Last week was a bit rough. Like most humans, sometimes I make mistakes. Unfortunately when I make them, I have a tough time forgiving myself. So, I ended my week of road bumps inside of myself, drowning in my thoughts, and convincing myself that I am crazy. I like to joke about my “craziness” to beat others to the punch, but maybe I’m not so crazy after all.
This past Thursday, I found myself in an intimidatingly self-destructive mood. I pushed limits that I knew I shouldn’t. Why did I push anyway? Because I am the type of person who likes to exhaust all options. I don’t like ambiguity, and if I have to sacrifice my reputation to establish an absolute– I will. I don’t think that’s an incredibly healthy way of life and don’t recommend it, but I find that healing myself from embarrassment in a black and white scenario bodes better than a Morgan who can’t let go of something.
When I found myself in the black and white last week, I did a few things. First, I told my friends what I had done. This I do recommend because I find that when I don’t admit to stupid decisions, sitting with my shame makes me want to crawl under a rock. The next thing I did was reach out to my first boyfriend. I need to be clear about the fact that this is not the abusive ex– I’m not trying to be that self-destructive. Anyway, I maintain a pretty okay relationship with First Boyfriend. We dated for three very transitional years, and it’s nice to be able to ask for his perspective on some things.
I asked him how he tolerated my crazy. His answer was, essentially, that he loved me and that I wasn’t that way when we started dating (spoiler alert: people tend to change between the ages of 16 and 20). He also said, gently, that he prefers a more laid-back lifestyle, and that I am, irrefutably, a more-intense person. I thanked him for his honesty and moved on to integrating my friends’ opinions.
Rather than judge me, my friends supported me and dismissed my conclusions about my mind and choices. They explained that when I exist in a reality in which I’ve convinced myself that I’m crazy, I do things I normally wouldn’t rationalize. Then, I can’t process the reality of my mistakes or forgive myself. They explained that by advertising myself as such, I do a pretty great job at convincing others that I am, in fact, crazy. They explained that despite the fact that I struggle sometimes, my struggling has a lot more to do with how I digest stimuli rather than insanity. Let me say that a little louder for the people in the back– I’m convincing myself that I’m crazy because I process things differently than others. I am different, told this makes me crazy, and then believe I am crazy… which, admittedly, does make me seem that way. How tricky.
It seems that we live in a world that’s eager to evolve into an ever-tolerant haven for all people, but most of us aren’t aware of our role in getting us there. We can say that we despise the systematic racism in our country; but, when asked our opinion of kneeling during the anthem, we’re too quick to remember that standing is expected, and don’t take the time to understand why people are choosing to kneel. The very notion that we prefer riddling off reasons to support a norm we were raised to adhere to rather than question the reality of the cause or situation, is really disappointing. Full disclosure, I am so very grateful to the men and women of our military, and the sacrifices they’ve made so that I am able to share these words. I am not trying to be disrespectful. If that’s what you’re picking up, I’d suggest you re-read this. Take a breath, try not to judge.
On this day, we remember a man who, certainly, made a lot of mistakes. If you’re unfamiliar with MLK’s not-awesome-choices in regards to fidelity, just know that it was a thing. More importantly, I mean to say that someone who we remember as a beautiful symbol of abolishing segregation was imperfect. He made mistakes. A lot of people thought he was crazy. Was he? Honestly, none of us are in a position to pass that judgement.
As a whole, we need to take a step back from thinking that we are privy to the only reality. Different isn’t weird, and we don’t know what we don’t know. I have made mistakes, people think I’m crazy; so, I believe it about myself to prevent others from saying it to me. When I believe it, I justify unhealthy thoughts or actions, people think I’m crazy, and we start over. It’s a cyclical process of maintaining a stigma that is slowing down our progression as a collective people. It’s a good day to remember tolerance, patience, and grace. Not only do we need to better about extending this kindness to other people as we celebrate our differences, but maybe we could be a little kinder to ourselves too.
Hope that makes sense.
Ps. Chris Martin has a new girlfriend, and I am not her. What a shame.