My first professional acting job after moving to New York City was on the ABC soap opera LOVING. Though it was not the work I really wanted to do it was a paying job in the industry and so I grabbed it. It was the beginning of consistent television work that helped support me while I tried my best to obtain more time on the stage.
I often joke that I worked in soap operas until I realized it was redundant. I seemed to thrive on drama in my younger years. If I couldn’t find any in which to insert myself I would create my own. I did not know at the time that it was the result of an internal chemical addiction. I needed the drama to get my fix. Stirring up some chaos rewarded me with the brain chemicals that had become a status quo. Though there were certainly periods of respite in between I could not go long before I needed another hit. And so, drama-making to the rescue.
I haven’t worked in soap operas for years now. I also have no desire to create or to participate in real life dramas either. I made it through the required withdrawal and now I quickly disengage when I sense drama-makers around me. Having lived there myself I can hold a space of compassion for sure. And I will not allow myself to become a character in anyone’s addictive story line.
As it truly is an addiction, people still in the throws can become very reactive and even hostile when I will not engage in the script they want me to read. I am truly okay with that. I have become quite accomplished at calmly walking away. It does not mean I do not care. In fact, I care so much that I will not collude in a story that will result in prolonged pain for those who play the parts.
I know deeply that the potential for every drama is resolution and even transformation. On the other side of the story is a hero’s welcome. But we must go through the withdrawal and come out the other side. We must bring a sustained presence to the storyline, and question what it is that is fueling the saga. When we truly get to the point that we prefer peace to drama then peace is right around the corner. I know. I found it.
I had enough drama to last a life time. Have you? Are you ready to take responsibility for what you are generating? Are you willing to withdraw from the chemical reward you get from keeping the stories going?
Have you had enough drama?