The female lead in my upcoming book has the tiniest bit of an attitude. I would call her crazy, but knowing that attitude, she’d punch me before I got the chance to explain. So, before she finds out my address, let’s have a look at a few similar ladies who were touched by the hand of crazy.
Crazy comes in many forms. I am definitely not thinking of the trashy newspaper archetype (which are, more often than not, manufactured by said trashy newspapers in the first place). The kind of crazy I’m thinking of is the sort that has moxie, the sort that leaves you in awe, the sort that looks at the improbable, the dangerous, and the impossible, and gives it a go anyway. The sort that has such a belief in their ideas they will go to any length to see them realized.
Given the news over the last couple of weeks, there’s only one lady to start with, Margret Thatcher.
Maggie, as she was known in the UK, ticked quite a few of the crazy lady boxes. That of course can be taken both ways, and there is no doubt that during the 70s and 80s, she polarized opinions in the UK. But consider, she was born into a family of grocers, gained a PhD in Chemistry, and went on to be the first female leader of a western nation. To cap that, she was re-elected three times and went on to served as Prime Minister for eleven years (both records for the 20th century). Whichever side of crazy you think she’s on, that’s not a bad résumé.
She did all of this in the face of a male dominated political system. More that that, she did all of this knowing that she would have to face male dominated trade unions (predominately coal miners and car workers), most of whom didn’t want to be told what to do by anyone, particularly not a woman!
When she had made up her mind that an objective was worth the consequences, she almost never changed her mind. She understood the consequences at the outset, and if the materialized, she didn’t have to rethink and waver in her conviction.
She was also remarkably brave to go with her convictions. In 1984, when the IRA blew up the hotel in which her party was having their annual meeting, she was lucky to escape with only minor injuries. While bodies were still being pulled from the rubble, she had the presence of mind to continue with her normal duties while dealing the crisis as it unfolded. The following day the party conference went ahead and she gave the opening speech, exactly as planned.
Was she loved by everyone? No! But I think that is one of the marks of crazy people, they polarize opinion. Given all the challenges she faced, to wake up one day and think “I’ll give it a go,” you’ve got to be just a little bit crazy.
And that’s a crazy I’ve got to admire.
What about you?