Reality TV: An experiment in narcissism gone terribly wrong

Flash back to 1992. Anyone remember season one of The Real World? Seven strangers picked to live in a house with no Jacuzzi and no fancy colorful furniture. The Real World. My introduction to Reality Television.  Let’s think of it as my gateway drug so to speak. In 1992, The Real World a low budget social experiment. Very low budget. In 2011, the Real World season 1 house is a crappy New York loft compared to the modern-day Real World house. This seasons cast would be stunned if they arrived at a house of that form (although it might actually be funny to watch the arrival of a new cast to a house with that decor). The cast mates did not look like your next Playboy bunny, or Men’s Health model. They were regular people on TV. Seven real people with real life problems.

Stars of the original reality tv show, colour
Image via Wikipedia

 

 

What happened to the concept of reality television. Over the years, reality TV has exploited the lives of  many, and narcissism is spreading faster than a California wildfire.

I admit, I once loved a good reality TV show.  I had a strange addiction (I do relapse at times) to watching other people’s lives, while my own was just passing me by. I wanted to be on the Real World, and live in a house with six strangers. I went to college I was used to living with strangers, I was ready to be made famous by MTV. Or maybe not.

 Nearly 20 years after season 1 of the Real World, now mostly every TV station has their own reality TV show. Reality fills up the programming of Bravo and E!. Who do I need to talk to about getting my own show over there? I am exciting to watch, right? The cameras can be on me right now as I type this blog. I can even drink a glass of wine while typing for added enjoyment.

The “reality” of reality television is that so many people are willing to do anything to grab a quick 15 minutes of fame. Once the cameras have stopped rolling, the next struggle is to actually stay relevant. Sorry reality TV stars, Americans have a short attention span, once your time is up, it is really up.  There are always more people available who want to take their place on television.

In similar fashion as video killed the radio star, reality television has killed the actor. Sorry real actors. Watching people yell, scream, and poor drinks on each other is a much more entertaining form of scripted television. What ever happened to the sitcom? Oh wait, they still do exist sometimes. From watching Real Housewives who aren’t really housewives, to Basketball Wives who have never been married to a basketball player (and most likely never will be), we have managed to take the time to care a great deal  about other people’s lives to see what drama they will bring us on a weekly basis. What would be on E! network if the Kardashian family never existed? Kim Kardashian’s wedding special is really a 2 part series. Really? Don’t we all know what happens in the end anyway. What could they possibly show for 4 hours? I wonder, maybe some good old-fashioned staged tears, and complaints about virtually nothing. People are watching. Okay you got me, I may even watch just to see what the big deal is.

Yet, reality TV did teach us a few life lessons, let’s see who was actually paying attention:

1. Virtually anyone can instantly have reality TV fame. An adventure filled life is not needed. If you have a lot of money, even better. Overdramatize every aspect of your life, and BOOM, you’re a star!

2. Talent is not a necessity to attract an audience. So all of you people looking for your hidden talents to become a star can now stop. Just come as you are and we will accept you.

3. A pretty face and a hot body (preferably one that has been enhanced by a plastic surgeon) can take you a long way in life. Or, at least to a second or third season. Substance is not needed. Again ask Kim, Kendra, or that Tila Tequila chick.

4. If your mom is super power-hungry for her own fame, even better for you! Anyone watch Toddlers and Tiaras? Mom’s start taking lessons from Kris Jenner immediately.

5. Love on television does exist, sometimes. If your can’t find love on the bachelor, maybe you will find it on the bachelor pad. Keep trying, reality TV love is out there for you. Okay maybe not love, but a real quick hook up and dramatic breakup for sure!

Advertisements

29 and counting part 2

 

Presently 6 months and 28 days away from 30!              

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Something happens as you get older.  Time starts to fade, and outsiders are suddenly more interested in your personal life than they really should be. Lately I have noticed that more and more people actually have expectations for where I should be in my life. Not career wise because they see that I love my job, and I am independent enough to support myself, but they have a strong interest in my love life. I don’t think I care as much about my own love life as other people do. Why do they care so much? Sometimes I wonder what is so wrong with their own life that they seem to take so much time caring about mine. Yeah, I do go against the grain. I have never been a normal chick anyway. I prefer to march to the beat of my own drum, that way I don’t have to adjust to a new beat when I hate the song anyway. I live my life my way, and it works for me.

In my pre-phase for 30, I already go into each week knowing that at least three people are going to ask me if I am married, do I have a boyfriend, or do I have kids. The follow-up question being, why not? With a comment of, “you are so pretty”.  I have been asked these questions so much that the answers no to all of them, and it just hasn’t happened,  roll off my tongue in the same manner as if someone were to ask me my first name.

