One of the things I learned from 2 1/2 years of therapy, besides an hour means 50 minutes, is to never hide who you really are because people will figure you out anyway. I don’t know if this is true all the time. Writing online for three years straight and on and off for another three years prior, I’ve revealed a lot about myself, good and bad, but I don’t think people have figured me out. They probably never will. Because in my offline life, or what some people would call “real life”, few people have any idea the whack job they deal with on a daily basis. This is certainly true with my family and my day job has no clue who and what I am. I write a lot about my anxiety and depression. I call myself “regular crazy” to make people feel more comfortable about it all.
When I met my wife a friend asked me “Has she shown you her crazy?ore importantly, has she seen yours? Because if she’s with you, she has to have a little, because you have a lot!” I laughed it off then found a corner to curl up in the fetal position because I knew that this would have to happen soon since my wife, then my girlfriend, had children and I did too. So I showed her my crazy. Like tweets, Facebook stati, blog posts, and book chapters, my crazy came at her in pieces. By the time we married she was ready for the full on whackadoo me. And she got it. Why we’re still together is a volatile mix of modern medicine and blind, dumb luck, I mean love.
My good situation at home and my writing experience have made me more transparent at work. On a conference call, during a brief intermission while we waited for someone to join, I was talking about a previous project that everyone on the call had worked with me. It was infamous because of problems so when I said “yeah, that project was as much fun as a Kafka novel” I thought someone might chuckle. When silence happened, I realized what normal people were like and I waited for someone to drag me from the freezing cold ocean of dumb I’d fallen into.
I’m reading a lot of people who talk about cutting back on blogging and social media to “spend more time with real life” and I always say aloud ”well, what will they do with their crazy?” This is why we blog and tweet, right? Eventually that crazy, or different or alternative thinking, however you wish to label, has to come out. Sure, you get off the computer for a while, but when you’re in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you shows every racist, homophobic, annoying coupon hoarding personality tick where do you express your frustration? Those books you download, those websites you visit, that music that none of your friends or family like; where do you talk about that stuff?
Therapy, whether it’s clinical or something as artistically tangible as writing, is supposed to teach you that what’s inside of you can be harnessed into fuel to make your engines – the mind and body – run better over time. Facebook shows me, and it should show everyone who reads this post, that while normal and conventional is good for those who possess those traits, those who feel outside of the white picket fence life need their outlets of expression. This is why My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, @TLanceB, and my columns for SprocketInk.com exist.
Being different, offbeat, or my own label – regular crazy- is okay so don’t be afraid to reveal it. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
Paul Westerberg is one of my heroes and he knows what I’m talking about. He writes about ir perfectly in this song from his Replacements days. Here’s Here Comes A Regular. It’s brilliant.