I actually do have an idea for a screenplay that I think could work. I don’t know how other writers get their ideas, but mine come from replaying conversations in my head, sifting through the details of someone’s life from what they’ve told me, consciously or subconsciously, and then expanding into fantasy.
Even before I called myself a writer, I was a dreamer. I couldn’t tell you what turns someone into a dreamer. Maybe it was that I was an only child for five years. Or that I couldn’t share how I felt out loud with anyone because of the negative consequences. Maybe it was that I was so unhappy that I needed to escape into my imagination.
I didn’t like the dreamy, creative, hippie types I met growing up. They seemed flakey and unhinged. And a little scary. You know the girls. They liked Heavenly Creatures and Ani DiFranco and slept around. My damage made me repressed. Their damage made them turn themselves inside out for attention. Two sides of the same coin.
I couldn’t understand them then. I think I understand them now. It’s weird how, in middle age, all they want is respectability and a cute tattoo to remind them of their wild child days. Meanwhile, the only time I put on my pearls is to play a character in a one minute drag video.
Someone recently accused me of a lot of things. That I’d been sexually abused, that I was basic, that I sought out the validation of men and I had borderline personality disorder. None of it’s true, of course. It doesn’t bother me that she said those things because they’re so far from the truth.
But, now that I think about it, I, at 41, live a lifestyle that looks like the Heavenly Creatures fairy girls. I can see how, looked through the lens of someone who really inhabits that damage, my Instagram account raises suspicions and gives people some license to fill in the blanks.
But without knowing me, they’re filling in the blanks all wrong. They’re filling them with their own personal experience when, really, it’s all just innocent make believe. It’s drag. It’s playing with makeup and listening to songs I love. I was doing the exact same thing at the age of eight with my Fischer-Price PXL-2000 camera and tape player, making videos in the living room to Weird Al songs.
By myself. No compromises. No judgment. Just a way to distract myself with hyper focus on something I love. Sometimes the videos take ten minutes from concept to execution to publishing. Sometimes it’s a couple of hours. But the whole time I’m engrossed and having fun. Innocent fun. Childlike fun.
I can’t control how others see me or my little projects. That was part of the lesson I had to learn in dealing with the damage of coming from a family where image was so important that everything became performative and the inside was hollow. Pretty moments captured on camera by a mother who was yelling threats and insults as she took them.
I don’t care what these things I do look like. They are representations of me and my being ok.
And going forward, I can be courageous about sharing because I know who I am and what my motivations are. Like this thing I wanna write. I think it could be a banger, if only because I’m finally putting my voice before my mother’s. And my ambition before her shame.
Let’s see what happens.