As I get older societal expectations grow. Some days it can be overwhelming. In true form, I ignore them. Independence is an anomaly, and to be connected to something, or someone is a 30 something  must have.

I on the other hand look at the glass half full. News flash #1: It is not hard to get married. Believe it or not there are men who want to get married. So sure I could have been married by now.  Would I have been happy? Probably not. Marriage does not guarantee love or happiness. So where would that leave me, 7 months away from 30 and possibly on the road to my first divorce. Yeah, I’ll pass on that one. 30 and divorced does not sound like much fun.

The subject of kids. Yeah, I guess I want them one day. News flash #2, It is not hard to make a baby! So sure I could have had kids by now. My life plan just worked out a little bit differently.  I have more to learn about myself before kids enters the plan.  I love kids, but I also love returning them back to their parents after a few hours.

At 30 people may wonder more than ever when I will settle down, and adjust to what is expected of me. Not sure.  But, I know that I am just where I need to be in life and so life is good.

A daily reminder to myself,  in actuality I am happy where I am at. I went through a lot to get here, so why not enjoy the moment. Five years ago the thought of being able to watch a sunset in Waikiki was an impossible dream that would never happen. Today it is my reality. My life did not happen by accident, it comes with purpose.

A  good friend of mine always tells me not to allow someone to enter my life who is going to take away my happiness. If I allow myself to fall to the pressures of society before the time is right, the end result may be a sacrifice of my happiness. Today I choose to own my happy.

 

To be continued…

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

29 and counting….Part 1

I once heard someone say what is the point of being 29 if all you do is think about turning 30. I agree!

Presently I am 7 months and 10 days away from my 30th birthday. I have decided to document my journey through the dark cloud that encompasses the last days of my twenties. This is Part 1.

I am starting to think that being 29 is probably the worst age ever. I used to think being 15 was bad. At 15 all the talk was about turning 16. I had envisioned my life magically changing at 16. It didn’t. It was the same. Same school, same friends, same life, same me.

Now, I think being 29 is worse. I know better since I am older. I know my life will not magically change on my 30th birthday. It will be the same life. Of course, I will be the same person. Yet, why does it feel so scary when I think about turning 30? I never imagined what my life would be like at 30, I always thought it was too far away to think about. Now it’s coming up, and coming up quick. Inside I want to just run away, but I have to face it in full force. Life at 30, no turning back.

When I first turned 29 it wasn’t so bad. Another year of life. I still felt like I was 22. Somedays I still think I am 22. But I’m not 22, I’m 29! When people ask me my age, I often forget that I am 29. I want to say 22 or 24 or 26, then it hits me, I am really 29. When the response is “wow, you don’t look 29!”,  implying that I must be much younger, unfortunately I am not flattered. I do feel that I have a youthful essence. However, I think I really must be old if the response sends someone into a state of shock. Though I know being 29 or 30 are not really “old” ages, these are ages that take on a lot of responsibility. Responsibilities that I don’t want some days. I can’t go socially embarrass myself in public, or on Facebook, or Twitter, and blame it on my young age. I can’t sleep all day and blow off work like they are classes in college. I hate to drink during the week because the hangover is miserable.  I have to think seriously about retirement, and have invested interest in the debt ceiling crisis, all because I realize that congressional decisions affect my livelihood. I am forced to be an adult every day I wake up. I am turning 30.

One of my best friend’s turned 30 a few weeks ago. In her true extroverted fashion she had a foam party. Why not? It’s fun and reminds us even at 30 we are still young. She asked me what we are going to do for my 30th birthday. My response, sit around and cry. I can’t help it, I am really not looking forward to this. Her response was, no I am not going to let that happen. And I know if she can help it, she won’t let me mope around with pity because I am a day older than I was the day before. I will have to take 30 like a true champion, with a smile.

At 29 I feel like I am going through a mid-life crisis. I feel the need to kick start my life into gear before I turn 30. It’s time to step up to life. It is my go hard, or go home moment. I have questions for my life. I question my choices in dating, which dates I should go on, and which ones I should just outwardly reject.  I question my career frequently. Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life? What if I want to do something else? A career where I can allow my true self and talents to shine. How would I go about doing that? I have invested a lot of time and money into my current career. Am I allowed to just throw that all away out of indecisiveness and moments of boredom? Have I set myself up for a successful life, or is there much more I need to work on?

To be continued….

Soul Mates: Is that for real?

