I’ve been labeled (or accused) of being a drama queen several times throughout my lifetime. Then I met with a spiritual director over a decade ago who helped me understand my personality type. I was able to be less offended by it when I realized that I didn’t LIKE drama. I knew I never liked it, but when you think of a drama queen, you think of someone who craves attention and stirs up shit to get it. When I worked with the director, I came to a very sad and painful realization that I required drama in my life because I felt dead otherwise. Empty. Void of life. It’s like an uber version of no self-worth. So I would/could be attracted to people who were problem-ridden because if I could be Super Woman, then maybe I would have the worth of just an average person. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but it is really quite startling. I had to be Hercules, dealing with the toughest of things ever that most people can’t handle, in order to justify taking up human skin. Yikes.
Then another shift happened after my mother died. I really started investing more in my sisters and girlfriends. I have awesome ones, more than most people do. None of the relationships are perfect of course, but overall I am pretty damn fortunate. They get me in ways that are very deep, and it is quite healing to have that in your life. Recently, Summer (who I’ve written about several times) and I were having a conversation about life in general. I’m sure I won’t paraphrase her entirely correctly, but she said some people have messy lives because they make bad choices and then have to live with their chaos. Some people have messy lives because they are dealt a hand that is unavoidable- i.e. born with a disability or disorder of sorts, born in a war-ridden country, etc.. And some people have messy lives because the people around them do crummy things to them and hurt them. She thinks I mostly fall in that last category.
With the therapy and spiritual direction I’ve had, I’ve worked hard on minimizing the drama in my life. I’ve learned that I don’t have to save the world. My friend Mike has been pounding that in my head for the last two years. But I try to balance this without losing my generous and loving heart. I still do things (like educate about death and dying) that many people can’t do. I still do things that are too hard for some people. I am actually proud of that. But I try to keep it more manageable.
I’m trying to keep things simple, that can be kept simple. Because loving people, being present with them, being connected is not always simple or convenient, but it’s what you do when you have compassion. I realize some of the growth that I have made when I’m sometimes around people who don’t often keep things simple. In fact, some folks can take the most simplest of things and make them into complicated conflicts. I have less and less patience for it the older I get because my heart and time are busy dealing with things that really do require my attention. It makes no sense to me, but then when I try to see it from a different perspective, I soften a little. Sometimes, people use all that defensiveness and complicating of things to keep themselves from getting close to others. If true love and intimacy frightens you, you will take even the most smallest of things and create a barrier out of them so you can protect yourself. It’s kind of tragic really, if you push people away that are actually safe for you.
Anyhow, I’m being long-winded again. Point is, I will take my punches when I deserve them. When I get too complicated or too drama-ish, I will look inside and adjust myself as necessary. But when I am absolutely not being any of those things, and it is probably being projected on me, I know the difference now. I don’t take those punches or accusations when I don’t deserve them. And I will pull away from interactions that are toxic. Even if they fall in that category of wanting to protect themselves, it is not my place to take punches that aren’t warranted.
One of Freud’s most famous sayings is, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Simplicity. It’s a good thing. And I will seek it out when the important things in life really are complicated and tearing at your heart. I may be slow to learn, but I think I’m heading in the right direction!