(December 30, 2011) – Over the years I have experienced very profound moments (at least for me) when I began to question everything in life, including the people I spend my time with and the things I let consume my every waking moment. (As a hypochondriac, I do believe I have a touch of OCD).
I suspect many people are like me in that we all must face life’s transitions and figure out ways to move forward. But I could be wrong. The older I get, the more I recognize and accept that while I may appear to be pretty conventional and honestly, pretty boring, I am actually much more eccentric than appearances reveal.
I know this because I have shocked quite a few edgy people with my impulsive, reckless, but always harmless impulses. I just like to have fun. And I am just enough of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type that I am not restrained by notions of what is normal, because truthfully, I have no idea what normal is – but believe me, I wish I did because I would love nothing more than to be normal.
I say that because I sometimes see those bumper stickers in New York that say “Why Be Normal?’ I can think of thousands of reasons that this is desirable. But people who are relatively normal never seem to get that. Oh well. The grass is always greener, I suppose.
My compass says that anything is on the table as long as it does not hurt other people. Unfortunately I am more than slightly less protective of myself. But I do like me. I get me. And I never do anything to intentionally harm myself in any way. Still I am careless at times and sometimes accidentally hurt myself. I suppose everybody does.
I mention this because I am seeing so much ugliness around me that I am beginning to wonder if my sudden interest in blogging about the Housewives is helping me see life differently. I am now, and for decades have been, the happiest person I know. But – and yes, there is always a “but” following strange statements like that – I really don’t get why bloggers hate certain housewives or why they enjoy being snarky about them. On a very fundamental level that seems so strange to me. It’s almost like these shows give some the freedom to participate in an Orwellian hate session. That scares me.
As much as I am not in love with Taylor Armstrong, Jill Zarin, Shereé Whitfield or anyone else we see on these Bravo shows, I do not hate any one of them. I think that what they do and how they behave is, at times, deplorable but I have never hated any of them. And I am disturbed to learn that others do. And I think that my interest in reading what other bloggers think about the ladies of Bravo has lead me to see the world as a scary place. And I worry that thinking about our scary world has made me anxious and troubled about what may happen next. And I don’t like feeling that way.
I worry that I sound paranoid, but I shouldn’t worry about that. I am paranoid. I know and accept that about myself. Your knowing that I am nervous by nature doesn’t really trouble me. I know who I am and I accept myself because I truly like and get me. I guess I just don’t want you to think I am being paranoid in this instance because I know I am not.
These housewives and the people who talk about and blog about them (including myself) can be a rough crowd at times. We are too quick to judge complete strangers who are heavily edited for our entertainment. We are too harsh in our observations. And the people who can be most harmed by what we write and what we say are the people who write and read these blogs, including the Housewives themselves.
I’ve said this so often that I am beginning to think I sound like a broken record, but I must say this one more time. Observing and commenting on the lives of people on Reality TV shows can be dangerous to the observer and commenter. I believe this in my soul after reading Dr. Drew’s book The Mirror Effect. In it he said that the only way to protect yourself from the narcissistic rage you can literally catch from watching spectacle-making narcissists is to view everything they say and do with empathy.
I have really tried to always remember these are actually real people who make mistakes just like I do every single day. I have tried to write each of my observations about people like Taylor and Teresa Giudice with as much kindness as I can muster. For the most part I am proud of how successful I have been in expressing empathy for the housewives, but I also recognize I have failed on more than five occasions and I really regret that. Still I try to offer my observations with kindness and I forgive myself for forgetting to do that in every post, as I did when I gave myself whiplash changing my mind incessantly while discussing Teresa’s ridiculous rivalry with Melissa Gorga. They’ve both behaved abysmally at times. Taking sides was just silly on my part.
Okay so why am I mentioning any of this? Well first, we’re on a hiatus from both the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Beverly Hills so I really don’t have anything to write about right now. But the real reason is that I wonder if focusing on these jacked up ladies of Bravo has changed the way I see the world. I wonder if by watching, writing and reading about them I have discovered a negative world view.
I question this because there are a whole lotta nasty bloggers out there who say truly horrendous things about the Housewives and even to their readers/commenters. I am literally stunned to read scathing responses some bloggers offer to the nice people who take the time to read a post and then either ask a question or make a comment. I am tempted to name names, but I think I’ll restrain myself because I am not here to embarrass anyone or call anyone out on truly negative behavior.
I am here to sort out in my own mind how someone who once seemed like a kind blogger is now suddenly a monster who is regularly scolding his/her readers. It just seems so odd. And yet, here I am now, semi-scolding those bloggers.
Is there something about this Housewives subject matter than makes people go bananas and act like complete nuts? Truthfully I think there is.
Not long ago I had my own temper tantrum on this very blog because I did not like the things someone I know was saying here. I justified the temper tantrum in my own head as that person had entered my private space and tried to use it to further her own agenda, a character assassination of me that began long before this blog was even started. And believe me, I am right about that. But was a full-on temper tantrum really the best way to handle it? I sincerely doubt it was. And I worry that the Housewives’ histrionics inspired me to ape their behavior, almost like a little kid who picks up bad habits from someone else. I cannot say for sure that is true, but I wonder.
As a result, I’ve been thinking about photosynthesis quite a bit lately. That is something that has always fascinated me – not from a scientific perspective. Not at all. Science is for far smarter people than I am. I always think about it as a metaphor for how I live my life. I think that in order to be happy I must grow toward the light, toward what is good and truthful.
I first had this idea back when I was 33 and had a truly disturbing experience at the home of a childhood friend who had gathered together her brother and his wife and a few of their friends after her mother died. The conversation that ensued there was truly disturbing and it literally scared me to death to the point where I changed every last thing about myself, from who I hung around with, to how I spent my time, to what I ate, to pretty much everything. And all of those were very good changes that transformed my life for the better in ways I cannot begin to detail here.
Before I go on and on endlessly (as is my nature) I’ll cut to the chase now before I lose you. I have no idea why things have changed for me since I began to realize how dangerous these Housewives shows can be if you carelessly discuss them. I have no idea if my sudden interest in God is responsible for my change in heart about life in general.
All I know for sure is that out of nowhere all day long I am stumbling on true greatness that has given me much needed balance against these nutty Housewives shows. And I want to share them with you because they have helped me find happiness again because my decision to go toward the light has lead me to discover:
- two delightfully adorable little English girls who give me true joy
- one wildly successful tech genius who changed the world
- and the neon work of Tracey Emin, a wildly fascinating visual artist who deserves true fame, true financial success and a world of good wishes for making a confused blogger like me walk away from the lives of narcissists long enough to think about true beauty.
About the Author (Author Profile)
I am a New York City publicist who specializes in promoting luxury products and experiences and occasionally moonlight as a journalist.
Relatively new to the world of blogging, I have watched and enjoyed Bravo’s Housewives shows since the first season of the Real Housewives of Orange County. I created this blog over the 4th of July holiday of 2011 because I enjoy writing and love to figure out how to blend images and words to create something that is both visually compelling and interesting to read.