I am a drama queen in the truest sense of the word. On the surface, I am a mild-mannered and clean-cut gentleman with a sweet smile and pleasant demeanor. However, this seamless package only works to cover the demented Joan Crawfordesque beast within.
I have been known to approach life with all the severity of a doomsday prophet. Confrontations with the human race can become badly acted melodramas of the sort that not even the Women’s Television Network would see fit to air. It was my inner drama queen that lifted her defeated hands into the air and said, “No more. I cannot possibly live like this any longer. Goodbye cruel world.”
I know I can put a stop to the drama queen’s malevolent reign. I can step back from a volatile situation and give myself a good bitch-slap across the face, but I am not always successful. Perhaps I cultivated this persona from years of unsupervised late night television viewing. I came of age in the golden era of the primetime soap opera. Did I expose my impressionable mind to too much Joan Collins and Linda Gray? Instead of violent horror films and oversexed music videos, had the divas of prime time distorted my sense of reality?
Whatever it was that gave birth to my penchant for dramatics might never be discovered. Yet, if I am to fully come out of hiding, I will have to leave the Joans behind.
Before I became a mockery of the human condition and crept into my hole in the world, I experienced something that very well may have been that phenomena known as love. I accepted the emotional challenge of feeling love for another man with all the maturity of a second-grader. While I believe true love needs passion, an edge and an apocalyptic urgency, I may have taken that belief a little too far.
The Joan within bitch-slapped the rational component of my emotional intelligence and took me for one hell of a ride. I could not see my relationship with Stefan for what it was because I was busy creating my own warped ideal of what it should be.
Oh, the exquisite pain of a love unrequited! For shame, the bleeding heart weeps for the unattainable affections of his closest friend! How dare he not cower before the rising tide of my fervent adoration, nor swoon in the depths of my ecstatic heart song! Blah. Blah. Blah.
Of course I actually shared none of this with him. Nope. I like to keep my petty dramas all to myself. There is nothing wrong with feeling with such intensity. However, the moment you find yourself ripping out your hair for not getting what you want, it’s time to take a nice introspective step backwards.
Now that I have come out of seclusion, I have to make damn sure I make no regression back into drama queendom. Thus, I have devised a set of rules, reminders and practices to thwart the Joans within. The list below can apply to anyone willing to cast out their inner Susan Lucci and return the land of reason.
Nothing is worth making an ass of yourself.
Avoid using Gloria Swanson as a model for human behaviour.
Get to know people for who they are and not who you would like them to be. They are not supporting characters in the melodrama that is your life.
Keep reminding yourself it isn’t all about you.
Know that you are strong enough to handle any of the poop that life throws at you. It will be smelly, it will be wet and it will be bountiful.
Remember that life is not a stage and we are not actors. Sorry, Willy.
As I navigate my way through the unfamiliar shores of Vancouver gay society, I keep track of these simple guidelines. Drama queendom is a superfluous and defeatist state of mind. No longer able to afford more hair loss or wrinkles beneath my brow, I have resolved to take things easier.
Often the world outside appears custom-made for drama, so the process of de-Joaning myself is not a challenge I take lightly. God help the queen!