Drama Queen is an essay I wrote while I was a volunteer with the Night Ministry. It was one of the first times I found my heart so touched by one of the youth I worked with, that I felt like I cared as much for him as I do my own family.
The essay was accepted by Ascent Aspirations magazines and is now available to read on their website. The full essay can be read by clicking on the link below. I hope you enjoy it. It still makes me tear up when I read it.
Drama Queen, that’s what they call him. Don’t encourage him. When he tells you his girlfriend died in his arms, don’t sympathize. When he tells you he was the right hand man of the Kings’ LA gang leader, or that he murdered thirteen people, don’t look shocked. He’s bi-polar, he’s twenty-one, he’s homeless and delusional. Change the subject, turn a deaf ear, keep him grounded.
Don’t see him as the ragged, head-shorn punk with black trench coat and dark glasses, or with white puckered lines of scars where he used to cut himself. See him the way he was that day you first met him, at the gate of Six Flags Great America, being asked to turn in the dog chain that hung from his belt loop. See him as part of the group of homeless youth being taken for an outing by a shelter from Chicago’s north side. He was skinny, really, even if he did strut around like he was hot stuff and brag about how he used to deal drugs and slept with about a hundred girls. He blew the little bit of money they gave him trying to win cheap, pathetic prizes and didn’t even seem to realize how lousy he played. He didn’t have a chance. He was a loser.
I remember the thought that went through my mind when he talked about how many stuffed animals he won for this girl he knew back on the east coast. I just smiled, sure I saw right through him. Just another bullshitter trying to convince us his life doesn’t suck.