[Family drama] The protagonist potential
by Guest Beanie
My grandmother wasn’t the best mother, or the best grandmother, but now and then we would find out details of her life that would indicate an interesting, tough, independent character that did not match well with her small town surroundings. Recently, my mother was pushed into divulging a story about a young, unfulfilled love that my grandmother experienced.
But first, the context: I live in a region where being born between two wars is a way of life. My grandmother was born just before a war that divided the country’s military and people into two factions, the Loyalists who were loyal to the official government, and the Rebels, who wanted a complete change of the regime.
My grandmother’s family at the time was large, and her father was one of five brothers. All of the brothers and their families supported the Rebels and fought of the Rebels’ side. In their small town, there was also a very prominent Loyalist family. On night, a member of the Loyalist family marked my grandmother’s home with an S on the door. The S stood for “to slaughter.” So my great-grandfather and his brothers went to their enemy’s nest and said: “There’s five of us. Someone is certain to survive any attack. And we will have our revenge.” Suffice to say that the threats, and eventually the war, ended.
Time passed and the children all grew up. In a twist of fate, my grandmother fell in love with the Loyalist’s son and their relationship was serious enough that they had planned to get married. However, due to their families’ opposition, they abandoned their plans. This is where their story becomes…murky. They both married other people, but they continued their relationship with each other. They had an on-off affair and they broke off their relationship several times before ending it completely. (Yeah, grandma was a cheater–deal!)
When my brother and I found out about that story, we called it a “soap opera,” but the announcement of this month’s theme got me thinking about what is a soap opera, what is a drama, what is life and where do we go from here. (Full-on existential crisis, let me tell you.)
Personally, I watch shows that are both geographically and thematically far removed from my life. I want new and amazing life stories, drama heroes and heroines that are daring and brazen. And my grandmother’s story got me thinking about what constitutes a drama hero(ine).
The Light in Your Eyes
To be a drama hero means to have enough guts to try out something new, to rebel against family expectations and the social order–to want more than what is offered. It is obvious that my grandmother and her beau failed miserably in that respect. Nothing was stopping them from running away to a new town and starting a new life together. Someone lacked the guts. So instead of a great love story, all we have is a cheat-fest full of disappointments. My grandmother’s love story came to light because the beau in question told the story to his granddaughter on his deathbed, so I’m just going to suppose that he was the coward and was left to regret the actions he hadn’t taken.
Most of us just lack the guts and are left wondering what could have been. If my grandmother had married her first love, maybe she would have been more content with her life, or she would have been more dedicated to her children. Maybe the sad love story from the past was just an excuse for her subsequent choices. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this story, it may be that we all have a chance at a fantastic life worthy of a drama.
The Light in Your Eyes
Tags: Theme of the Month