Adventures in Crazy Part I
My first boyfriend deceived me in a cruel and disgusting way. It was really terrible. So much so that very few people even know the story. Even now, over a decade and a half later, my face gets hot with anger every time I think about it. And though I've come a long way, I doubt that I will ever completely forgive him for it.
When I discovered what he’d done to me, I was angry. Probably the angriest I’ve ever been in my life. Night after night I would sit in my room with Mary J on repeat, tears of rage streaming down my face. I wanted to get him. Maim him, strangle him, castrate him. Do something to make him hurt. I was bubbling over with crazy anger every waking minute and one day when I couldn’t take it anymore, I went to the kitchen and threw all the fridge magnets across the room. Then I picked them back up and replaced them exactly where they were so my mum wouldn’t know what I had done.
It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s the craziest I’ve ever been in my life.
Those of you who have e-known me for a while may have heard the story of a time a few years ago when I was out with my longtime unboyfriend. We were with a group of friends at a club we went to every week and knew probably at least 90% of the people there. This includes one of his side girls who was also there that night. So there was quite an audience of people who knew us to witness it when he proceeded to get in a screaming argument with the side girl. About me. In front of all our friends.
For the first two minutes of their performance I stood there frozen and watched them, just as everyone else did. Then I slowly became aware of the fact that heads were swinging from their argument to me for a reaction shot. And when it hit me how beyond humiliating the situation was, I calmly left the party. I got in our car, drove around the corner to a coffee shop, and sent him a text: let me know when you’re done fighting with your girl and I’ll come back and get you.
When I went to pick him up he was standing in the street with a few of his boys. By the way they all looked nervously over at me I knew they were counselling him on what to do when he had to face me alone. One of them was telling him to go in apologizing and never stop apologizing. Another was telling him to admit nothing and deny everything. The third told him to immediately hug me and not let go until I calmed down. They all told him to text them and let them know he got home okay – they were worried he wouldn’t.
They needn’t have bothered worrying about his well-being though. When he got in the car all I did was look at him sideways and ask “are you proud of yourself?”. And after he pitifully admitted that he wasn’t, I let him know how mortifying that situation was for me and asked that in the future he be more discreet with his lovers quarrels. That’s about it.
If you subscribe to the theory that anyone is ever entitled to go apeshit, I think those two situations warranted it. But I’m just not wired that way. Maybe my prideful mother – who raised me to never ever let a man think I loved him more than he loved me – is to blame for this. Maybe it’s my innate secretive nature. Maybe it’s just a character flaw. Whatever the reason, I lack the ability to let loose and show my crazy.
I could go on and on with stories of egregious acts committed against me where I just took it on the chin and kept my cool. I’ve always been able to smile and laugh with people who people who have hurt or wronged me. That’s just the kind of person I’ve always been. I don’t like to let people know they’ve hurt me.
It’s not that I don’t feel things. I definitely do. I get pangs of jealousy and possessiveness just like women do. But for one thing, my innate sense of fairness prevents me from freaking out over my irrational reaction to a rational act. And for another, going crazy over a man I care about is a level of vulnerability I am not capable of. Or at least I never used to be capable of it.
As I get older a little bit of crazy is beginning to seep between the cracks of my unflappable facade. Whereas the old me would remove myself from a situation when I began to feel crazy, the new me wants to run head first into them. The old me would never dream of telling a man I wanted him all to myself, no matter how strongly I felt it. The new me might say it with a laugh, but I’m saying it. And if that makes me a little bit crazy I don’t care.
What I’ve realized from dipping my toes in the waters of mildly crazy behaviour is that people need to see this shit sometimes. In all my past relationships I’ve been accused of being remote; detached. I’ve given the impression that I’m not bothered by anything; that the actions of the men I’ve been involved with don’t mean shit to me. That I’m unaffected by whatever they do. None of that is true, but that’s the impression that my “butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth” demeanor gave.
I’ve always been of the opinion that sane, grown, rational people shouldn’t need to see extreme behaviour to know they matter. That a continual presence and a commitment to making things work shows more love than the busted windows of a car. But relationships are messy – sanity, maturity, and rationality aren’t exactly ruling the day when it comes to the way men and women interact. The ability to keep your game face on when someone hurts you serves you well when it comes to preserving your pride, but if you’re at the point where you care about someone enough to be driven crazy by them, maybe you should care about them enough to let them see a little bit of your crazy.
That’s what I’m thinking these days, what say you guys? Do you think there’s a benefit to behaving a little nutty for the one you love or is it better to keep a stiff upper lip at all times? Where are you on the crazy scale? Speak on it in the comments.