We’re All Mad Here (and it’s okay!)

If I leave my grin behind, remind me
that we’re all mad here
and it’s okay!

This line is from SJ Tucker‘s song Cheshire Kitten, from her new album Mischief.  I first heard the song … a year ago? 18 months?  SJ sang it at a concert I attended.  I’ve loved “we’re all mad here / and it’s okay!” since then.  To me, “we’re all mad here / and it’s okay!” means:

  • I don’t have to try to be “normal”.
  • I don’t have to hide my flaws.
  • I am safe.
  • I can show myself.

Mental health problems are not always easy to deal withStigma exists.   In some ways, I’m luckier than most: I’m a depressive and have some SADD, not bipolar or psychotic.   Yes, I use melatonin to make sure I get enough sleep around the summer solstice, and use exercise and grow-lights and get outside around the winter solstice.  Yes, I have taken antidepressants in the past and may in the future.  That’s what works for me.

If I leave my grin behind, remind me
that we’re all mad here
and it’s okay!

But it’s not just that which makes me different.  I’m fat.  I’ve dated women.  I work in a male-dominated profession.  All these things label me as “less feminine”, perhaps even “perverted”, to many eyes.  It’s something I live with, that’s always there in the background. Part of why I enjoy going to science fiction conventions and hanging out with “alternative” people is that I am the kind of “different” which fits in there.   I treasure places where I can just be myself, where I can hide from the usual omnipresent pressure to conform.

If I leave my grin behind, remind me
that we’re all mad here
and it’s okay!

I realize this is not what SJ was thinking of when she wrote Cheshire Kitten – she’s written that the song came from a What if: “What if the Cheshire Cat isn’t always so sure of himself?  What if there’s more than one Cheshire Cat?  How do subsequent generations of Cheshire Kittens feel about living up to their elders’ reputation of madness and mischief?  And suddenly, a Cheshire Kitten walked into my mind and told me all about how she felt.”

If I leave my grin behind, remind me
that we’re all mad here
and it’s okay!

I’ve heard the song many times before, because I hear SJ perform live, either alone or with Vixy & Tony.  But now there’s a studio recording of the song, on Mischief .

 

7 thoughts on “We’re All Mad Here (and it’s okay!)

  1. ” * I don’t have to try to be “normal”.
    * I don’t have to hide my flaws.
    * I am safe.
    * I can show myself.”

    This all depends on who I’m with and where I am, sadly. My SADD, PTSD and ongoing bouts of depression and post-partum depression are easy to hide from some, too easy to hide from people who don’t want to see it, and impossible to hide from those who really matter, which is great. I’m happy for you that you’re in such a good space that you can say the above. :)

    • This all depends on who I’m with and where I am, sadly.

      Oh, it does for me too. It’s just that when I’ve heard SJ sing this song (which until today usually meant she was singing it live and I was in the room) it has been in a place and with people that I could relax with.

      I DO spend time and effort on acting “normal” a lot of the time. That’s why not having to do so can be relaxing.

    • I realized after reading your reply that I hadn’t made it clear how often I feel I have to “cover” or wear a “normal” mask. So I edited the post a bit to try to make that more clear.

  2. “I DO spend time and effort on acting “normal” a lot of the time. That’s why not having to do so can be relaxing.”

    God, I completely understand what you’re saying here. My “mad” place is home. I feel exactly the way you do when I am at home. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to “act normal” when I am out and about. Things like, making sure my fatness is sufficiently covered and dressed (no sleeveless shirts, shirts that are long enough, no above the knee shorts/skirts, etc.), not taking up too much space (which means I am damn uncomfortable, often with something protruding into my butt or side), and trying to look confident and happy with myself (even though inside I want to scream at the next person who clucks their tongue at me because they just KNOW Im eating bon bons 25 hours a day).

    At home, I can let it all hang out so to speak. Tank tops on the deck with a glass of wine or iced tea, no concern about any chair in my house, dancing like a fairy on pixie dust to my favorite songs, being sad or mad because I’m sad or mad!….a place to be the real me.

    I guess we all have that to some extent. It just feels like the bar is set higher for someone my size when I’m out and about because the stereotype of being a fat woman is so prevalent that I feel like I must be on guard so much when I am out in the world. Here’s an example: As I boarded our flight home from vacation this week, the snobby flight attendant who sized me up the moment I stepped on the plane, made a production of digging out a seat belt extender and placing it on a ledge in front of her and telling the other flight attendants where it was so they could give it to me when I asked for it. I saw and heard all this because I was seated in the eighth row, and by God, I couldn’t NOT hear and see her antics. I’m sure she would have gotten a thrill carrying the extender high above her head down the aisle of the plane if I weren’t the “prepared fatty” who already HAD a seatbelt extender in my carry-on bag and was securely buckled before the rest of the passengers were even in their seats. I made sure to have a smug look on my face as she made her way down the aisle during seatbelt checks before take off.

    For me, being fat in public takes a lot of preparation, mental awareness, and steeling myself. It probably shouldn’t, but that’s where I’m at these days.

  3. Pingback: Music Monday: Witchka « Living ~400lbs

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