Every once in a while I come across an unfamiliar word and I add it to my vocabulary because it is fun to say or brings with it a meaning that far exceeds anything a more well-known word could offer. Some unique words just say it all. I remember well when my Italian grandfather found someone to be dull-minded, he called him what sounded like “chi-drool”–I think it meant donkey. But donkey didn’t quite capture what my grandfather meant, “Chi-drool” captured it well.
Recently when I was relaying a story in my wound up way of story-telling with my loud voice, hand gestures and the like, a friend said, “There is a Jewish word for you, Mary Ann, Mashaguna.” While he tried to be careful as he defined it for me, I got the point. MASHAGUNA (pronounced Ma Shoo g’na)means a little crazy, over the top. I would have preferred he said it meant animated or enthusiastic, referring to my story telling ability, but he didn’t. He said Mashaguna and he meant just that–crazy, over the top. I rarely see him now, obviously he didn’t like that side of me!
And so it is. But I have come to terms with it, fully accepting the Mashaguna title knowing that I am over-the-top. I generally speak using superlatives (These jeans are the best ever!”), eat in the same new restaurant so many times in a month that I never want to eat there again, and play the same song for exercising (Bob Marley, “Three Little Birds”) over and over again. I exercise like a Mashaguna far too many times in a week, play far too many word games, and could conceivably drink a Nutella shake every night of my life.
My Mashaguna-like behavior may well work against me at times, but I no longer fight it, because it is me. It is who I am. I am over-the-top and while there are some consequences to being that, for the most part I get a lot of fun out of being me. I find myself laughing to myself throughout the day at what I experienced, and thoroughly enjoy telling and retelling others as well. I worked hard at getting to know me and like me, and find myself very happy with the me I have become. My liking me makes it easy for me to like most other people, appreciating the differences in our personalities and styles.
And so let’s talk about you. You know better than I if you are a little crazy, a true Mashaguna like me, or not crazy at all. Perhaps you enjoy a gentle quiet life and either enjoy the Mashagunas of the world from afar, or avoid them completely. But the important thing is really how well you like being you. I contend that if you truly like who you are, then you are happy and life doesn’t get much better than happy. If you don’t like who you are, then you can hardly like anyone else. So you need to change that, but don’t delay. Get there soon. It is so much more fun when you can enjoy yourself for who you are, accepting your bumps and warts along with your all the good things about you.