Women: Stop Calling Yourself Crazy

by | Sep 14, 2012 | Advice | 5 comments

“I’m just following my crazy intuition.”

The word “crazy” slips in so easily.

I hear women calling themselves crazy all the time. I noticed it today in a Facebook post where a young writer wrote, “Yes, I am taking two online classes at once because I am crazy/they happened to be at the same time.” Here she might have easily said, “ambitious,” “hungry for knowledge,” or “turned-on about learning.” But she chose “crazy.”

A friend of mine who is starting a business called herself “Crazy Jen” the other day when she was talking about her business ideas. She might have called herself “creative” or “risk-taking.” I don’t notice men calling themselves crazy when they make bold or risky choices. Think of literature, the archetypal Mad Woman in the Attic; the roles for women have often been angel caretaker or deranged and unstable; neither is true. Neither describes who we are. When we call ourselves crazy we throw ourselves back up in the attic.

I jumped in when Jen was talking and said, “Don’t call yourself crazy, it’s disempowering.” Another woman recently said the same thing to me. I was talking about “following my crazy intuition;” I have been making choices in my life which, on the face of rational American scrutiny do not make sense (for example my instinct to go spend 3-4 months in Buenos Aires this fall). She stopped me short, because I could feel in my bones that she was right. Every time I call myself “crazy” I send a message to myself that I am being inappropriate, somehow wrong. The words we choose to describe ourselves have an energy and we can actually feel them.

Try it yourself.

Call yourself crazy. How does it feel?

For me, when I call myself crazy, I get echoes of the message that I am: “full of cracks of flaws; crooked, askew; mad, insane; impractical; erratic; being out of the ordinary; unusual.”

There is also a notion of crazy that connotes enthusiasm; “passionately preoccupied” is another official definition. We can be “crazy” about a person, a place, a hobby. As women, I think we are also often scared of our passion when it grows; when we get very turned on. We might see passion as dangerous, so we call it crazy. The “crazy” thing, really, is a habit–there’s usually another more specific word that describes us better. I for one will feel better finding the more specific word.

P.S. I do love Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” though. Enjoy. 🙂


  1. sasha

    Chanced on this quote after publishing this post:

    “”If being crazy means living life as if it matters, then I don’t care if we’re completely insane.”–April Wheeler from Revolutionary Road (the movie)


    Meanwhile a friend posted Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” lyrics on my Facebook page after I shared this post. Willie Nelson wrote the lyrics but it was a woman who made them famous. Also apt:

    Crazy, I’m crazy for feeling so lonely
    I’m crazy, crazy for feeling so blue
    I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted
    And then someday you’d leave me for somebody new
    Worry, why do I let myself worry?
    Wond’ring what in the world did I do?
    Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
    I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying
    And I’m crazy for loving you
    Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
    I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying
    And I’m crazy for loving you.

  2. Catherine Shu

    Hey Sasha, I called myself crazy for taking two online courses because, well, I felt like it was driving me crazy! Seeing all my prompts pile up when I’d envisioned writing thoughtful journal entries for each really bothered me. I felt it stood as a metaphor for my poor time management skills.

    But I also wrote that before I realized there are actually things that are driving me literally crazy that I need to get under control starting NOW. The double-dose of prompts from Shimelle and Susannah each day are actually the bright light in an extremely difficult time for me.

    I do tend to have a self-deprecating sense of humor, but you are right, using the word “crazy” does seem to be highly gendered, and more upbeat language does make a difference.

  3. sasha

    Hi Katherine, Thanks for sharing more of what “crazy” means to you. For me “poor time management skills” means “overscheduling,” in my own life–sounds familiar, the desire to do so much because there are so many cool things to do!

    I’m glad the prompts are the bright shining light in a difficult time.

    Crazy has so many meanings really. Another one that sprung to mind is a memorable line from the Titanic, “It’s crazy, so I trust it”–that sense that the intuitive, the thing that doesn’t make sense on the face of it, is the one to choose.

    I do overall think though we do ourselves a disservice when we overuse the word crazy in describing ourselves. And believe me, I have done that a lot!

    Thanks again for commenting.

  4. Melissa A.

    Brilliant and dead on. The word does slip in…..you even caught me saying it yesterday. The good thing was that I caught myself, thanks to your prior caution to me about the word. Why is taking a risk crazy? Why is being passionate crazy? What would the world be like without passionate risk takers? Not somewhere I would want to live, for sure.

  5. Tina Salas

    Wow it just open my eyes. I tell my friends all the time. I like to be organized. I have issues with it. So I tell people I am just crazy like that. I guess I need to come up with a different word like. Organized like that. Lol.. Hey it is start to my crazy ness.


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Hi! I’m Sasha

Executive and Life Coach on a mission to help women connect with their bodies to pursue their truest desires in the bedroom and the world.

Author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperCollins) + To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster).

At work on a memoir called Wet, about adventures in healing through sensuality.

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