As I scan the rows of paint tubes during my latest trip to the art store, my eyes fall in love upon an innocuous pair of bottles reading "GAC-800 | Reduces Crazing." C-r-a-z-ing. Amazing. Researching the word later, I am delighted to find two satisfying and somehow related definitions:
wildly insane or excited.
"a crazed killer"
synonyms:mad, insane, psychotic, out of one's mind, deranged, demented,certifiable, psychopathic, lunatic; More
produce a network of fine cracks on (a surface).
"the lake was frozen over but crazed with cracks"
Cracks on the surface / produced by an uncontainable energy. How many times have I experienced this? How often have I yearned for a word to explain the underlying lava of emotion bursting through my surface? I get crazing. I get overwhelm of emotion. Waves washing over, not stopping on top of me but holding under just the same.
These anti-crazing bottles spring back to my head this week as a powerful goddess of a woman relays the story of a still-raw breakup with a man who shattered her trust, showed mad lack of respect and induced crazing. I have felt this before. "I wondered if I was going crazy." I have wondered this. Women have been accused of going crazy for centuries: witch burnings, hysteria. I picture Beyoncé cracking off the top of a fire hydrant with a furying baseball bat, stone cold, mouthing "What's worse, lookin' jealous or crazy, jealous or crazy?" Stirred up by strong emotion, women are labeled jealous or crazy, and are, snap, discredited. But beyond that, as I listened to my friend, I told her the truth underneath this: A man could never fully grasp what an amazing woman you are, because a man would never know what it takes to be a woman as powerful as you.
This story makes me consider the unity of females and what causes atrocious breeches of trust such as this. Our society has only recently begun to create a dialogue that promotes respect and trust. Historically men have been entitled to respect, and, as entitlement does, this (sometimes) causes it to be take it for granted. *Cough, Republican candidate, cough.* Women have had to actively cultivate respect for themselves and for each other. Specifically in the last 40 years in America, we have created language within our gender across various populations, a language of respect that both promotes female power and acknowledges vulnerability. Even the queen of queens, the solid and powerful Queen Bey released an album that exposes her vulnerability, her doubts and fears about a love and a life that looks impenetrable. Can we fathom what a gift that is? To have an icon of female strength confess the weight of being a human? And to top it all, she becomes stronger because of this! Last week, I washed around my apartment sorting out tons of emotions and life goals and tubes of paint, but in recent days, I have felt power return to my veins, low tide becoming high again. The crazing will return, but I feel confident that the cracks will not shatter this work of art.