On loving a drama queen
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When I was young I liked silly, flighty boys. Especially those who were theatrical in their presentation of themselves.
Why? Perhaps they seemed to glitter because of the comparative dullness of the people I grew up among. One might speculate that given my preference for seeming invisible I was seeking my opposite. Most likely it was their empathic femininity.
Charles was a drama queen to his core. There wasn’t an annoyance or pleasure he couldn’t turn into an opera. When he was happy that made me smile. Though it could be exasperating his visible pleasure enriched my own.
But most of Charles’ private epics were tragic. At least in his mind.
The least irritation could prompt long, repetitive soliloquies. If a clerk didn’t seem conspicuously gratified by Charles’ banter he’d take it as a slap. No minor act of enmity was ever forgotten. Minor quarrels a decade dead were forever revived. Charles often acted as if the world lay awake at night conspiring against him.
From my Momma I gained the gift of letting an intimate’s anger mostly pass transparently thought me. But was the same old imagined interpersonal crime was revived for possibly the two hundredth time it began to feel hellish.
The continual pressure and friction was one of the things that eventually caused my romantic love for Charles to crumble.
I’ve sometimes suspected that the femme ways gay men were once more likely to adopt was born of a bit of gender confusion at discovering themselves sexually attracted to men. The drama was their armor against mockery.
It is a commonplace that drama queens are seeking attention. Fair enough. Charles certainly was at times. When he felt good he wanted the same keen sense of being the center of attention that he was when he was on the organ bench.
And, to use one of his favorite words, wanted validation: that his suffering was unfair.
His attention was always centered on himself. Perhaps his greatest weakness. Charles could never stop thinking about Charles: the qualities he disliked in himself, his least aches, success he’d lost. If it made him unhappy he couldn’t forget it.
One might divide the human race into those who can’t takes their eyes off the inner mirror and those who can manage to just get on with life, accepting the compromises and half measures.
Everybody seeks a bit of oblivion so they can turn away from themselves. Sex, literature, faith, liquor, music let some of us who talk to ourselves too much shut up for a bit. Charles chose drugs.
He might have survived if he’d been able to see life as the farce, or perhaps, black comedy it is. Melodramas are too draining.
Life isn’t worth living without irony.