It’s Okay: To Be Loud, Emotional and Dramatic
In It’s Okay, we defend our most embarrassing, unpopular opinions.
Stifling yourself feels like mummification. You erase an essay-length e-mail about your hurt, because it makes you look weak. You delete self-portraits you spent hours taking, and effusive, self-affirming captions you spent fine-tuning again and again, because it seems too indulgent. You find yourself shooting rapid, hyper-excited and giddy texts about a romantic prospect to your friends, but delete them immediately after, because you know they’ll call you dramatic and tell you to bring your expectations down. Reason may be on your side or theirs, but each time you shush yourself, you feel like your organs are tightly strapped together and slowly being wrapped in a neutral white cloth. You’re suffocating.
In an alternate universe, the idea of wrapping yourself up feels dishonest, and excessive self-control feels like self-sabotage. You send your emails and texts and post your photos and speak the truth about yourself. You cry, your voice quavers, you rejoice, you live without fear of what other people think about a harmless aspect of your personality. You are larger than life — dramatic, fascinating, vulnerable, confident and more. But none of these labels concern you because you are just yourself.
Back (unfortunately) in the real world, people stifle themselves to protect themselves. Fear of judgment is a cross we all bear as a side-effect of existing in herds. It is a way to keep people in line and make sure they do not commit actions that are harmful to peaceful co-existence. Over time, this evolved into arbitrary means to control social interaction and wield power. In this case, a lack of vulnerability and an excess of neutrality are seen as socially desirable. Because the less judgment one can pass about you, the safer you are from social sanctions. If you stifle yourself, you are not a ‘drama queen’ or over-emotional or annoying.
If you think about it, the lengths we often traverse to protect our egos are almost laughable. If your lifelong quest is to only protect the personal identity you create for social acceptance, that sounds dystopic and straight-up distasteful. Especially if it means you must stifle your loudness, your rage, your joy, your need to express yourself the way you want — all because you want some guy from a dating app to think you’re not an embarrassment.
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Using words like ‘drama queen’ or ‘crazy’ often have a gendered connotation because of how society defines masculine and feminine modes of communication. “Men grow up in a world in which a conversation is often a contest, either to achieve the upper hand or to prevent other people from pushing them around,” Deborah Tannen, a linguistics expert, told the Washington Post. “For women, however, talking is often a way to exchange confirmation and support.” Vulnerability is seen as ‘feminine’ and therefore a trifling matter, which is easily shut down by calling someone a drama queen. This makes the vulnerable individual feel like they’re behaving in a silly, stereotypical manner, and that their feelings do not deserve value or introspection.
But the vulnerable, dramatic person is not silly. Instead, they reject the ‘silly’ deceit of egotism and reveal themselves for the world to see, regardless of judgment. Call it a tired analogy, but Kareena Kapoor’s Geet from Jab We Met never apologized for both her vulnerability and her joyful, dramatic personality. This is because she didn’t need to — the people who recognized her value stayed a part of her life and fell in love with her. Those who didn’t were escorted out of her life, in Geet’s own unique, dramatic manner that we all came to love her for.
Imagine a world where nobody gushed, nobody cried over little things, nobody had the strength to confront those who hurt them. A world with no laughing, crying joyous drunk girls in bathrooms. A world with cold, icy rationality and nothing to balance it out. Sounds like a world nobody wants to live in. Your vulnerability and your emotions are important. Don’t ever believe the contrary.
You’ll be alright.