After nearly two weeks, I finally returned to Bikram yoga today. Painful is an understatement for the appropriate word to describe that experience. By the start of the floor series I was ready to go back home and crawl myself back in my bed. A missed week of Bikram, is like starting your first hot yoga class over again. On my travels east, I did go with my friend to a Bikram Yoga class in Virgina, however the experience was nothing like the Honolulu Bikram experience. Ahhh, another reason to love Honolulu 🙂

As I attempted my 90 minute moving meditation in the very hot room, my mind started to wander. Well my mind always wanders, nothing new.

But today my wandering brought me to thoughts about soul mates. Do they really exist, or is the idea of a soul mate a piece of fiction that can be comparable to Walt Disney fairy tale?

If this blog by some random chance of fate gone wild ever turned into a book, turned movie, my movie would not be your typical love story, or romantic comedy like so many other single girl goes on a random adventure to find a new life kind of movie.  My movie would be more like a cynical comedy. Somewhat like Juno. Dry humor, with an unpredictable ending that is still unwritten.

If my life were fit for true Hollywood fashion it would go something like this: I leave New York, fly across the world, end up in Hawaii, learn the island, then randomly meet a gorgeous, charming man in a way that involves some form of irony, he falls in love with my quirks, flaws, and amazing personality. We spend an endless amount of time together, we have the all too predictable conflict over a meaningless topic, eventually get back together because we realize this is what the universe wants. The ending:  we drive pass the ocean into the sunset. In movie world, I would have met my soul mate by now, or at least someone who I thought was my soul mate for the time being.

However, in reality, my life works something like this: I leave New York, fly across the world, end up in Hawaii, learn the island, make a ton of crazy friends, engage in life threatening adventures just to see if I survive, go to work everyday but love my job, and sit around thinking about what my next life challenge will be. Hmm that may not be interesting enough for the big screen. In my movie world, I will not stumble upon Mr. Perfect one day, who I eventually realize is the one I have been looking for all my life ( how cheesy does that sound anyway?)

But I am starting to wonder, do soul mates actually exist. Some married  people have said, I knew I had met “the one” the moment I laid eyes them, is that real? Or, do people just say things like that because it sounds like love? Personally, I don’t think I would know  my soul mate if he actually did come and save my life because I was about to get by a bus (just saying). I am not sure if ever in my life have I just laid eyes on someone, and knew he was “the one”. I think I have actually fallen in love by accident, it just happens over time. Obviously I haven’t yet met my soul mate.

Since I have decided that I would not make a good career military wife, I doubt my soul mate is on the island of Oahu. Maybe he is on Maui? Or,  maybe not. Since there are so many people in the world, maybe we all get a pick of three or four soul mates. Fate would have us only meet one anyway there would be no conflict later in life. Perhaps my soul mate is in another state,  he  could actually be in New York and I just missed him. I could do some more traveling in case my soul mate is in another country. However, if fate brings us together than I really don’t have to look for him right? He will just pop out of the sky one day by some random coincidence. That sounds about right. I am not searching for “the one”. I will just stay still and let life happen.

To anyone who has found their soul mate, how did you know it was that person? And more importantly are they everything you expected they would be?

My Happy Soundtrack- I’m gonna smile cause I deserve too

Honolulu from Diamond Head.
Image via Wikipedia

Back in Honolulu!

I wake up and  it is another beautiful day in Honolulu. The sun is shining, I look over my balcony at the mountains going towards the Pali, and my day starts off with a smile. How could it not? I already know that I am alive, I feel healthy (well most of the time), and I have a lot to look forward to. So each day I tell myself, “I’m gonna smile cause I deserve too”, as sung by Leona Lewis.

Flashback to a few years ago. I remember a time when I didn’t smile as much. I would wake up in New York sad. Unhappy with my job, my personal life, nothing seemed to be where I needed it to be in life. Life for me was out of place. I would wonder, where did my happy go? During that time I had a sad soundtrack. You know that soundtrack we have for moments of self pity. Those times when we want to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves and just cry (or maybe I am the only one who has one of those). My sad soundtrack was a running playlist of songs on my ipod that I would play over and over again. I would go into a deeper feeling of self-pity each time I listened to these songs. The problem? The only person who knew I was sad was me! I would be sad to myself. So obviously the only person able to get me off the sad train to nowhere was me.

In case you need a soundtrack for moments of brief sadness (keep them brief!), I can help you out. I know a great list of songs that really fit the mood. As much as I listened to them, I could say in some strange way they did catapult me out of those moments of sadness. My advice to you: don’t stay on your pity pot too long, it us fine to sit on it sometimes. But, try not to do it too often, and bounce off of it as fast as you can. If you sit too long you may get stuck.  Being happy is a whole lot easier than loathing in self-pity.

