The two things being sick invariably increases for me is my capacity to devour comfort food and my ability to watch endless hours of TV. I have excelled at both this past 2 and a half years!
Suffering as I do from chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia as well as my chronic pain 24/7 which has left me using a wheelchair, I can be coping one day and knocked off my feet another..( given I wobble when I walk this is no mean feat, or feet ;)) . I can barely raise my head off the pillow and take an age to descend the stairs and assume my position on the couch. When I am there, the survival kit is essential.
This ALWAYS includes;
The remote control for the TV
Lots of sweet snacks, preferably at least one large bag of peanut M&Ms
Lots of savoury snacks, preferably with at least 1 dip
2 cushions for my head
My favourite sheepskin throw
A fully charged phone
1 cuddly toy..( it’s not for me, its just in case a small child arrives and needs reassuring . well..anyway.move on.)
With this in place I take up position and let the onslaught begin. Hour after hour I bombard myself with pictures and stories of lives lived not just in the fast lane..but in another stratmosphere.
I begin by just flicking through channels , my finger hovering above the remote – reluctant to actually commit to anything, knowing full well I will be unable to get this viewing time back . Who wants to tie themselves into a night of Don’t Tell the Bride if there is a chance season 87987543 of Law and Order SVU might get repeated?(How cool is Sgt Olivia Benson though?)
Its really like entering a relationship for me..I am looking for something to invest in, come alongside, support and believe in…. at least till the adverts!
(The fact I don’t require to use my brain much is also like being in some of the relationships i’ve had!!)
And so I make my choice – and off I go. I slip headlong into the world of whatever story I see playing out on screen .Normality escapes as i become ensnared in the lives of the rich, famous, poor, famous, written well, written badly, believably, unbelievable characters that fill my mind. And thats the problem!
How helpful is it to me to see the 972 roomed “pad” in L.A that so and very so live and play in? Is it good that I know they ate $1000 caviar served on a crystal platter at the Beverly Hills Hotel? Or that , despite three walk in wardrobes and a personal dresser/fashion advisor, Cinderella wont be going to the ball because Giorgio didn’t fly in from Rome in time for the fitting?…(so disappointing I must admit!)…Is it good to fill my mind and heart with such trivia?, especially from a world so far removed from mine I need a Sky subscription and a bucket of snacks just to keep up!
Dont get me wrong, the glitzy, glamour holds an appeal that is hard to beat- we get to glimpse a world and lifestyle we used to dream of – but at some point I stopped. Or I want to have.
I don’t dream about having luxury cars, luxury clothes, luxury lovers and luxury looks. They might be nice but they aren’t really on my list of “must haves”. I do have things in my life other than the next photo shoot to worry about- (which will be ridiculously photo shopped to remove anthing normal like cellulite or wrinkles!) I dont even dream about marrying handsome hip hop stars..( ok that one took longer to go) – I dream about making a difference with my life..finding happiness in my relationship with God and trying to find ways to help other people, especially those closest to me.
In these programmes,there is always drama or excitement – makes my life seem so dull. I crave what THEY have . What they do. How do they do it?
EDITING ….Whether it’s the crooked noses, pimples, short hair to long to short, waist, butt, boobs or leg length.
EDITING…Whether it’s a dull night in, a marriage with no real probs, last years spring collection instead of this years winter…
EDITING – All imperfections and normality OUT!!!!
Is it really fair to us unsuspecting non-celebrities to carry on punishing our bodies in pursuit of the latest Hollywood hot look , or to send us scuttling to a cosmetic surgeon for the latest “must have” trout pout..( I am pretty sure no fish ever flaunted their bee stung lips the size of their flippers as “must haves” under the sea!)…
I get disappointed that my waist has disappeared, my butt is big but unfortunately not the right shape, my house is big enough to swing a cat but not much else.(although i dont really desire to grab a moggy by the tail) and , horror upon embarassing horror, I DON’T HAVE A SIGNIFICANT OTHER!! ( clearly time to go on Undateables or First Dates 😉 )
If I keep watching these types of shows that show UNREALITY, I would sink into a horrible pit of dismay, comparing my boring little life with that of Kate Middleton’s…and wondering how on earth I will ever be satisfied. ( Although she does have some dodgy in-laws!)
