Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Foreseeing My True Reality

Dear Readers,

I have to suppress the urge to see certain reality show contestants as figures in psychology experiments.  When it came to science, I was always fascinated with experiments and the scientific method, and seeing the results; and reality television does most of the work for you.

In the shows that I care to watch (which is actually dwindling down now.  I don't know if it's due to age, maturity, or just not giving a crap anymore, but I only find myself watching two reality shows a year now), for the most part, you are watching people in a contained environment.  You hypothesize how they will behave through said season, and then you watch the results at the end on the reunion episodes.

But that's not where it ends for me.  The true results come a few years after their run on the show has ended.  You can see who has transitioned back into regular life, or who is still clamoring, and attempting to hold on to their infamy by the strength of their own fingernails.  Some are able to claw their way back up, and hold us hostage by their shenanigans, while others are trying to hide the fact that they have been waiting, hoping and planning for their reality television come back, and they are doing whatever they can to stay in the limelight.

Now, while it might come off as I'm judging these people, I actually appreciate the vulnerability that they have to allow their lives to become a story arc and then dissipate on their inevitable return.  But on a more honest keel of my assessment, is the fact that... I was almost one of them.

Back in college, during my Myspace days, I was gladly enamored with, what I like to refer to as, "The Golden Age of Reality Television."  Those days were when "Flavor of Love," "I Love New York," "Rock of Love," "Real Chance of Love," and other shows ruled the VH1 universe, and yes, I was there for it!

About month after the first season finale of one dating show, I got a message in my Myspace inbox from someone saying that they were casting for the second season.  Apparently they liked my look, my interests (as told on my Myspace), and would love it if I could fill out an application and come to Chicago to one of their casting calls to see me in person.

At first, I didn't take it too seriously.  But when I told my boyfriend at the time, he got excited.  During that time, they would sometimes invite the exes of the current contestants, and to him, it would be HIS opportunity to be on television.  After that conversation, I immediately decided that I wouldn't do it, but for two days he kept on pressuring me to do it.

He kept on trying to show me the allure of their "fame," and how I could get money doing "appearances," and how people would really read my books if I had an audience from a reality show.  I'll be honest, there was a time during that 48 hour period that I seriously contemplated it.

But then, I began to realize how indulging in a few moments of reality television glory might change the course of my life that I'd been working on for years.

First, you can't control your surroundings, or the people around you.  You're stuck in a house, with no outside stimuli, and the constant appearance of cameras in your face.  Most of the rooms don't have doors, and any alone time you have is extremely rare.

Second, other people's need for camera time.  A lot of people on those shows know that if they create conflict with other members, then it'll get them more camera time, and I couldn't see myself being used a pawn for someone else's "glory."

Finally, there was the fear of just only being regaled as "that reality star."  Any thing that I would try to do after would be predicated on my reality show "fame."  I feared that even if my writings would be worthy of Pulitzer Prizes, I would come off looking like a reality star just trying to extend my 15 minutes of fame.  I didn't want that.  I wanted to be judged fairly on my writing ability, not for the person people saw on television, in a controlled setting, with very little stimuli thrown my way.

On the third day, I sent a message back declining the offer.  Once that season aired, I remember watching it, and occasionally wondering if I would have actually done it, how would I have reacted in those situations, tests, and altercations.  I wondered if once it was over, would people know me for my potential, or for the personality that they either loved or hated?

I now wonder how I would behave with the lights fading, and the allure of the glare being out of reach?  Would I continue to pursue it in an upstanding way, or would the need for attention overcome my faculties, and I would lower my own standards just to stay on the lips and fingers of people?

There's not a doubt in my mind that I chose the right path to go down.  I wanted to be able to create my own destiny, on my own terms, in a way that I had complete control over.  Though it would have been a very interesting experiment to partake, I rather enjoy my own controlled environment.

Stay Encouraged.    

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