WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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all the world's a stage

If you read last week’s post in the midst of the political shockers, you know I’m worried about the post office.  I’m concerned about drama, too. 

Dictionaries mostly refer to drama in its artistic context.  Drama’s newer, slangy usage only shows up in lesser definitions.  Despite lexicographers’ opinions, today drama refers to something besides literature and theater, and, in this new context, it’s a drag.

In third grade my daughter got ugly, anonymous notes for a full week.  When she told her teacher, he responded, “Ugh.  Girl drama.”  Now a sixth-grader, this same daughter told me a certain friend “is like, you know, totally into drama and stuff.” “Ooh, a thespian!”  I responded.  She rolled her eyes. “No, she, like, totally likes boys.  She just, like, makes a big deal of stuff.”  When sharing a fascinating self-analysis, a friend interrupted me. (Just at the good part, I might add.) She tsk-tsked, “I don’t do drama.”  You get the point – drama has a bad wrap.

Labeling others’ experiences as drama gives the illusion we don’t have our own theatrics.  But we all do drama.  It comes free with our membership in the world.  Every single day we get contrasts, conflicts, comedy, tragedy, and spectacle, and we respond in the best ways we know how.  We shouldn’t be discounted for that; in true dramatic fashion, we should be applauded. 

So, to the teacher who called my daughter’s predicament girl drama: “It is drama.  A cast of children acted like they didn’t know rejection’s pain and kindness’ power.  My child was that scene’s victim.  She might have played the villain in the next.  Do something about meanness when you see it.”

To my daughter about her friend:  “You’re both into drama.  You’re playing roles and studying characters as you negotiate the wild, mercurial world of teenage social politics.  Give yourselves a break and do something silly.” 

To my friend:  “You do drama and you have every right and reason to do it.  You’re working hard to be your best, most authentic self.  That means auditioning different roles and finding new stages.  Just say you’re over my analysis.”  Now excuse me.  I’m going to make a scene.

 

 

Whitney Cain