Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sara and Melissa Talk About...Drama!

We've been running a column series (for three years now!) to get more personal with our readers. This month, we're talking about drama, which you can find in most novels these days. Just saying....

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them. 

Sara Steven:

Melissa and I often take turns when it comes to picking out a topic for our monthly blog post. I’m fairly certain I was the one who suggested we talk about drama for this month, and to be honest, I can’t remember why I’d come up with that topic, or where it had stemmed from. I must have been dealing with some drama of my own at the time–I know back then, I was either nearly estranged or just starting a new job after saying sayonara to the former one, a situation I still suffer a bit of PTSD from. It was a few short months before I couldn’t take it anymore and said “when,” for physical and mental reasons, but it felt like it was three long years within a very toxic environment. Even now, when I bring up that bitter past, my husband tells me, “They can’t hurt you anymore,” and pats my back in solidarity. 

So, maybe that’s the mood I’d been in when I suggested we talk about drama. I know ordinarily, I hate drama. I’m not the kind to want to sip the tea, gulp the tea, or spill the tea, respectively. I do well in low-stress situations, and that’s the vibe I try to hold onto in my life. I know we can’t always prevent the drama from seeping into our lives, but I do my best. 

It wasn’t always like that. In my youth, a large part of me thrived on it. Particularly during my teen years, when it seemed I’d been presented with situations that would thrust me right into the thick of some crazy and bizarre scenarios. A moment from prom just popped into my memory banks, or more so, the after prom–holding one of my close friends upright in the shower, while screaming at her to “say your A-B-C’s,” shoving copious amounts of Wonder bread into her mouth in an attempt to soak up the alcohol she’d consumed in mass quantities. But I guess that could be the dramatic story for a lot of people who’d gone to a party after prom. It seemed back then, particularly in the nineties, there weren't a lot of limits, and somehow despite our underage status, we had access to hardcore liquor. 

The drama continued through my early to mid-twenties, mostly due to the types of friendships I had. Dramatic people sought me out, maybe because I was often a pushover who just went along with what everyone else wanted me to do. It often meant putting myself into some really precarious situations, or at times, at the center of someone else’s relationship, making it easier to point a finger at me versus other people, or themselves. 

For several years, I was a self-professed “people collector". I had a tough time letting go of anyone I’d had a relationship with, even extending out to exes. But at some point, something snapped for me. Or, clicked. I realized I didn’t have to put up with other people’s drama. The self-professed people collector who could never let go of anyone, decided she’d had enough and wanted to put up some boundaries. It meant at times, having to let go of relationships that were not healthy for me. I thought it would be a really hard transition for me to make, but it felt good to walk away from the drama and chaos. Things felt so much simpler. I could focus more on what is important to me, like my family, or my hobbies, without feeling the guilt of shifting focus away from supporting someone else’s dramatic needs and wants. 

Drama can’t always be avoided, I get that. Scenarios like the one I’d experienced when I had the toxic job will pop up from time to time, because life can’t always remain stress-free and drama-free. Life would probably get a little stagnant if that were the case. But, knowing my limits, not to mention knowing where I stand when it comes to allowing drama a place at the table, means not leaving myself in bad situations for far too long. 

Melissa Amster:

When Sara chose this topic, I didn't really know what to write about. I thought maybe I'd talk about how having a pre-teen daughter is a whole new level of drama. My friend and I compare our daughters to Katie Ka-Boom from Animaniacs all the time. It's pretty much accurate. One moment, she'll be my best friend and the next moment she is screaming at me because she didn't have time to get her homework done and that's somehow my fault. Then I figured that what I just said summed it all up. If you have a  daughter who is approaching her pre-teen years, please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to commiserate with you. 

The other thing that I thought of from this topic was Degrassi. I spent half a year binge-watching Degrassi: The Next Generation during the pandemic. I was a fan of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High when I was growing up. Somehow, I missed The Next Generation (TNG) since it started in the early 2000s and I was in my mid-twenties by then. Anyway, there is a LOT of drama on every episode of TNG. I joke that the school is cursed because bad things happen to everyone all the time. No one is immune. I know the series is set up as a cautionary tale for teens, but watching it as an adult makes me thankful that my teens aren't getting themselves into all kinds of trouble. Here's just a "short" list of all the things that happen to the characters:

  • Teen pregnancy
  • Rape
  • Eating disorders
  • Cancer
  • School shooting
  • Death of classmates due to some horrible situations
  • Drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Parents getting divorced
  • Bullying (in person and online)
  • Getting catfished
  • Pervy teachers (I remember the first time that happened was with a teacher coming on to Lucy on DJH.)
  • Coming out as the only gay teen in the school
  • Self-harm
  • Being stalked
  • Being the parent to their parents 
  • Abortion
  • Suicide
  • Poverty
  • Gang violence
  • Running away from home
  • Getting robbed or mugged
I'm sure there were plenty of other things, but this list speaks volumes. Anytime someone got confronted, they would yell at the person confronting them to reveal what their difficult situation was. I still remember when Marco first told one of his friends (Spinner) that he was gay, but it was because Spinner kept harping on him for leaving a double date. Marco ended up yelling the truth about himself. I also remember Ellie yelling at Paige for confronting her about self-harming. 

Anyway, despite all these dramatic situations, TNG is an addictive binge-watch. I even got Sara into it and we have some inside jokes as a result. (Is that...Peter?!?)

Tell us about some drama going on in your life. We won't judge!

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