Histrionics

by Alexandru Ciobanu

I’m known to be a person with a certain flair for the dramatic. I try to deny it as much as I can and shrug it off as just blatant exaggeration for increased comic effect, but when you sit an entire afternoon discussing with your friends how the way you’re coming out to your parents is by inviting them to your wedding to another guy and yell “surprise!”, something is rather off. I actually took it so far that I started thinking whether E! or Bravo would finance it and make a wedding special on the struggles of a foreign gay youth being rejected on his wedding day by his Eastern European parents. Americans would eat that shit up.

This began during my adolescent years, I would say. I used to long for drama, for a feeling of excitement in my life. I was a very lonely teenager, but that was of my own fault. Once I made serious inquiries into my own sexuality and came to terms with being gay, I was suddenly different from the rest, I was more interesting, in my eyes. I assumed no one would really understand or accept me, so I began to detach myself emotionally from family and made very few friends. But I assumed wrong, because it wasn’t necessarily the case, I just very rarely allowed people the possibility. For instance, I had a crush on a classmate in high school, and I told him about me. He reacted very badly, as you’d expect, but he came around. He put his preconceived notions aside and genuinely tried to be my friend, just because I trusted him enough to tell him this. I didn’t want him to understand me, though, I wanted him to kiss me. I didn’t want anyone to understand me, to accept me, because that wouldn’t have worked with my martyr complex, so I pushed people away. I had friends in high school, of course, but I didn’t have any real connection with them, expect maybe with one or two. But then college came around, and I was a different person by then. I was adamant that I wouldn’t let being gay define me and now it doesn’t. I left those things behind. However, I’m no less dramatic. I channel it differently, perhaps.

I’m known to be a stressed out person. Actually, I’m something resembling a giant ball of stress. It is an unmistakable trait of mine, that I am very tense, that I stress out about much of what is going on in my life. These days, I think that is how the dramatic aspect of my personality comes out in full force. A certain part of me thinks it is because the stakes are simply not that high. For instance, there’s that examination period in university during which I am wreck. I am so stressed out all the time, I overdo it with the amount of coffee and cola I consume, and, in the end, the results are quite impressive. But to what cost? And what exactly would happen if I don’t stress? I would probably still get good grades, so the stakes wouldn’t be there if my body weren’t also destroyed in the process. This strange notion that “things are good” is very foreign to me. I seem to live in a general state of dissatisfaction, especially with myself, which simply undercuts my chances of actually living my life, and not merely observing on the sidelines. So I allow myself to be dramatic sometimes, since it reveals to myself that I can still get excited about life.

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