I’ve always been a little on the dramatic side.
Unfortunately, that often has negative connotations when people mention it.
Instead of being recognized as creative and spirited, it’s often mentioned with an eye roll.
It’s too early to tell if Judah will be dramatic. But Levi? Oh, he’s dramatic!
Even now as a two-year-old the way he tells stories is absolutely hilarious. (And mind-boggling.) He acts them out using different voices and fake cries, fake laughter, hand and body motions. The whole bit.
In junior high I hurt myself playing crack the whip with some friends at a slumber party. I cried, and they teased me for “being dramatic”. I spent the next several hours on the couch until my friend’s mom noticed that I was burning up with a fever. Only then did they call my dad to come and take me to the emergency room.
I had fractured my arm. Go figure.
From that point on I tried to never cry when I was (physically) hurt. I wanted to make sure I never gave anyone a reason to think I might be “crying wolf”, so I tried not to cry at all.
“I’d show them,” I thought. “I may be skinny but I’m tougher than they think.”
Years later I was told that I probably couldn’t handle natural childbirth. I just “didn’t have the pain tolerance.”
Um, excuse me??
It’s a shame how we think we can judge and measure and set limitations on other people, based on what we perceive about their personality.
It’s an even bigger shame that we take on and internalize those judgements and measurements.
Now as an adult I’ve suffered many types of pain. Often I’ve not even shared my pain with anyone, for fear of appearing dramatic or weak or even just ungrateful.
But now as a grown-up with my own littles I’m trying to be very deliberate about how I speak around them.
Yes, Levi is dramatic and strong-willed and determined and independent (he’s so much like his mama), but I never want him to sense a negativity in my tone when I comment on those aspects of his personality.
Even though he’s decisive, he’s also very sensitive and very, very creative.
Believe me, it’s tempting to roll my eyes at his dramatics sometimes. But I hope – I really hope – that I’ll be able to nurture his creative and sensitive side (while also helping him to hone his strength and decisiveness) and help him feel comfortable being himself. Even when it does seem a little over-the-top to the rest of us.
After all, who are we to know what another person is really feeling inside? And who are we to know what they are really capable of?
People are much stronger, and much more fragile, than we often think.
Q for you: Have you been rolling your eyes at someone lately? If so, perhaps you need to rethink that.
Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.