I am. I am. I am.

We’re all crazy, and you are, too.

I was really young when I realized I was, in fact, insane.

It wasn’t that I was obsessive about wearing dresses with matching bows — that was cute.

It wasn’t that I held other children back after class, demanding that those who couldn’t read fast enough needed my guided practice. That was loveable, to a degree.

It was the thoughts. The thoughts that wouldn’t go away. The most awful or offensive or scary or taboo thoughts that would come, slow and syrupy, and then not go away.

It was washing my hands so often they were cracked and bloody. Believing that if I didn’t make my bed correctly, count the tiles in the bathroom, or skip the middle step on the stairs, something catastrophic would occur.

In first grade, I crawled into a ditch and prayed for an entire recess, starting over and over because I wasn’t doing it right.

In seventh grade, I sat in the bath splashing alternately scalding and icy water on my face to “clean” my thoughts.

Around fifth grade, I spent all driving time convincing myself that every time the car went over a bump, we’d hit someone and needed to turn back for them.

In fourth there was a night I wrote letters to everyone in my family. “If I don’t wake up in the morning, I love you.”

I was a scary kid. My poor parents.

But I was also really, really ‘normal’. I was a cute kid who played sports and danced and sang in choir. I got plenty of fresh air and vitamins. I was always really close to my family and had lots of friends. And eventually, (most of) the nuttier traits faded to the back burner.

Why am I confessing this to the internet?

I finally read The Bell Jar. I’ve always loved Sylvia Plath’s poetry, even her most intense pieces, but I hadn’t ever read her novel. So I read it, and I loved it.

Esther struggles with gender roles, identity, and the feeling that nothing, no matter how much of it, is enough. So do I.

I’ve heard people say that as they read this book, they questioned their sanity. Bah. That was the opposite of my experience, as I obviously accept that I’m neurotic and knew that long ago. Instead, the novel gave me the sort of reassurance I crave: people relate to this. This book is a classic because not one of us has glue that is completely dry — we are all cracked and her writing speaks sense to us.


The book is awful and haunting and dark, obviously. My brand of insanity hasn’t travelled her route, and part of me is set deeply against romanticizing what is tragic, because that isn’t just or kind to any party involved. But another clings to the intimacy of large crowds; there is safety that comes with the somewhere out there, there’s someone who’s felt this. There’s comfort knowing that my synapses aren’t the only ones that trigger inconsistently. We’re all alike in that we are different types of crazy — a wonderful, staggering continuum of absolute insanity.

The wider we open our eyes, the more we are able to know, the more we can’t help but be affected. And we’re all together in it.

Mad Girl’s Love Song 
by Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least then spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

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