Humans are always embroiled in drama. Drama is a part of everyday life. It is what makes who we are. In school, the term “drama queen” had such a negative connotation, a term ascribed to females who indulged in interpersonal conflicts and complaints. Most of the time, the drama queen turned out to be a girl with too many “issues” or emotional instability.
But I don’t think drama should be defined by those who deliberately cause us anguish. Drama is also about caring for one another, reaching out to your loved ones, colleagues and other people in your personal network. Straddling two different cultures growing up in Canada – my internal world is Chinese, and my external world is Western, I am no stranger to family drama that would make no sense in the eyes of Westerners. Blood is thicker than water. Family means the whole world to those of us born into this culture. Gradually, I learned to see that family drama is often the result of somebody caring too much or somebody trying to bridge an emotional gap between different parties. Recently, I found myself inadvertently thrown into a political warfare within my family where two members caused divisions, not necessarily out of ill will but difficult circumstances neither of them was responsible for. They just saw the world differently. All of us began to question our allegiances. Can you believe this? Political alliances within a family? Sometimes, a selfless act by somebody trying to maintain a bond within a selfish family can turn into a point of contention. If there is a place for inspiration for your next novel, look no further than within your own family.
Drama can never be taken away from the human culture. It is a large part of who we are. It illustrates the complexities of human relationships. To be able to make sense of the drama in everyday life is also an indicator of emotional intelligence. To me, being an emotionally intelligent person is to see the world in all its fuzzy layers and be able to understand that not everybody thinks like you. Believe me, I am a work in progress. At my age, it is an awkward reckoning. Maybe my family has done a good job of shielding me from the storm. Or I have been simply MIA due to school and work. And trust me on this one: school does not prepare anyone for the drama that is waiting for you in the workplace, at home and just about everywhere outside of school.
I doubt that Shakespeare could have written Romeo & Julie without the background Montague-Capulet conflict if he had not been a keen observer of the world around him. He was a great observer of the human condition. Watching the drama play out in real life fires up imagination and creativity. Otherwise, we would be a bunch of soul-less automatons living in a world devoid of stories, plays, poetry or operas. In other words, there would be no art.