It has be­come a blan­ket term for

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FILTER -

There re­ally is no dodg­ing the sac­cha­rine-sweet for­mer coun­try-singer-turned-pop-princess. If you’re able to over­look the cringe­wor­thy twerk­ing in the ‘Shake It Off’ video, you’ll find T-Swift mak­ing some sense in her video for ‘Blank Space’, the sec­ond sin­gle off her lat­est al­bum, re­sult­ing in some thought­ful con­ver­sa­tion. She pokes fun at the dark hu­mour and ru­mours that have sur­rounded her love life as she morphs from the trophy girl­friend to ‘the crazy girl’, smash­ing her lover’s car with a golf club, mas­cara stream­ing down her face. We know the crazy girl well – we’ve pointed her out to friends at par­ties and know her char­ac­ter­is­tics: moody, jeal­ous, dra­matic, too sen­si­tive, ob­ses­sive. Her video makes us think about the be­hav­iour be­lieved to char­ac­terise a girl as ‘crazy’ and why we feel the need to as­sign the la­bel to women at all. It has be­come a blan­ket term for women who dis­play emo­tions oth­ers deem in­ap­pro­pri­ate. In­stead of find­ing the terms to ex­plain a woman’s pain, ela­tion or dis­ap­point­ment, it is much eas­ier to dis­miss her as crazy. Tay­lor’s video is bizarre enough to force us to ac­knowl­edge that the level of crazi­ness re­flected in it is way beyond any­thing most women would ac­tu­ally rea­son­ably do in the same sit­u­a­tion. And that par­ody re­minds us why this over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion is un­ac­cept­able. What makes us hu­man – and what makes us women – is our com­plex­ity. A range of emo­tions we’re not al­ways able to put into words. They are as unique as each of us and should be ac­knowl­edged as such. When we’re re­garded by oth­ers to be crazy, or its al­ter­na­tive – sta­ble, bal­anced, ac­cept­able – we lose those nu­ances and be­come emotionally flat, liv­ing in fear of the ‘crazy’ la­bel. It’s a la­bel we need to be less will­ing to ac­cept and less will­ing to at­tach to our­selves. So the next time some­one calls you crazy, give them your best T-Swift wry smile, wink and re­mind them you’re so much more than that.

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that Fe­bru­ary feels like the proper start to the New Year. With it be­ing the short­est month of the year,it has me re­flect­ing about whether or not I’m us­ing my time con­struc­tively. I find my­self fac­ing some tough truths about how of­ten I’ve used ‘If only I had more time’ as an ex­cuse for not putting enough work in to achieve my per­sonal and pro­fes­sional goals. Amer­i­can au­thor H. Jack­son Brown, Jr put it best when he said,‘Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have ex­actly the same num­ber of hours per day that were given to He­len Keller, Michelan­gelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Al­bert Ein­stein.’

The power in this state­ment is the op­por­tu­nity it cre­ates for all of us to reeval­u­ate what we are do­ing with our lives. We are not all des­tined to change the course of his­tory but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make the most of our time on Earth. Are you plugged into your sur­round­ings and mak­ing de­ci­sions to help you achieve a full and pro­duc­tive life? Are you mak­ing the ef­fort to ded­i­cate your time to the things you deem im­por­tant? Or do you get stuck in the rut of wish­ing time away so you can get through the day and make it home to watch

Per­haps Bey­oncé said it best in her song ‘I Was Here’, about the need to leave some sort of legacy: ‘I’ve done ev­ery­thing that I wanted and it was more than I thought it would be.’ So with the same amount of hours in a day af­forded to you as any­one else, knuckle down and fo­cus on the prom­ises you made your­self.

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