Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines “reality” as a real event, entity or state of affairs. So if I am experiencing a real event, how did my actual state of affairs translate into an entity on television showcasing someone else’s life? How did the oxymoron “reality television” infiltrate our lives? Did we let our state of affairs lapse into a state of unconsciousness?
Every month a new dose of reality comes into our awareness and robs us of another valuable hour of time, precious time that should be used for creating our own reality. But I must confess, at times I too am drawn in by the illusion.
There are two types of programs that assist in developing my reality. I love those house hunting/home improvement programs and the wedding/bridal planning shows. Perhaps the first one is appealing to me because I have recently purchased my first house and the second one peaks my interest because I purchased my first house alone as a single individual. You see, I find myself challenging a belief that a house isn’t a home unless a loving couple resides there. Fortunately, the belief is changing with every monthly mortgage payment.
But I must say the bridal shows throw me a curve. One show permits the bride to exhibit atrocious behavior while her friends and family act as if this is a typical character trait for her. Another show flaunts opulence by displaying the line item costs for a million dollar wedding.
My favorite segment in that one is when the bride opts to purchase a designer gown that is the same price as a minimum wage workers annual salary, simply because she cried when she saw herself in full bridal regalia in the mirror for the first time.
One day as I watched a favorite episode for the 12th time, an epiphany disconnected my focus and a flood of questions commanded my attention. Why wasn’t I spending my time working toward one of the goals on my list?
Was striving for a goal so tiresome that I had to have a respite period between achievements? Were these non-reality television shows providing a decompressing resting depot for me until I was motivated again?
In that pivotal moment, I turned the television off and immediately went to sit on my front porch. I’m glad I did because it was an absolutely gorgeous day. I heard the children’s laughter as they played a rousing game of kickball and met several new neighbors with whom I exchanged telephone numbers and shared in vows to assist when needed or to watch over the homes when each one was away.
I had a sense of connection with my new-found community. And the best part was I didn’t have to sit idly by and listen to conversations that I couldn’t participate in; I was totally engaged in human interaction. It made me fill so vibrant and alive! And that is exactly the missing piece that removes the real sense from the so called reality phenomenon.
Now I won’t tell you that I am totally cured and void of my favorite non-reality shows, but I will tell you that I have limited the amount of holding power they have over me.
The conscious choice to do so has certainly enhanced the richness of my life. I am more focused on staying in the moment of my state of affairs and guarding them like a pack of pit bulls.
I use my mind to do more constructive activities such as decorating, writing, reading or checking on a neighbor, instead of drilling it on what TV show is on that particular night.
I feel like a prisoner who found the key when the warden’s back was turned. I’ve found a new freedom and I won’t give it back.
I’m sharing a poem to celebrate my release:
I cannot participate; I can only sit and wait
I can’t suggest a thing to you, not even when the show is through
Yet I invite you in for every night to see if you will start a fight
or buy a house or make a date or win the money or just procrastinate
How can this be my reality when I don’t know you and you don’t know me
Then you tell me what not to wear, when I am here and you are there
I’ll take a minute to deeply breathe and that will end your hold on me
Then I’ll realize you only exist if I permit your plot to twist
You’ve lost your grip, I’ve loosened your rope, you’re sinking fast, there’s no more hope
The ballots are counted, there’s no more vote, you’re outta here baby, as soon as I find that remote!
“TV Necklace” B Magazine’s B Blog
Jaimie Perla, 30 was on a bridal reality show WEtv’s “Platinum Weddings.” Photo by Infinity Photography Inc.
“On the Set” House Crashes by Slice