Better in Time
Image via Wikipedia

My sad soundtrack was most used for those post breakup moments (of course, I’m a girl!) Those moments when love was lost, and I felt my world was about to come to a crashing halt, with no plan how I will get out of it. The more I listened to each song, I thought maybe it will put a stitch back in my heart one by one, but no it didn’t. Eventually only time did that. But my sad playlist did offer me some comfort while riding on the NY city subway!

In case you were wondering, here are some of my favorites for my past of sadness:

  1. Usher-Burn
  2. Chris Brown- Say Goodbye
  3. Leona Lewis- Better in Time
  4. India Arie- This too shall pass- *Favorite*
  5. Mariah Carey- I stay in love
  6. Boyz II Men- Doing just fine, or Seasons of Loneliness
  7. Alicia Keys- Sleeping with a broken heart
Wow those songs are sad,
My Happy soundtrack is much better, it’s motivating, inspirational, and keeps me on my daily vote of confidence that, I am That Chick! It keeps me smiling, keeps me positive, and reminds me through moments of sadness, life always get’s so much better.
These are my favorites from my Happy Soundtrack:
  1. Brandy- Camouflage
  2. Just Stand up!- Various female artist including, Mariah Carey,  Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna
  3. Beyonce- Ego
  4. Bruno Mars- Just the way you are
  5. Fabolous- You be killin em
  6. Ace Hood, Rick Ross, Jasmine Sullivan- Champion- *Favorite*
  7. Flo Rida- Who Dat Girl
  8. Pink- F**kin’ Perfect
  9. Keri Hilson- Pretty Girl Rock
  10. Natasha Bedingfield- Unwritten
  11. Kelly Rowland- Heaven and Earth

What’s included on your Happy Soundtrack?
*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!

August book selection: Everything Happens For A Reason by Mira Kirshenbaum

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

On my journey to “living my best life now”, as said by Oprah, I am attempting to incorporate a monthly book selection into this blog. Please note that I said ATTEMPT. I will do my best, but not sure how long I can keep it going. My life changes quick, so please watch me for the changes.

Lately, I have had the feeling that God has been telling me to go right,  and I keep making that sharp left. Somehow going to left seems so much more exciting than going right, so I pick my way. Of course it never works out, it’s not the right way, it is a dead-end. As always God  brings back to the start of the path, I don’t get lost , I don’t get in trouble. He allows me another chance to follow him, infinite chances to go right. I listened to God, and when he spoke, he brought me to a book, a book that will forever change the way I look at life.

This month’s book selection is,  Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the true meaning of events in our lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum. While reflecting on past events in my life, changes that have been made, I once struggled to find meaning in them. I had a bad habit of feeling sorry for myself, hating the world that I was in, just hoping for something better that never came. I would wonder, why do certain things happen the way they do? Why do some events turn out bad, and why can’t things just go the way I want them to. I wanted perfection from life. Who am I kidding? Life doesn’t work that way.  The odds are not always in my favor, and every event is not going to always have a happy ending. In life bad things happen. Bad things happen to everyone, the good that comes out of those bad events are the reason why they had to happen.

Through her writing, Kirshenbaum points out  that there are ten main reasons why these bad events take place in our lives. Through each chapter she thoroughly explains each of these ten reasons, she conveys real life examples from people to make sense of  the true meaning as to why certain events may occur in life. Kirshenbaum is able to help  the reader reflect on his or her own life events, and find a way to make that event fit into one of these reasons. This book opens the reader up to deep self-reflection,  possibly gaining closure and moving forward from events that appear damaging to our lives. Kirshenbaum writes in a way that enhances a positive overtone for negative events. This book portrays the message that life does get better! People are resilient and if we are just able to bounce back, bounce back quick,  and look for true meaning, our lives will be better than we have ever imagined. Kirshenbaum does an excellent job of making the reader feel at home within the book, and brings the message that life does not just happen to happen. Life really does happen for a reason.

The Ten Meanings of the Events in Our Lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum

1. To help you feel at home in the world

2. To help you totally accept yourself

3. To show you that you can let go of fear

4. To bring you to the place where you can feel forgiveness

5. To help you uncover your true hidden talent

6. To give you want you need to find true love

7. To help you become stronger

8. To help you discover the play in life

9. To show you how to live with a sense of mission

10. To help you become a truly good person.

My challenge to you is to sit and reflect on the negative events of your life, if you feel you know the reason why they happened, great! You are one step ahead. If not, if you continue to feel sad, wonder “what if”, or have trouble moving on think of the meaning behind this event. How has it changed you? Can anything positive come from this negative event? Look within your inner self for the reason, trust me it is there.

If you have time read, Everything Happens For A Reason by, Mira Kirshenbaum.

*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!