People who know my family history often tell me and my sisters that it is quite incredible that the three of us have grown up to be such loving mothers. Our mother was happiest when she was travelling and decorating our house. She was depressed, crazy angry, or stoned on Valium much of our lives. She was in and out of the hospital with operations; a few of which brought her close to death. She saved herself by leaving us; for weeks at a time at first; but permanently in the end. She moved far away and had little contact with us when my younger sister was still a teen and my older sister and I were in our early twenties.
I look back at my Mom now with a great deal of empathy. She was an Artist stuck in the role of mother in the suburbs in a generation that accorded women little respect and few options. She was also a victim of the medical system of the day. Diagnosed with ulcers, she was given Valium to “calm her nerves” and was subjected to several severe operations. Today, of course, they know that ulcers are caused by a bacteria so my mother would have been spared “the knife” and the numbing effects of a drug that left her stoned on the couch in the middle of the day.
But I am my Mother’s Daughter. While I am a loving mother, there is a Crazy Woman in me who emerges from time to time. When I am feeling like I cannot get control over my life, she emerges with a fury that is frightening to behold. She rages at everything and everyone around her. She rages against the limitations of motherhood; the ineptitude of men; the drudgery of housework; and the monotony of work. The Crazy Woman wants to break the bonds that bind me; she wants to destroy the limits that circumscribe my life.
The Crazy Woman is the dark side of the Artist; that side of me that longs for time to write; that needs freedom to express her Self; that needs access to beauty for inspiration; that needs space for meditation. But she serves a purpose. When she emerges, I know that I have gone too far; to accommodate the needs of others; to fulfill my responsibilities; to meet the expectations of others. When Crazy Woman rages, I know that I have abandoned my Self; that I am out of balance. I know that I have failed to make my needs known; to protect my time; to care for my spirit.
The Crazy Woman saved my mother’s life. She stole our mother from us; robbed my dad of a wife; but she helped my mother to save her Self; to create a life that fed the Artist within. The Crazy Woman is an agent of destruction; the death bringer; that inner force that helps us to bring death to patterns that no longer serve us. The Crazy Woman may be frightening and uncontrollable, but she just may save my life!