Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reality Bites

I have never written in a journal. I always wrote stories as if I were telling someone else what had happened to me. I wrote as if someone else was going to read it. I didn’t consciously write that way, I just wrote and that is how it turned out. I guess it goes back to my obsessive/compulsive need to use things, rather than to waste information on me when I already knew what had happened. I hate waste. I love to recycle, reuse and re purpose things. The idea of throwing things out has always bothered me. Even as a child I had pack rat behavior because I never wanted to simply throw things out. My writing reflects that in every way.
I was thinking about why the book hasn’t taken off the way I would like. The truth is I am having trouble “selling” myself. I believe in the book and think it can help others who are going through tough times, showing them even the worst possible scenarios have a silver lining of sorts. For me, it is difficult to push the book all the time. I see entertainers and “reality stars” push themselves all the time with no hesitation, while I languish in embarrassment of talking about myself too much. What is too much? Hell, I don’t know, I guess I struggle with all the chatter I hear on TV, radio and everywhere else as others talk non-stop about why we, the public should support them. I have always had some fear of buying into my own press. I want folks to buy the book because they can get something out of it, more than I want to make money. Maybe, I should want the money more, but I have never worked any job in order to make big money, but rather to feel more purposeful. It’s not that I don’t need money, I do. I usually need it more than I let on; I just have a difficult time talking about that aspect of life. I think, the fact I have known many people with a lot of money who are still not happy is why I wanted to be happy more than I wanted to be rich.
I boycotted Dancing with the Stars this season. I didn’t want to hear Kate Gosselin, for one more minute, talk about how she needed millions to support her eight kids. She goes on and on about how she needs to make money to support her kids in the media when she already has a career in nursing. Maybe if she sold that multimillion dollar house in PA she could stop crying. I questioned my own motives for not “liking” her or her ex. Was I jealous? I had been a single parent of four children with no dad, because he was deceased and had to work two jobs, so was I merely a green eyed monster? She and that dufus of a father had so many opportunities because of their TV show, while I struggled to stay alive and afloat. Honestly, I don’t think I am jealous. I really didn’t approve of exploiting one’s children to make money for any reason. I had enjoyed the show up and until I heard the parents talk about how unfair it would be to their kids not to have ski vacations out west, or go to Hawaii. What??!!!??? I then watched as they bought a multimillion dollar house and went on book tours. I sat and shook my head. I didn’t begrudge the little ones having vacations, but if a parent thinks it’s “unfair” that they can’t take their children on really expensive vacations, then I think something is screwed up. I watch Kate promote herself constantly. Her job is promoting herself and being a single mom as if that were the commodity. I try and see where her talent is. What exactly is it that she does that makes her so special? She talks about being in movies, TV and writing books. OK, so she writes. I have no idea if she writes her own stuff or has a ghost writer. I think she has already put out three books in a very short time. Wow. It took me ten years to write even one book, mostly because I was busy with my kids. Then I remember that she has mannies, nannies and hired help. Oh, I think, she is talking about being a single mom, but not really having to live the hard life style of one. I will grant you that travelling away from your kids is hard, but she has chosen to do that. She has had choices to make all along and she has made them, the good, the bad and the ugly. She gets no sympathy from me. It’s not because I have no compassion, but I will spend my time and energy on women who didn’t sell their kids as a TV show. I will celebrate women, who talk of others instead of always using “I” statements. I think about myself, always doing the check list to make sure this not me being bitter. I don’t envy her. Fame is fleeting. One day she will wake up and realize, as she feigns disdain of the very paparazzi she needs in order to maintain her fame, that this will all be over. One day people won’t want to hear about poor, poor Kate and how she has to support these kids. Who I really feel sorry for are the kids. I think their parents have their priorities all screwed up and they began to believe their own press. These kids will grow up and the memories they have will be of strangers raising them as, mommy and daddy tried to get face time.
I’ll be honest here, reality TV has made me gun shy away from wanting to promote myself. I have never wanted to be a hooker on any level. I am proud of the work I have done in all my careers. Writing is just one of many accomplishments I have. I have no idea how to promote myself without the worry of selling myself out. I have never wanted to be famous. I just wanted to be the best in whatever I have done. I like being accomplished, not popular. I wasn’t super popular back in school when it counted, so to have any of that nonsense now, to me, just doesn’t make sense. They called Kate ratings gold. I suppose that is a compliment, but train wrecks and natural disasters are ratings gold too. Her next big move is a show where she gives parenting advice!!!?????!!! WTF? She has been a parent for a New York minute and now she wants to tell us how to do it? Oh, UNCLE! ENOUGH already! I wish TLC would take a woman, average height and weight, middle class who is close to retirement who has GROWN children and ask her to do an advice show. Now that show I would watch. Someone’s Bubby, in a house dress, talking over coffee about how her eldest snuck out the window and what she did to handle it. Her kids would all have survived childhood, high school and college, now married with their own kids, stopping by asking Bubby for advice as we listen in. Think about the invaluable information we would get and how we would find out that we don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to make sacrifices and be present. Here’s what I am certain of: Kids don’t know from poor, unless they are told. They will gladly let go of every item they own to have you with them. How do I know this? My own kids told me when they were little. I was trapped in the time versus money conundrum, when they made it very clear that money was less important to them as having me home. My youngest child recently reiterated how happy she is that I am home these days. It comforts her to know she can call anytime and I am available to her. She waited a long time for this privilege. I wish I had been able to give it to her sooner.
As far as what I am going to do as me promoting me? I have no answers as to how I will do that. I will not be following the lead of the aforementioned “reality star”. Maybe I will see how Ellen Degeneres has done it, or Oprah. I do notice these folks don’t have kids. Let me rethink this…Meryll Streep just does her work and lets it speak for itself. So maybe I will just do my work and let that be what promotes me. I guess you get to be the judge.

1 comment:

  1. What's important my dear Kellie is to be happy and I believe you have found happiness.

    Self promotion is difficult, especially for those of us who were raised in the "seen not heard" times. "Advancing Backward" did help me in my tough times, still is helping me. I have recommended it to others as a must read for everyone is fighting a battle of some kind. But I speak of it most passionately with friends going through loss...whether it's empty nest or death of a loved one, loss is handled with such grace and insight in your book.

    So I guess what this babbling bit of data is trying to convey....provide a place for readers to speak out about your work. Let them promote you. Let us lift you up for the beautiful compassionate woman you are reaching out to others to help them during some of the most difficult times of their lives. No matter age or gender, "Advancing Backward" gives solid 'been there done that' advice told with humor and love. It sticks and it helps the healing...I am still looking for pennies!


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