Thursday, February 03, 2011

It's just so dramatic

I hate drama. I abhor it, can't stand it, loathe it. One of the reasons I have such disdain for reality TV is that it's all alliances and schemes and all sorts of drama. I used to have drama; I fed into it and I fed off of it. But one night (I remember it well) as I sat in my car with the windows rolled up to keep some chick from punching me in the face, the thought suddenly occurred to me; I'm too old for this shit. I was 19 at the time, but from that night forward, I had no patience for it. If my ex was calling me all the time and wouldn't stop, I didn't plead and beg him to leave me alone. I threatened to call the cops and after the very next call, I did. If a male friend's girlfriend got jealous and acted all bitchy to me, I just walked away and wished him luck. I didn't get up in her face and demand respect.

At a couple points in my life since then I've worried that I've taken my intolerance of drama too far and just shut out all emotion. Where is the line, I wondered. But I smile when my kids do cute things and I get upset when my husband is selfish, and I feel remorse when I am selfish. What I don't do is get wrapped up in my tween daughter's social life, or take differences of opinion as personal insults. And I'm basically proud of that.

But I am, at heart, shy and insecure. It is why I mutter, and it is also why, if called upon to be any kind of aggressive, I will be passive aggressive. I hate confrontation. If somebody says something stupid that pisses me off and I respond to it, they are just going to say even more stupid stuff and then I'll hear it and get more pissed and then I'll get mad at myself for caring what they said and it's not even worth it. Or maybe I do care what they think, and they have just offended me, am I going to want to get into a huge fight before waiting to see if the insult rolls off my back after a good night's sleep? Ahh, it's just too much trouble. I am better off muttering.

I bring this up because I am trapped, held against my will, in family drama. Maybe it's my fault. There seems to be within me some defect which doesn't allow for loyalty. If I like something I like it for actual reasons I have thought of in my head, not just because it is mine. My country, my high school, my family. I don't tend to like blindly following along with something just because fate plopped me down in the middle of it. I assume my family can see that and that they don't very much appreciate it. Whatever the reason, there is a small handful of family that I actually would choose to associate with, and the rest is collateral damage at holidays. Sadly, this leaves me out of the loop for the most part, so I don't hear much gossip and never seem to know what's going on. Apparently one of my cousins had a visit from DCFS a few months back and blames me for it. I told her I didn't do it, but then I never heard any more about it so I have no idea how it turned out. Did she ever find out who called them, did she get them off her back, are they still bothering her? I will probably never know because if I ever asked anyone, it would only look like I was the one who sicced them on her. Ugh. Drama!

I have another family member who is apparently (I hear it all third and fourth hand) going through some very rough times. I would love to reach out to her and let her know that I'm here for her, but I'm not sure I can. I wouldn't know how. And then I think, would I just be taking on her drama? Could I actually offer her any help, any advice she couldn't get a hundred other places? Does the fact that we are related and I can stand her actually earn me a pass into her life? And while I sit here pondering these heavy questions, I realize that it's all drama.

I'm a pretty cut and dried person. Either it's worth worrying about, or it isn't, or it is but it's none of my business. I'm not the kind of person to cry at the evening news. I'm not going to go to a candlelight vigil for someone I've never met. I am always shocked when I read that some kid got killed in a high profile case and 1000 people went to the funeral. Who goes to a stranger's funeral? I mean, that involves taking off work or arranging child care, all so you can go stress out relatives who are already grieving. Yes, I understand that the death was tragic, but do you need to overflow a church to let it be known that you are not heartless? Send a plant! But when it comes to family I'm never sure. And when friends try to lean on me for things, I always have to blurt it out. Do you want someone to just listen, someone to advise, or someone to be supportive no matter what? Because otherwise, I'll tell them I think they're being stupid. And friends don't always want to hear that, oddly enough.

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