I have been afraid of being labeled “crazy” my whole life. I was afraid of not fitting in. I was afraid of saying things that would sound weird to other people. My head has always been full of quirky stories, fantasies and dark corners with cobwebs. I always felt that my mind was different and not suitable to introduce to my surroundings. If only I had known then, what I know now – that my mind was – and still is – a blessing if accepted and cared for by me. My quirkiness, my sense of humor, my sensitiveness, my toughness, my loudness, my quietness, my spirituality, my bitchiness, my consciousness, my body, my observations, my opinions – it’s all me.
So, if being me is “crazy” to other people – then so be it. That’s why I came up with the idea for The Meshugene Lounge. The word “meshugene” means “crazy” in Yiddish. I come from a long line of “meshugene” people – on both sides of the family. Some family members have been more “meshugene” than others. But they are my family, my DNA, my history, my story – my mind. I am who I am because of them.
My intentions for The Meshugene Lounge are to promote good mental health and to focus on the stigmatization of mental illness and the taboo which people with a mental illness face on a daily basis. We need to be as open, understanding and compasionate about people suffering from a mental illness as we are with people suffering from e.g. cancer.
When my father was diagnosed with cancer, our surroundings were very understanding and supportive and he was instantly offered chemo therapy and help from the health care system. When I hit rock bottom with depression and anxiety I was met with disbelief, misunderstanding and silence by my surroundings and by the health care system as well. People cared for my father because he had a physical illness – people distanced themselves from me because I had a mental illness. That needs to change!
We need to put our health including our mental health – first. And by good mental health I mean being who you are and feeling fucking great about it! It might sound “meshugene” to call a lounge which promotes good mental health “crazy”, but I like the contradicting meaning – nothing is polished to perfection in here . By reading about and listening to life stories told by other women I have found out that I should be proud of who I am and what I have accomplished in my life – including having suffered from depression and anxiety. Their brave actions of telling about their lives and what it’s like living outside the polished box of perfection has made me less afraid of speaking up and showing my mental scars.
It takes a lot of hard work, craziness and guts being happy! We can be brave together and support each other and show the world that it’s ok to be a bit “meshugene” – living in a box is not for everyone.
My favorite “meshugene froy” (crazy women) is Rachel Bloom in “Crazy Ex-girlfriend”. I can very much relate to what’s happening inside her head – and I’m a huge fan!
I have met many perfect people in my life – they were not very interesting. Their polished surface stuck to me like a fake tattoo. I was happy to rub their personalities off me when I was done talking to them.
The imperfect is always perfect. When you notice imperfections in someone else you reveal the imperfections within yourself. Imperfection is beautiful. Imperfection is the true surface which will show itself eventually – whether you like it or not.
Be proud of your imperfections – they make up the real and interesting parts of you.
By Wolfie Diamond