Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Don't Want to Be in Your Play Anymore

People who know me know that I love the theater. I've been an actress since I was old enough to stand in front of the television and mimic the singers, dancers, and actresses who caught my fancy on all of the variety shows and movie musicals that were so popular in the 1960s. I was in my first live stage production at the age of nine and by the time I started high school, I'd been a part of so many plays and musical productions that I couldn't count them all. I love drama and I always have--on the stage, that is.

Unfortunately I also grew up with a lot of drama that wasn't always played out on the stage. It was Shakespeare who said that "All the world's a stage and all men and women merely players...", and he was correct. We all have to deal with a certain amount of offstage drama, but that doesn't mean that we have to create it nor must we be willing participants in the drama that someone else creates. The problem is that when we grow up in the drama, it's all we know. We don't realize that we don't have to live with it or that it's even harmful to us not only emotionally and mentally, but physically as well. We literally become addicted to it like a drug, which in fact, it is a drug, or at least it causes a chemical reaction in our bodies and gives us a rush like a drug. The natural hormone that it creates and feeds on is adrenalin, also known as the "fight or flight" hormone, and it's that chemical rush that causes our addiction to drama.

It wasn't until a few years ago after I had a major gallbladder attack and I had to have my very sick gallbladder removed, that I learned that stress and/or "drama" is a major contributor to gallbladder disease. It
was then that I made the decision that when the surgeon cut the diseased organ out, I was going to excise the drama from my life at the same time. I literally said "no" to all the people--family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, people on Facebook, etc.-- who were addicted to drama and who not only created it, but who tried to suck me into it. Not only did I stop participating in other people's drama, I quit creating my own and sucking others in. At first it was hard. Like any addiction, you go through a period of withdrawal that literally leaves you feeling sick, empty, and bored, so to counteract the boredom and fill my life with something where the drama once was, I decided to write the book that I always wanted to write. After writing and publishing two books, I concentrated on losing the weight that the drama-induced stress caused. Pretty soon I found that not only did it get easier and easier to stay out of the drama, it also got easier to identify people who were addicted to drama and who were seeking to suck me into it. And once identified, it was easy for me to tell them that I didn't want to be a part of it and to go away.

Yes, I made a few enemies when I walked off their stages in the middle of a scene, but I actually found a whole lot more friends in the process--friends whose plays are much more fun to be in and who enjoy taking the stage and then standing back and giving the stage to me for a while. If life must be a theater, at least I have a choice of whose play I want to be in.


  1. WoW! It's terrific that you worked all that out and did something positive about it.

    I really should be as high, as a kite as my life is a perpetual drama. Hardly a week goes by without some (often trivial but still annoying) struggle or other! I truly wish I had documented it all as some form of proof!! lol

    I too have had major surgeries. I needed a rushed hysterectomy at 29 due to endometriosis, and pre-cancerous cells. It took around 4 years for an accurate diagnosis of that alone. I also was diagnosed with a kinked bowel and a really bad case of irritable bowel syndrome that has been with me all my adult years and so shall remain. Even yet, I still have to live my life around what my body and everyday living dictates for me. I would love to say tara to drama but the rotten bloody thing always seems to find me!

    I have to admit that it was music, as it yet the case, that sees me through my tougher times, even more than the present medicines I am forced to take

    . I hope I can choose a play or two sometime in the future, but I guess I'll always be standing there in the wings with dialogue and stage directions in my hand!

  2. Thanks for dropping by Helen. I still refer to myself as a recovering "dramaholic". I've been off the drama for the better part of four years now. :)