If there's one thing that a humbling experience such as recovering from a major anxiety/depressive episode teaches a person, it's the ability to be compassionate. Throughout all of this, I have received kind words, support and standing offers to visit when I'm well enough from both expected and unexpected sources. For all of the negativity that's out there, I have experienced more love than rejection or lack of understanding. That's been incredibly humbling and I am ever grateful. It's also renewed my faith in Him, as I've been talking to God through both the good and bad times and actually have some of my therapy sessions in the chapel that is on the facility premises.
One place where I see the largest and most disheartening lack of compassion is in the celebrity/pop culture world. I'm guilty of this too. It is so easy to pass judgment on people you don't know or haven't met in real life. It's even easier to join in when others have already started the activity and you get to serve as merely a follower. And it's SUPER easy when Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms exist. This gives us what I like to refer to as "cyber muscles." They work a lot like beer muscles do - you say things you wouldn't normally because you feel empowered by having an audience to hear you (and for the cowardly, you have a computer screen to hide where that same audience can't find you and confront you on your actions.
I never really thought about changing how I perceive or criticize celebs, but the humbling experiences in my life including my breakdown have certainly diminished how judgmental I am of others in the past few years. My heart's been softened and I am overwhelmed with compassion. Don't confuse this with being a wet noodle, though - I am tenacious when need be and I serve as nobody's punching bag. But I digress, back to this celebrity compassion thing...
In the past few months, my TV viewing time has increased significantly - shocking, right? One of the advantages to being a self-employed freelance writer. Anyway, there have been a few TV reality show moments where my heart bled when I least expected it. I had an episode of "Keeping up with the Kardashians" on in the background on day (or I was watching it, don't judge!). In this particular episode, the girls' brother Rob was looking into laser tattoo removal. At one point in this segment of the episode, Rob began to cry and went into a back room of the laser tech guy's office, refusing to allow the cameras to film him because of his weight. Since the show began, he has gained a significant and unhealthy amount of weight, which is an affliction that the majority of our country deals with.
His shame over his body image showed me that no matter how infamous one's family is, or how wealthy someone is...there are some things that can;t be easily fixed. Confidence is one of them. Both Rob and I struggle with this - in different ways, but depression and lack of confidence is what it is. It's so easy to point out all of the negative aspects of this family and their show, but people are people at the end of the day and no one is higher or mightier than anyone else. And my heart breaks for anyone who is that heartbroken or whose family worries for their health that urgently.
Another instance was my watching the new reality series "True Tori" dealing with how Tori Spelling is managing with the aftermath of her husband's infidelity. And let me tell you...it may just be really good editing, but the woman is clearly struggling to keep it all together. And she is, in fact, keeping it all seemingly together. I saw reports online that said Tori deserved this because both she and her husband, Dean, were married, had extramarital affairs and divorced their spouses to be together as they are now. Though I am a believer in karma to some extent, no one deserves to lose their best friend and their support system in that way. Again, we are all people - even those who used to act on their dad's primetime soaps.
Lastly, I am unabashedly addicted to TLC shows. Not the ones that promote angry and antagonistic behaviors, but the ones that show different kinds of families and the power of love. I recently found out that MANY of TLC's shows are on Netflix, among them "19 Kids and Counting" starring the uber-religious Duggar family. While I do not share in many of their conservative belief systems (I consider myself progressively Christian/Unitarian), I have reflected a lot on how I pray and how I live through watching the family's show and reading the accompanying books that have been published. I recently watched "A Duggar Loss" that dealt with Michelle's miscarriage of the 20th child they were expecting. These folks are both held in high regard and blasted in the media for their convictions (depending on the media outlet you follow), and regardless of which side of the spectrum you're on ...loss is loss and watching this is something that touched me profoundly and made me grateful for the ones that are with me now and the ones that were once with me.
My point in all of this seemingly aimless rambling about celebs you probably don't like is that nobody - not me, not you, not anyone- has the right to judge. Even though it's in our nature to do so, I encourage you all to reflect on life every now and then and to demonstrate some humility...think about walking a mile in someone else's shoes before thinking or saying that mean thing. Food for though. We're not all perfect, but it doesn't hurt to open your heart and let a little love in. <3