Monday, March 29, 2010

The Real (Toxic) Housewives of NYC...

I gave in. After telling myself, "You do not want to watch these women be mean to each other for another second!", in a moment of weakness, when nothing else was on 900 some-odd channels, I watched it-The Real Housewives of New York City.

It was truly the train wreck you know you shouldn't allow yourself to absorb, but curiosity insists on staring at-with raised eyebrows and open mouth.

First of all, there is no occasion with these women where a confrontation is inappropriate. There is no offense too small to be harbored and held for later--as a weapon of surprise attack. Secondly, there is nothing these women won't say about each other--behind their backs--even though there is (or because there is (?)) a camera stuck in their faces. And, thirdly, their proudest statements are like tossed aside photos of the truth, in favor of the dark confusing negative. (OK, that would have been a really good analogy a few years back before the whole world went, not only are there no negatives lying around in old photo envelopes, but some people don't ever even take their digital pics off the memory one I know personally.)

Here are some of the gems from the show: (not exact exact quotes, because I didn't write it all down, but it is as close as memory will serve-maybe even a little nicer than the actual quotes).

"L"-"I can't believe she said that to her face! I mean who does that? Sure talk to other people...sure subtle whispers...but to say it right to her face?!"

"J" - "I kept her hurtful message so I could play it back to myself whenever I started to feel weak". (as in, I could feel myself just wanting to get over it, but I fed my hurt and rage instead)

And, from the housewife who's being featured in Playboy, as she broaches the subject with her 2 young daughters:

"K" - "Girls, what do you think about mom being in Playboy?"

"Well," the one daughter responds, "with clothes on, yes, without, no. Case closed."
And the other: "You mean showing your weirdness for the camera?"

But later, when asked what her young daughters thought of her posing, she smiled and said:

"Oh, I talked to them about it, they're really excited!"

One of the Playboy mom's friends bragged to the other housewives enthusiastically saying:

"Well, every woman's dream of being in Playboy is actually becoming a reality for Kelly, here!" All smiles and endorsement. But once she's alone and speaking just to the camera...(oh- and the world), she was suddenly conflicted: "I don't know how I feel about her posing for Playboy...I mean she has 2 small children..."

And finally, in her own defense, Kelly, the Playboy mom, explains:

"It's not like I'm being photographed nude...I'm being photographed nude for the most famous book in the world!" (Hello!)

I don't know why my head is still spinning from it. It's reality TV. It's not a self help show, or even a serious documentary. It's art poking and prodding at life until it shows it's most prickliest, ugliest, self-absorbed-survivalist head.

And it's not that these women are the worst women ever. It's that they are like wounded animals--caught in a trap attempting to chew each others legs off in order to hopefully get out alive. (All the while wearing designer clothes, having their roots done, being spray tanned, and smiling like they're having the time of their lives.)

Anyone of us could do what they're doing...think what they're thinking. It's a dog eat dog world out there...if you decide to be one of the dogs. And we've all done it:

  • Talked about somebody who hurt us, instead of going to them in truth and love and letting them know we were hurt.

  • Enjoyed the drama of being wronged, and kept our hurt and anger alive, when we could have just gotten over it.

  • Heard what we wanted to hear--regardless of what was actually said.

  • Publicly acted thrilled for someone and privately criticized them.

  • Redefined our situation with no allegiance whatsoever to reality and truth.

It takes so little to fall into that trap. All you really have to do is forget that there are 2 masters vying for your allegiance. One who has come only to steal, and kill, and destroy. And One who has come to give life, and life to the full. One has the keys to free you from the trap--the other set it for you, and is cheering wildly as you bite and devour one another.

So. It is up to you, and it is up to me. It can only be a dog-eat-dog world, if we decide to be dogs...(females, that goes double for us!). What if we decide to grow up in Christ instead? What if we decide to "do unto others as we would have them do unto us"? What if Love ruled the day?

Now that would be a better day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

my own worst enemy

"As I was walking past the stair,
I saw a man who wasn't there.
I saw that man again today.
I wish that man would go away."
I don't know who that little poem was written by...(Ogden Nash?), but I think-past the silliness of it-I can see a very real issue. The things that slow us down in this life, the things that keep us from moving forward, are sometimes only imagined. They are figments that loom in our heads, but nevertheless have power. But the power they have is only the power we are willing to give them.
In case you hadn't noticed I have been AWOL from this whole blogging thing. [anybody still out there who didn't give up on me completely?] Ironically, I have disappeared in the aftermath of an amazingly inspiring writer's conference. Something tells me it wasn't supposed to have that effect. But as with so many things, the longer I stayed away, the more impossible and daunting my return seemed. To top it off, I lay here sick today, watching endless episodes of America's Next Top Model. Not exactly the inspiration you need, to resume a spiritually probing self this blog has come to be for me.
I guess the question is...what is this blog for you? Is it worth my continuing to share my vulnerabilities, my struggles, and my epiphanies? The man in the stair says it is not. He says I should just lay here half sick, and leave my blog half done...he says no one will notice or care. He tells me that each day that passes since the writer's conference, that I don't DO something big with my writing, is simply an indictment on who I am and who I never will be.
It doesn't take any believer very long to recognize who the man in the stair ultimately is. Yes-he is the very real enemy. But even so, that does not change the fact that the power he has over me is still only the power I choose to give him. Yes, I see him day after day, standing there in the stairway trying to block heaven. And yes he is quite the subtle yet relentless source of accusation. But aren't I-in fact-my own worst enemy for giving him power when I know full well he has been defeated? Why should I waste time wishing he wasn't there, (a constant source of snide rebuke), when I am really the one with the power to make him go?
I will pray Paul's prayer in Ephesians for myself:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the glorious Father, may give me the spirit of wisdom and
revelation, so that I may know Him better. I pray also that
the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may
know the hope to which He has called me...and the
incomparably great power for me-who believes.
That power is like the working of His mighty strength,
which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all
rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title
that can be given, not only in the present age but
in the age to come.
(Eph. 1:17-21)
The man in the stair can stare all he wants, but he has no real power over me. May I never forget that. I will acknowledge his presence-because his presence is very real-but I will do a little staring of my own. And it won't be at him. I will keep my eyes fixed on the one who made my overcoming possible. "I will set my eyes not on what is seen"...a sick girl losing her Saturday as she lays sapped of physical energy on the couch..."but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor.4:18). God has eternal stuff for me, and whatever that looks like, I'm gonna take it, and no man in the stair is going to be able to keep me from it!
And so, I will lay here a little bit longer and wait to feel better. But you know something? I can see the stairs from here, and they are completely empty...(for now). It's amazing what a little resisting will do to clear the stairs;)