My Love/Hate Relationship With My Drama Queen Ways

Please note the "I'm having a breakdown" headband and mascara smudges on my hand...

I’m a drama queen.

There. I finally admitted it after dodging the label for years with the fury of a thousand young soldiers set to ward off Armageddon. As I admit this, I’m moved to gentle sobbing. Beautiful, pearl-shaped tears of joy are pouring from my eyes and falling gracefully onto my bust where they are not absorbed, but trickle down toward my lap where I will cradle them. Although I am crying tears that are reflective of my happiness, I am yet struggling with the honesty I have thrown out into the open. I feel as though I’ve ripped my clothes from my body and now I must run to the highest point in this city and threaten to jump if you don’t accept me and this horrendous burden which I’m forced to carry with me everyday.

I am a drama queen. Or so I’m told.

I’m the first to admit that I might be a little unstable, emotional, irrational, chaotic and even downright crazy, but honestly, I don’t think I’m anymore dramatic than any other woman I know in my life. Sure, I tend to do or say all the things that “rational” and “sane” people would only think, but I like to think that makes me more brazen and not necessarily a drama queen. Dramatic? Yes. Drama queen? Not really.

OK. So perhaps I am a drama queen. Sort of.

I cry every time I leave New York City. I cry when I return. I prefer movies and music that cause some sort of emotional breakdown, and my favorite books are real and angry and usually involve a drunken scuffle. Give me five minutes from now and I’ll probably be crying over something, not because I’m forcing myself but because I’m a cryer. Of course, one of those Sarah McLachlan “save the puppies now” commercials will come on, so I’ll be able to blame that. Although I guess drama queens pass blame so as not to have to deal with the reality that they are what they are. So if that’s the case…

I am a drama queen. Look up the word, and you’ll see my photo.

Sometimes I’m madly in love with my dramatic ways. Being moved too easily helps with creativity and blowing things out of proportion helps with storytelling. Everyone loves a good story. I attribute my flair for the dramatic to my French heritage, my equally dramatic father, my depression and my overall need to entertain myself and others. Although relatively shy at first, I do like to make a spectacle occasionally, as well as make an impression, either good or bad, that might last. Many an ex-boyfriend can attest to this fact — as can dozens of eggs and several cars that belonged to a handful of the aforementioned ex-boyfriends. I’m not saying it was nice what I did to Matt’s car, but it was a friend’s idea. I swear.

On the other hand, I loathe the drama queen in me. Do you know how exhausting it is to be overly irrational about everything? I don’t just have a cold, I’m dying. I’m not just tearing up, I’m sobbing into my pillow like a child who just lost its favorite toy forever. I don’t just love you, I want to kidnap you, shove you in my pocket and runaway with you so we can create a whole new breed of people call the “Awesome Ones.”

There are also all the phones I’ve had to replace because they’ve been thrown, the plates I don’t have because they’ve been conveniently “dropped,” his guitar I smashed the first time we said adieu, the hole in the wall because I was having a bad day and the endless love poems I have set ablaze in my kitchen sink in an attempt to rid myself of the torturing memories! Or something.

I’m not suggesting that I’m proud. I’m suggesting that I’m aware and while acknowledgement is the first step in any recovery process, I wouldn’t be me if I weren’t a drama queen.

I wouldn’t know what it’s like to walk out of a job I hate one afternoon after my boss belittled me for the last time. I wouldn’t have realized that when you kick a wall your foot actually gets stuck and when you fall it’s far from graceful or elegant. I wouldn’t understand the gorgeously human embarrassment and humility that comes with putting all your cards on the table. Nor would I have ever felt the freedom that comes with waking up in a foreign city because I had to run away to survive a broken heart.

While I wouldn’t trade any of that; any of my mistakes, my outspoken errors, my over-the-top biting tongue that perhaps unraveled and scalded a person or two, or any of my irrational sobs, I’m still stuck with guilt. I’m ashamed of things I’ve done, the selfish behavior I’ve exhibited in the name of self-preservation, but yet since every single fucking bit of it makes me who I am, I’m not going to apologize. It just is and it’s my cross to bear.

Besides, as the great F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: ”What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.” I already pointed out that everyone loves a good story.

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    • Liz G

      You sound exactly like my husband, with his impulsive charm and terrible temper and dramatic mistakes and trail of abandoned jobs and projects and relationships. It DOES make a great story. But now that he’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is on the appropriate medication, he feels much, much better. And contrary to his fears he is still a creative guy and a great storyteller. Just sayin’.

      • Amanda Chatel

        I tried to get the label of bipolar disorder, but none of my doctors or therapist would agree. I’ve been told I have a “sensitive shell.” I definitely suffer from depression and am on meds for that… maybe after a few more broken phones, their opinions will change.

    • Maggie

      Amanda, you are great. I’m totally similar, but rather than call myself a “drama queen” I just say that I’m very emotionally sensitive. I think what a lot of people (non-drama queens?) don’t understand is that for very emotional people, these reactions just happen. I don’t choose to bawl my eyes out when my friend gets dumped, it’s just my natural reaction (this also applies to sad/happy/scary movies, sappy greeting cards, etc.) because I feel so strongly in that particular situation. So yes, we are drama queens, and we should own that term with every emotional, over-the-top fiber in our bodies, because that’s who we are, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Hear hear! Cheers to us!

    • JK

      I prefer to be called Sarah Bernhardt (instead of drama queen). That was the nickname my parents gave to me as a young child. I guess my fits on the floor could have won me an oscar.

    • MR

      Hmm…drama? You mean as in when are we finally going to get the see your French nose? :) PS. Drama queen aside, sounds like you’re capable of loving someone tremendously, and any man would be lucky to have you.

      • Amanda Chatel

        After I get it fixed and un-Frenched, sure!

      • MR

        Really? You know my grandmother has one – she’s pure French-American. Looks fine to me. :)

      • MR

        PS. PS. She’s 96 years old, so you should be ‘brave’. :)

      • Amanda Chatel

        here… I took this especially for you a few minutes ago:

        https://twitter.com/#!/angrychatel/status/168111859851988992

      • MR

        You got me out of bed early this morning to see if you responded to my plea. My girlfriend thinks something is going on. :) It’s a nice nose, and you’re right it is very French.

      • Amanda Chatel

        I’m glad you think it’s nice! However, it is temporary. I promise you.

    • Rosie

      I love this. It’s so nice to see someone being so honest about their true self! Most of the crazy women I know would never admit to being crazy…therefore in my mind they are even more insane!

    • erin

      amo il tuo nasino! (i would say it in french, but i don’t know how.) thanks for sharing, amanda.