Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

When you think of the word crazy, it probably seems more like a negative adjective. Yet I think it can often be a positive trait to have, in moderation. When I was a DoorMat, I tried to be as un-crazy as possible. I wanted to just seem like a regular person and not stand out in any way that might attract a negative comment. Crazy was for other people.  I just wanted to fit in. Looking back, I was kind of boring, afraid to do anything out of the norm, refusing to take risks and basically living in a little safety box.

I felt safe but not happy. As I began to take baby steps out of DoorMatville, I also began to hear, “Are you crazy?!” when I took a few small risks. I heard it a lot when I decided to leave the security of marriage, without ever having taken care of myself. I’d gone from the arms of my loving parents to a loving husband when I was twenty and had no idea of what I’d do. When I burned my teaching license renewal form, accusations of being crazy escalated. As a teacher, I always had something to fall back on to support myself. But I’d never wanted to be a teacher and only became one because I was told I “should.”

I knew it was time to fly and develop a life that I loved, not walk through life on auto-pilot as I’d been doing. So I laughed when asked if I was crazy and owned the label instead of defending myself. If it was crazy to want to be happy, then I’d be crazy! Many people are scared to make moves or try new things or take risks and will put their fears and doubts onto you. I’ve accepted that’s their problem, not yours, unless you believe that you must be crazy and stop what you’re doing.

So many people are in ruts and just can’t understand what you’re doing when you try to break out of yours. It probably scares many people on some level since you’re doing things they’d love to do but can’t imagine having the nerve to do. So they call you crazy, and other words that don’t sound positive instead of using words that may fit you more, like daring, creative, adventurous, etc. For me now, crazy can mean all those words and more. And being a little “crazy” can lead you to things you’d enjoy or open up a wonderful world of possibilities.

I was called crazy when I accepted the dare from my students years ago to rap and became the first white female rapper. I was considered even crazier when I started Revenge Records when people I paid to help me get a record deal ripped me off. All of this led me to the career I have today. So what I did might have seemed crazy to people with closed minds but it enabled me to have a career that makes me happy—finally—after a lot of years being an unhappy DoorMat.

Think about how many great people were labeled crazy, before they proved themselves. Alexander Graham Bell set out to create a way to speak to people who were far away through wires—how crazy was that! Christopher Columbus took off on a voyage to prove the world was round, when everyone believed it was flat—a crazy man! And do you think the Wright brothers were considered sane when they prepared to fly in their first airplane? Often crazy is the prologue to brilliance, invention, success, innovation.

Find your own crazy thing to do—something you’d love to do but some people wouldn’t understand—and do it. Try something new. Be crazy enough to take a risk. Plan a solo vacation, Learn how to speed skate or juggle or something completely out of your comfort zone. Look for a new job doing what you’d love. Own yourself. Being a little crazy helps you to enjoy life more!

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