Isn’t it all just harmless though? And isn’t it great that we can watch celebrities up close and personal? Hmmmmmmm
The Bible teaches that it’s really important what we look at, what we meditate on, who we aspire to:
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4 v 8 NIV
I am beginning to see why! If I think about Jesus, how awesome He was..Is..always will be, it inspires me to want to do better things, to love more people and to love them well.
I love the beauty of God’s Creation. If I meditate on that – on the power and thrill of waterfalls – the sheer beauty of a sunset sky or the first rays of morning sunlight – a pure, tiny little snowdrop – these things make me feel alive, empowered, full of Praise towards God.
Oh yes, if I could head into a swanky boutique in London and buy two of anything I fancied , I would be mega excited and happy , but only fleetingly. I would soon worry about where to wear everything, how I looked in it and where to keep it too!( Unlike the rest of my wardrobe, lying on my bedroom floor just wouldnt do for these pieces!!)
I am so much nicer to be around when I am SATURATED in the Goodness of God and the wonders of His Kingdom, than I am when I am saturated in the latest soaps or murder reconstruction.
Yes, there is a place for watching TV, enjoying some comedy or drama etc ..but the problems arise when these things distort our idea of whats important.
How we look, how we dress, how and who we love ..these things are nowhere near as important as the billion dollar fashion and cosmetics industries would have us believe.
“SO STOP MEDITATING ON THEM LORNA”..I hear myself cry…….but something inside my non desiger mind wants to pore over glossy magazines, meditating on the lush, glossy hair of a supermodel..instantly reminding me mines is thinner and straggly…(my hair is thinner, alas, not my body!)
If I spend hours watching lifestyles of the rich and famous, I am both impressed and depressed. I start to compare my ordinary life with those on screen and I subconsciously think I am unhappy because I dont have what they have..
Yet the Bible’s advice to meditate on what is NOBLE, GOOD, PURE, ADMIRABLE..These are words that make me think of encouraging things – they inspire me , make me want to be better as a person, lead me to think about folks whose life stories are about helping others..not shrink away in horror as I realise my nails are not the same length as Barbies!!
I used to think the Bible was irrelevant today – you know all musty and out of touch – but here is God saying to me,
“Lorna, dont fritter away your life thinking about stuff that doesn’t matter – things that won’t help you be the best person you can be. Don’t look at what I have Blessed other people with or compare yourself to those who look differently – instead think about things that can help you grow . Think about MY STUFF”..
And if i do? If I think about God’s Faithfulness to me despite all my failings and fallings – then I don’t care about the size of my nose or my bank balance ..I care about pleasing Him.
If I think about all the beauty in the world, all the places I want to travel to – I don’t think I can’t go because my bikini days are behind me, I think God made this awesome world and I better make sure my passport is up to date!
If I spend my time loving and caring for the people that I am Blessed to have in my life, then I dont have as much time to care about what the imaginary ones would think.
Real life is no fairytale..but it is MINE.
I am not going to spend it wondering what the Kardashian’s are doing, what the cast of Friends would say next, if I should change my hair/face/boobs/butt/teeth or toes or why my dinner table is not as impressive as the Windsors or Caroline of Monaco’s.
I AM ME…Not a celebrity or royalty-and thinking endlessly about either is a waste of time.
I similarly dont want to spend lots of time thinking about grisly murders or a dead person’s last few hours..
I want to think about life – the real life that is all around me. The people that live on my street,how can I help them? After all, thats when good neighbours become good friends…
Or if I actually believed that I was loved UNCONDITIONALLY by this AWESOME God, the fount and source of all goodness – would I seriously be upset if I didn’t drive a Jaguar?
I am going to meditate on the good things, the important things from now on.
I am going to Pray for reality stars rather than poke fun at them or covet their fame..
I am going to dream of social justice and helping the poorest in our world – not of social status and making sure I get rich quick.
I am not going to ignore TV or magazines, I am just going to try and not meditate on their messages…I want to feast my eyes on true beauty and feed my mind the Truth.
So, fashion editors and TV programmers beware, this girly is not wasting endless hours of her life anymore wishing she was living the dream…she is going to accept and enjoy the very real life she is fortunate to have!
Better go and get my – America’s Next Top Model is coming on…just kidding!!!