Saturday, September 25, 2010

So Not The Drama

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
William Shakespeare 

Save the drama fo' yo'  mama, Willie.  Or your boyfriend, co-workers, friends etc.  Even your postman.  I knew my drama was about to hit the fan when I saw our postman this morning.  I had woken up feeling melancholy and a little purposeless. Ever since I came home from Japan I've been busy...really busy. Unfortunately, it hasn't been for a job.  I'm still looking but in the meantime, I've been writing,  cooking, cleaning, babysitting, trying to sell my house, trying to find my next adventure  and feeling really distant from it all. And this morning, I met the postman, who was incredibly cheerful even at 9:30 in the morning and in his words, feeling "blessed". So why was my first thought, "Why is  he so happy? There must be something wrong with him"  Or with me.
While babysitting an extremely cheerful child this week, I was stressed out, tired.. and happy. Because I had a purpose. My job was to ensure that this beautiful child was happy, cared for, learning, and growing (and eating...a lot). All week long she giggled and smiled and I teased her, saying what are you so happy for?  But the thing is, babies don't need a reason to be happy. They just are- the reasons come later.  They also don't need a reason to be unhappy- they just are..but then they get over it. Really quickly-especially if there are cookies.  All week I've been thinking about drama. How people create drama to make life more interesting, themselves more interesting- like we all need to be the over -emoting stars of telenovelas or life won't mean anything.  In Japan, I didn't have to have drama- I was in Japan. Everything I did had that as its suffix. So I was terrified of humongous spiders in my tiny apartment. I was terrified... in Japan. So I was just going to the store for bread. I was buying Japan.  It was a running joke among our neo ex-pat community. Everything sounds better over there.  The grass is always greener and all that. So now that I'm home, in a great city, that people wait their whole lives to move to, why do I want to get out...again?  Because I need drama.  Or maybe just purpose. Kurt Vonnegut explains it this way.
People have been hearing fantastic stories since time began. 
The problem is, they think life is supposed to be like the stories.” 
Check out the full lecture here at  (With graphs and everything!)
People like drama because we've been conditioned to believe that's how life works. There are highs and lows and every story has a satisfying conclusion.  But real life has very few real highs, though I won't quibble about the lows. They're out there- believe me.  We believe that every person has the right to true love, to wealth, to adventure, and contentment. We turn relationships into talk shows, our money woes into excuses, our boredom into blame. We idolize celebrities, we stalk personalities and we polarize issues at the ballot box.  We not only feel like life owes us something, we want to be larger than life altogether. Inside every delivery man and waitress , the so-called "little man", is a diva waiting to emerge like some gross, obnoxious, overbearing butterfly.  Enough. I don't want to be melancholy. I don't want to invent reasons why my life is the way it is. I do want purpose, but that's on me to create, wherever I am.  I don't know if a new town, or new job will give me the life I want. I don't know that staying where I am would be so bad. While I'm worried about the future, I'm still glad I have the time to think about it and where it's going.  Life isn't a drama or a crap shoot. It doesn't have to be over the top to have meaning. I am where I am right now and right now things are okay. So I'm gonna take an example from my mailman and a little kid and take a deep breath- laugh at nothing and everything... and just chill. Be blessed in the here and now. And save the emoting, the whining, the pathos and tragedy for the professionals on stage. Real life is happening right now-  get out there and enjoy it. Drama queens need not apply.

~ To see your drama clearly is to be liberated from it. ~
    Ken Keyes

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Ok, You're Ok...Aren't We???

     Maintaining relationships takes a lot of...well, maintenance.  And the question is always whether or not it's worth it.  Let's be honest. The relationships a lot of us have in our lives are not ones we have chosen. Or at least not directly.  If you decide to take a job, you have to have a relationship with your boss and co-workers. If you go to any group; church, sport, book club, whatever- you create, instantaneously, relationships with those folks that you've joined.  Even when you shop, move house or travel- you're creating relationships, albeit maybe not eternal ones.  And all relationships come with responsibilities, which we can fulfill or not.  The hardest thing is deciding whether or not to fulfill those responsibilities.  Say you're at the grocery, buying more wine (or you know, whatever)- for a brief moment, you make eye contact with the cashier and chit chat ("Can I use my VIC card for this?" Oh, sure. Like you've never tried to use Greenbax stamps or card rewards on wine...or cake..or whatever.  Look, don't judge me.)  For one brief moment, you are forced to acknowledge another person as a human being... or you do if you're a good person. (And yes, this time I'm judging you.)  But sometimes we don't acknowledge people- not the grocer, not our co-worker, not a good friend, not that person we wanted to be a good friend. Because sometimes we just can't decide if it's worth it.  Let me explain- being aware of other people is hard. It's hard because, in the main, we are selfish, egotistical, narcissistic people, people! ( could just be me...but no, I think it's you guys too.)  We also happen to be loving, faithful, extremely sensitive people who don't want to be hurt and can be hurt by the most ridiculous of causes.  The cut direct can be a simple as not receiving a phone call,  an email or not having someone show up on time, but it still hurts. And therein lies the dilemma, the hedgehog's dilemma, to be exact. To summarize, it basically states that people are like hedgehogs (I can totally understand this simile.  People really are like small, prickly mammals who forage)  who want to come together to share warmth. But once the hedgehogs are huddled (nice alliteration, huh?) they can't help but prick each other with their quills. So, while they may want to be close, some hedgehogs (I mean people) may ultimately feel that the  more loving act is to stay away from other hedgehogs to prevent hurting them...and themselves. It is both intrinsically introverted and loving- because loving people don't want to cause pain in anyone, including themselves.  So are you a hedgehog or aren't you?
Well, at heart we all are- only we have it a little more difficult- both because some relationships are involuntary and because some are worth it- but only by our own estimation.  If you've been having to think and re-think some relationships recently , maybe it's time to take a point from the hedgehog and figure out, how much pain are you willing to put up with, to be in the relationships you're in?  How willing are you to deal with the fall out if you decide they're not worth it?  Yelling at your boss equals both the possibility of being fired...and never having to kowtow again.  Standing up to your family equals maybe being written out of dad's will...or maybe gaining his respect.  Standing up to pushy friends may mean having to find new ones or deciding that the old ones other qualities are worth keeping quiet.  Sometimes it means making that phone call or sending that text or email that says either I'm still really interested in getting to know you or asking the hard question -why are we still together?  Not every relationship is meant to last forever, but they're all meant to have an impact.  Do you curl up in a little ball when it comes to relationships or are you willing to stick it out and work for the intangible rewards good relationships can bring, and the freedom that comes with ending negative ones?  In the end, you've got to love the ones you're with, so make the right choices. Then--- get to work on being loving and loved.  (Now, if you'll excuse me...I've got some calls and emails to make.)

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  
Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, 
and we are never, ever the same.  
~Flavia Weedn,Forever, ©


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Copyright Statement