I was very involved with drama in high school. My family started a Home School drama group when I was 13ish, and they still put on productions in the spring every year. We did melodramas, which are those crazy plays with a villain and a hero, where the audience in encouraged to boo and cheer and interact with the actors. I preferred playing the villain.


I’d dye my hair black, which usually ended up leaving me with a purple scalp. This was not my only adventure with hair dye (but that's another story).

Anyway, one semester of drama was simply not enough drama for my family, so my older brother started a children’s drama group, which I helped him with until he went to college, then I took over. This was the kind of project I liked - painting set, telling people my opinion, working out costumes and all the 101 little details that went along with it.

Once while I was getting close to performance, I was juggling all of these things, and doing school work, and doing speech class, I had a conversation with my mom - I was unloading the dishwasher at the time - and she said

or something like that. She probably remembers better than I do, but it was one of those defining moments, where someone says something about you that becomes part of who you are- at least temporarily. I felt really good.

Words have power, and I have many of these moments that kind of defined who I was at the time, and affected how I saw myself.

I remember when my dad told me:

Understand that my Dad's not like a lot of dads, all gruff and taciturn and forbidding. He says stuff like that, and I thought that was awesome.

Of course, those defining sentences can be negative. I remember when someone told me that I was WAYY TOO EXCITED about a video game I was getting.

And those kind of defining sentences can be tough, because shame would descend on my life like wet, heavy, depressing slushy snow.

…but shame can’t drive my life for very long, because if I spend too long under the thumb of shame, I end up looking like this:

 

So eventually I shuck off the negative defining sentences like a pair of jeans that’s soaked and covered in slushy snow, and get on with my life.

And I still get REALLY REALLY EXCITED about games. Ask my wife.