What I’ve Been Trying to Say

Please note: I’m a playwright. Read the following as if it were an epic monologue delivered at the climax of a drama or as if it was a rambling soliloquy of truth delivered by a Shakespearean fool who is wiser than you give them credit for rather than a well-thought-out thesis or immaculately edited blog. You get awesome bonus points if you actually do read it out loud in a funny accent. Thanks, DS

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When I was in college, I remember my professor said to me, “I think you’ll be a good writer because you have a lot to say.”

And I didn’t understand that at the time, but she could see something in me that I couldn’t. Over the years I have discovered that I do have a lot of opinions on things, but I have two soap boxes that are my particular favorites. And I’m going to share them with you today.

I think writers sometimes like to hoard their nuggets of knowledge. “Don’t just go throwing out your sage advice for nothing. Put it in a play or a novel or a poem. Make people seek out your truth. Make people pay for your truth. If you’re good at something, don’t do it for free.”

But if the past year has taught me anything, it’s that life is unpredictable and we could all get hit by a bus (or a second wave of some terrible disease) tomorrow. I don’t want my big truth to die with me. I want you to have it. You don’t have to buy a script of mine or go see a play or support me on Ko-fi (though you could if you wanted to).

Here it is. Here is everything that I have been trying to say in everything I write.

Truth one: You can do it.

Stop telling yourself that you can’t do it. You can do this. I don’t care what it is. As long as it doesn’t hurt people, go do it.

I spent so much time telling myself that I wasn’t smart enough or pretty enough or skinny enough or talented enough to do the things that I wanted, but when confronted with others who were, in fact, prettier, skinnier, or more talented than me, I saw that same immobilizing fear grip them. You begin to wonder if they aren’t good enough to do the thing, then maybe nobody is. And if nobody is good enough, then we all just die in a hole of unhappiness. I couldn’t live with that notion so I decided to do the thing.

And I fail. I fail fantastically. I fall on my face and I mess up and look stupid, but one way or another, I do the thing. Or I learn a very important lesson.

And that doesn’t mean you need to quit your job and move to New Zealand, but if you do, take me with you! Maybe start small. Tell that asshole at work that he’s being an asshole and you don’t appreciate his asshole antics. Tell that one woman at the grocery store that you like her shoes. Order the biggest stack of pancakes that IHOP has got. This all sounds very cheesy and Hallmark-esque, but it’s the little things that make up the big things.

Truth two: It is difficult to be a woman. And at this point, some of you are backing away from this post going, “Don’t make this a femnist thing, Deanna! We were having such a good time talking YOLO just now and then you have to go and make it all feminist-y. Stop it.”

No. I shan’t.

The fact of the matter is that there is a very narrow definition of what it means to be an attractive, successful woman, but a very broad definition of what it means to be an attractive, successful man. I love Billy Joel. I think that he is one of the greatest songwriters of any generation, but, even in his “heyday”, he was not an attractive man. The same could be said for Ed Sheeran: absurdly talented but not your standard idea of “handsome”. We don’t expect Mr. Joel or Mr. Sheeran to look like David Beckham or Henry Cavill because they don’t have to; their talent stands on its own. We do not extend this same courtesy to female singer/songwriters such as Missy Elliott or Adele; the conversation will almost always come back to how these two women look, how they have aged, etc.

And society has done a good job at teaching women that the people we need to fight in order to get ahead are other women.

“There can only be one Cinderella. All the other women at the ball must blend into the background. Only one Cinderella can win the heart of the prince.”

Wel, I’m here to tell you: fuck the prince. Forget him. There was once a time when maybe we needed him, ladies, but we don’t anymore. There was once a time where society didn’t let us make our own money or fortune or destiny, but we do not live in these medieval times any longer.

We don’t need them. We can want them. Of course. If you fall in love or even just like someone, that’s amazing. There are so many amazing people out in the world who genuinely want the best for you and are genuinely good humans. But choose them because they are genuinely good humans and not because they are male. Or because they are available at the same time you are available. Or because they call you pretty. Choose them because you want them. Not because you need them.

So, that’s it. Those are my truths. You never never need to read another one of my plays ever again because everything I’ve been trying to say is right here. Oh. Wait. Oh no. I’m living and gaining new experiences. Now I have new truths and new perceptions about the world. I’ll be right back. I must go write.

Buy my scripts here: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/deannastrasse

Playwright, wannabe vegan, critter enthusiast, INFP, Hufflepuff, intermediate crocheter, barista, auntie