project, from passion to passion.  Midwifery and breastfeeding, homeschooling, cross stitch, quilting, vegetarianism, various church groups and causes, cooking, gardening and canning, horses, dogs, goats, religions of different shapes and sizes; her attention span wasn’t her strong point.  She’d tell you that all of those things were in her the whole time, that all of those things make up who she is today and, probably, that as time goes on she just finds out more about herself.  Growing up in this environment was chaotic, sure, but pleasantly so.  Mom became a near expert on all of her hobbies and past-times, it makes her a very convenient phone call today.  The woman knows everything.

I’m a lot like Mom in this regard.  Not that I know everything, I don’t even want to.  I do, however, want to know a little bit about everything.  My own passions and pursuits have changed over the years.  If I had children I imagine they’d see in me the same thing I saw in my mother.  Marketing and events, business owner, church figure, political advocate, foodie, gym rat, nature lover, city dweller; my life has seen it’s fair share of the pendulum swing.  I like to dip my foot into something for a while, maybe get in and swim around a bit, but I don’t really commit to much for long.  My boyfriend told me, very magnanimously, this evening, that I have a great personality for short-term projects.  I’m the kind of person that a new business or endeavor might want to call as they’re just getting up and running and are in need of a lot of passion and drive…short-term, that is.  He makes it sound much less crazy. 

I’ve been wondering lately if I’m actually much more normal than I’ve ever given myself credit for.


I worry about how much like Mom I am with these pendulum swinging interests and hobbies.  I worry that I might hurt people with my inability to commit to any one idea, to any one idea of my own self, for very long.  I don’t think Mom ever meant to hurt anyone, but, of course, she did.  I wonder, as I watch her now (passionate about rodeo), what it is that she’s trying to outrun?  What is it she’s not accepting about herself that she keeps reinventing?  But then I wonder if maybe she just wants to know a little bit about everything and, sometimes, she forgets to count the cost of an earnestly passionate mind.  I think, sometimes, that maybe she… that we… think too fast about too much to sit too still, and then I wonder who decided that was so bad, really.  I think sometimes, in those very romanticized times of thinking, that perhaps she and I are like the muses of long ago, passionate and fleeting, a trail of angst left in our wake.  We are not the artists, but we are the artist makers.

But mostly I think maybe I’m just crazy, that we are.  I think I’m crazy a lot these days.

I wonder, as a side note, do all women worry they’ll become like their crazy mom?  Do all women think their mom is crazy?  I bet most do.  If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be so many movies about it, right?  Look at the “Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood” – Sandra Bullock was terrified of being just like her crazy mom who, in the end, wasn’t all that crazy.  My new and, just to be clear, transient way of thinking these days has me believing that anything that is mainstream must be more normal than not.

Does this mean I’m normal after all? 


I’ve always thought, or imagined to know, that my idiosyncrasies would have to be seen by my husband as endearing, charming.  I figured that, somehow, all of these things that make me slightly worried about myself would have to be points of affection for him.

There’s this scene that plays in my head that sort of sums up what I’ve expected married life to look like.  In the scene the man playing my husband is talking to a friend and says something like “Oh, my wife is all about (whatever the rage is at the moment).” Pause for effect. “Of course, it’ll be something new next week” Cue laugh track.

I feel safe in that little scripted scene.  I feel loved by my sitcom husband and secure to be as many kinds of me as I want to be.  The reality is, however, that life is not a sitcom and some things are not endearing.

I almost hate to say it, but I have to stop and wonder, how does it always come back to “what will people think?”

If dissecting crazy is like peeling an onion, I wonder how much farther I’ve got to go.

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5 thoughts on “Layers of Insane

  1. Like Mr. Neil Young so eloquently put it in Mr. Soul
    “I was down on a frown
    when the messenger
    brought me a letter
    I was raised by the praise
    of a fan
    who said I upset her
    Any girl in the world
    could have easily
    known me better
    She said, You’re strange,
    but don’t change,
    and I let her.”

  2. I think this is my favorite post so far!!!! I personally think that *EVERYONE* is crazy in their own way. I believe we all have the capacity to be crazy, even psychotic, the diference is in how well we are able to control it. Crazy or not, that’s how I justify *MY* psychotic episodes!! ;o)

  3. I agree with Sonya. My normal is other people’s crazy. Years ago my uncle asked me what was wrong with me cause I smile all the time. I told him, “it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to”. He told me he thought I was “touched in the head”. I still smile a lot! : )

  4. I can relate to the whole “scared to be like mom” thing. But I’m learning to let that go bit-by-bit the more I get to know her in the “adult” way. Yes, she has her faults, but there’s many things in her that I would be honored to have!! Lol

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