I spend a freakish amount of time dissecting and scrutinizing myself, motivations, emotions, thought patterns, actions, etc. I’ve discussed it before but in my recovery I kind of took the whole “taking a daily self inventory” thing to an extreme. (I’m big on extremes; never much for moderation. This, too, I’ve discussed. Moving along.) Most of the time I’m not so much reviewing my actions as convincing myself further that I am an emotional disaster that even the Red Cross wouldn’t cover. I obsessively judge every single thought that crosses my mind and I tend to drive myself into a self-beaty-uppy frenzy more often than I’d like to admit. Honestly, I’m not just tough on myself; I’m fucking relentless.
Recently, however, I’ve been privy to a few different situations that kind of have stopped me in my tracks. A while ago I talked about the Universe momentarily dropping the veil between my life now and what it could have been hadn’t bothered with practicing active recovery and, since that didn’t seem to be enough to get the message across (I’m a slow learner sometimes), the Universe then began hurling at me more and more examples to support its point. I was kind of starting to get it, but apparently I needed an extreme example. Go figure.
So yesterday I’m folding laundry, washing dishes, doing other general housewifery and watching a documentary about women who are stalkers. I listened to women who were reformed stalkers and had gone on to live normal, sane lives and other women who were still proud of their actions and felt totally justified in their completely insane tactics. It was weird how some of the women on either side discussed a very real sense of purity and justice in their actions (even though the reformed ones have since realized that this was a mere illusion) and remembering how, in my craziest (usually alcohol-soaked) moments I felt the same drive. And then I thought about people that I knew/know in my own life who display this same kind of Crazy… and then I started thinking about the people I know who display a lot of Crazy in other forums.
And I started to feel really really good about myself for a change.
Here’s the thing. I still have tendencies toward the Crazy from time to time and sometimes they even get a little out of my control, which is scary. But I am always always working to get better and I’m consciously keeping them in check (or immediately wrangling them back into check should they momentarily escape.) And you know what? My Crazy isn’t ruining my life or the lives of those around me anymore. My Crazy isn’t bailing on my friends and family, isn’t busy trying to destroy myself with drinking or drugs or insane spending sprees or shitty relationships. My Crazy isn’t driven from fear or loneliness or selfishness or low self esteem anymore and I’m no longer perpetuating a shitty or even mediocre existence out of confusion or denial or anger or fear or anything, really. My Crazy doesn’t conduct any of the dramas that inevitably come into my life and I’m able to dismiss any unnecessary bullshit quickly and efficiently because the Crazy doesn’t rule my ego anymore.
In fact, if I can take a minute to fling humility by the wayside, I have a pretty rad life right now. And, given that this life is so much better than it used to be a few years ago, I’m pretty convinced that my work in therapy and sobriety and general recovery is directly responsible for building this around me. My family not only completely trusts me these days (a MAJOR change from the former) but they enjoy my company and have confidence in my abilities as a parent and as a competent adult (an even more major change.) I have a base group of amazing friends who constantly have my back and are always rightthere when I need them, without me having to ask. I have a functional, jealousy-and- [99%]- insecurity-free love life with a man whom I trust and love completely, who treats me the way my parents always told me I deserved to be treated, who is committed to growing and nurturing each other in our lives together. I have a healthy, happy daughter who is developing perfectly on schedule even though I know next to nothing about being a parent.
Apparently, even though my Crazy may always be on my mind and I may always be on guard for its attacks, it really plays a very very minor role in my life these days. My neuroses (and ensuing insecurities and then the resulting complications of such insecurities which cycle back into neuroses) are minor obstacles that crop up every so often instead of acting as guidelines and barriers in which to contain my whole entire existence. Proudly, I can admit that this is the very first time in … well, since I can remember… since 5th grade?… that I can say that. These days the things that used to cripple me and keep me submerged in a miserable life are just little mostly insignificant quirks to my character that are laughable among my close friends and family, instead of being exhausting and embarrassing to those around me.
This doesn’t let me off the hook, of course. I’m never off the hook, really, if I plan to keep growing and learning about myself and life and recovery and all that (which I do.) And I certainly don’t think I’m all figured out or have all The Answers or am somehow above fault or relapse or missteps. I’m not a conceited idiot. I’m sure I’ll continue over-scrutinization/criticism of myself until I’m old and grey (even though, like effing everything pertaining to my thought behaviors, I’m working to find a middle ground on that, too.)
But for just a second, I think I’m going to take a break to be a little smug and arrogant. (Again, I’m big on extremes.) ‘Cause I used to be Utterly Hopeless, Pathetic, Destructive Crazy, but now I really believe (supported with aforementioned evidence, of course) I’m safely in Self-Aware, Seemingly-Normal(-Whatever-That-Is), More-Than-Functional/Downright-Thriving Crazy. To the outside [of my head] observer I’m functional, capable, assured, competent, sane, trustworthy, normal-amount-wobbly, instead of being chronically catastrophic. Nobody’s making “Crazy Bitch” or “Crazy Train” the ringtone that sounds when I call them. (This actually happened at one point.) Sure, people may have terrible things to say about me (people always have terrible things to say about anyone, it seems) but they’re not locking their doors or putting restraining orders out because of me. (Frankly, I think anyone who may have a problem with me these days really just has to be looking for drama. Clearly they’re wasting more time/energy being pissy and resentful than I am, ’cause it’s clear skies on my end.) And I’m not covering my head in shame from my most recent stint of making a total ass of myself or loudly defending myself to a bunch of random people I may or may not have wronged a la “Springer”. Not having the Crazy at the ready is pretty damned liberating, relaxing even.
So yeah, I’m taking a minute to sit back on my laurels and indulge in a little schadenfreude toward the Crazies with whom I no longer share a category. Of course it’s morally wrong/bitchy/insensitive and an incredibly cocky, shameful fault to admit to publicly. However, this emotion will, of course, settle into a middle ground of healthy, normal, gratitude with which I can maintain a productive sense of humility. But for just one second I’m going to enjoy snorting and sighing at the Crazies around me with knowing pity, “Damn; that bitch/bastard is cah-razy.” without feeling too much like a hypocrite.
I’m probably going to start with my next door neighbor. It’s like having Springer’s show delivered to my home! (Actually, any reality TV is good for this.) And then there’s the crazy bitch that keeps harassing me via MySpace from 1,000 some miles away. Oh, I could do this for a while.
“I’m rich rich richrich rich.” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs