Watch What You Say

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My MIL strongly believes that people are capable of speaking things into existence, both good and bad.  Case in point:  My husband and I once had a pet name for Eliza.  We used to refer to her as “Crazy.”   I don’t think it is necessary for me to explain how she was christened with this.  However, we don’t call her this any more now that Ethan and Evan live with us.  We don’t want them to hear their mom being spoken of in a derogatory manner.

One day while talking on the phone with his mom about Eliza’s growing paranoia, he slipped and called her “Crazy.”  His mom, a devoutly religious woman was appalled.  She quickly reprimanded him for the wording. 

Even though she has experienced first hand how hostile Eliza can be; she stills feels that she should be regarded with dignity.  When my husband’s father died, his mom made the trip from Michigan to attend the funeral.  During this time Eliza and my one day in-the-future husband were separated.  She would not allow the kids to attend the funeral.  My MIL rarely came to town and was therefore eager to see her grandchildren.  She contacted Eliza to seek permission.  Eliza would not accept the calls.  Finally my MIL and SIL went to Eliza’s house.  After reasoning and praying with her for over an hour, Eliza finally relented.

My MIL shared this story with me several years ago.  She spoke about the wrath in Eliza’s speech and heart.  She too admitted that she thought Eliza had some mental issues.  However, she remains firm that if we speak of her in respectful terms and have loving thoughts about her that she will somehow receive these warm thoughts and act accordingly.  I might have to give this a try!

We tend to label a lot of things with this word.  We use it to describe people (She is so crazy!), places (They live in a crazy house!), actions (That was a crazy thing to do!), situations (I’m in a crazy predicament.), and things in which we don’t understand (I can’t even explain it–it was just crazy!).  In today’s time “crazy” is an expression of the hip.  Hence the title of TLC’s CD “Crazy, Sexy, Cool”  or Brian McKnight’s “Crazy Love”  or Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and I can’t forget Musiq’s “Half Crazy” and what about comedian Martin Lawrence’s popular catch phrase “You so crazy!”  Anyone wanna play a round of Crazy 8’s (I’m sure Evan does)?  Isn’t it “crazy” how this word can describe both good and bad?   My students use it frequently due to their limited vocabulary (Why we gotta take a test over MacBeth–that play was just crazy! or Mr. Lang act like he crazy!) It is a term we use so loosely with little regard to whether it is actually fitting or not.

Reluctantly I have must say that my MIL might have a point.  Crazy is too simple of a term to bestow upon Eliza.  So called “crazy”people (mentally ill) can actually seek treatments allowing them to have a relatively normal life unless in the most extreme cases.  Furthermore, I would be offended if I suffered from a mental illness and was referred to as crazy.  At this point I think “unhealthy” describes Eliza more accurately.   Unhealthy people won’t even admit that they have a problem.  She hasn’t been diagnosed with anything to my knowledge.  But I have to admit that “Unhealthy” doesn’t have the same ring as “Crazy!”  Please forgive me for this crazy post!

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3 responses »

  1. Your MIL sounds like a very loving woman. I hope someday that I can look on people that objectively. It is hard not to personalize other people’s actions. I’m struggling with that right now. This is a good reminder. 🙂

  2. I have to agree with your MIL. I too, believe we can (and always do, in fact) create our own reality. Hence if you are an enlightened being (something we all struggle with), you will realize this and act accordingly. That doesn’t however mean that you should live in a fantasy life and not recognize reality.

    Re the ‘crazies’, it can be used as a derogatory term and really there is no point in being derogatory, because the truth in Eliza’s case is just too serious to belittle it. She most likely does have some kind of mental disorder, the least of which may be a personality disorder. This should be taken very seriously and not demeaned.

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