Sunday, April 18, 2010

Other People's Drama

I pride myself on being where drama goes to die.  I have surrounded myself with people in my life with whom I feel comfortable addressing problems directly rather than feeling the need to ignore their failings lest the friendship suffer, or worse, discussing the issues I have with them with other people at length and letting things fester.  This would make me, as one of my roommates in college put it, "a mean bitch."  You either like the people you spend time with, or you don't and if you don't, why spend time with them?

This is a great plan, but it has a flaw.  I am not an island.  My life invovles other people, as it should, and where there are other people, there are personalities, and life events, and yes, even flaws.  Flaws that aren't ignorable, but are part of them what makes them who they are.  Not to mention the fact that I am well aware that not everyone has the same ideas that I do about facing interpersonal conflicts head-on.  And so, with those people come their drama.

I named this post "Other People's Drama" because many times their conflicts and problems don't directly concern me.  A friend is losing their job, or breaking up with their spouse (who is not another friend of mine), or having issues with their children's school.  These are big issues, and hard issues, and I can listen to them, and cry with my friends, or tell them to get their head out of their ass, whatever they need. 

Then there's the drama in which I am indirectly involved.  My friend breaks up with her boyfriend and he becomes my roommate.  Another friend cheats on her husband with someone I'm seeing.  These are serious issues, and while I did nothing to cause them, they still affect me.  These are rough, because they involve people who are intrisic and central to my life.  And for the most part, this is the kind of  "Other People's Drama" I have to deal with. 

The hard part, though, is when I've hurt someone.  And the hardest part is when I've hurt someone without realizing it or meaning to, and sometimes just by existing.  Because what do you do?  The "wrong place/wrong time" for someone else is the absolute "right place/right time" for me.  I don't mean to get a promotion, a spot on an album or a lover over someone else, but I do.  By virtue of those things happening to me, it means it doesn't happen to someone else, or maybe even changes someone else's life.

We are often not given to know the cost of our happiness until it's too late to alter course.  And while my conscience might chaff at getting joy out of something that brings pain to others, who am I to question the gifts of fate?  I suppose in the end, I have to do the best with what I'm given in life and hope it's good enough, and try to minimize the damage my happiness causes to others.  I want the world to be happy, but I know that the only happiness I can truly control is my own.

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