Glamorized

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Here is what I shared on Instagram account last year right after I completed watching the 2nd season of The Crown:

The most disturbing thing about season 2 of the Crown was watching the queen and the way she, even as her Royal Highness, acts merely as a puppet in a man’s world.

“Female power involves women taking part in the conversation either in the public arena or the dinner table, and having the same emotional space in which to do so as men.  It means women not having to fear punishment of any kind.” ~ Marianne Williamson

I am not a historian so this post is not about monarchy, or a direct judgement of the queen, but rather a reflection of us women, and people in general, losing our own power. The “attachment” to an outcome is surely always going to cause us to compromise and tolerate things we would never tolerate otherwise.
While in the Crown this attachment to preserving the old ways and honoring the ancestors was completely exposed, I think that each of us constantly does this in our own lives. In wanting to belong, we often sacrifice what is possible.
I never wanted to change my last name (that was my father’s) even though it made so much more sense to go with my mother’s.  I was in agony for so many years growing up, so much so that I only finally broke through it when I got married.  Even then, I decided to wait for my citizenship to actually formally change it.  Feeling like I am “disobeying” was way stronger than my personal desire to break free.

I wonder if anyone sees the places where being faithful to the old ways is robbing them of opportunity to owning who they really are and can be.”

I remember taking so much interest in monarchy when I watched this show and following up with many documentaries about the queen herself, Lady Diana Spencer, Kate and William and so on.  The more I watched, the more I felt that being a royal was almost like a curse, one is born into this privilege but then is completely robbed of a normal experience of growing up – paparazzi follow your every step of the way and while I would personally love to have more audience, I can’t imagine that someone would fill tabloids with my every move.  Nor would I find it important – and it’s not just because I am not a celebrity but because certain things don’t need to be glorified.

There is something that has us get fascinated by the stories we see on TV and buy as real.  I am still blown away by the popularity of Kim Kardashian for example. While I actually admire her ruthlessness and probably great marketing skills, I can’t help but feel that her content literally has no value.

This is a bit how I felt after watching the royal wedding.  I got curious and wanted to see – I fell for the fairy tale and even thought of myself as jealous and less than.  In allowing all those feelings to come up, even writing about them, I realized: something here doesn’t add up.  Naturally, I won’t spend time trying to prove the point, as far as I am concerned, I really don’t care what happens, but what I do care about is that this fairy tale princess story feels a bit like a drug of choice. Mesmerized by what they see, the surface of it all, people all over America have been glued to their screens and social medias commenting and sharing their love for the royal couple, their view of the whole thing and alike.  In a process, I think many don’t realize, this smoke screen of happily ever after is just as dangerous as photoshopped models that have us create unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our bodies.

I am happily married:  I define it as being committed and in love with my husband and able to solve any problem with him in a conversation.  We haven’t gone to bed mad at each other for the entire time we’ve been married (and while we dated).  We don’t agree on everything, we even have loud disagreements but we keep it real and we work on it and when it comes to it, we have space to work through whatever our limitations are so that when we come together, we can still be a team.

Duke and the Duchess of Sussex are surely in love, that shows and they are blessed to have found each other in this.  But let’s not compare ourselves to them.  Let’s not pretend that Meghan “lucked out” when she married Harry, because she is yet to prove that she can stomach all the restrictions that come with her role: the one she married into.

My concern with the messages I see all over social media is that we are creating a fake standard for what ordinary people, women, relationships should look and feel like.  There is nothing wrong to aspiring to marry well or into a royal family if that is what you truly desire, but let’s not pretend that anyone, regardless of their fame, has a better life just because they have status and money.  Granted, this is not true for people who are in a “survival” mode, but it is for everyone else who makes a decent living – because happiness, that’s not something money and fame can buy.

I think we often miss the blessings in our lives because we watch TV more than we mingle with real people.  It’s a form of escapism that I think doesn’t do us good on a long run because we have unrealistic expectations that cause us to feel bad about things that are actually good.  There is a fashion designer/youtuber who did an experiment with real people and had them pose like models in magazines.  Not one of those woman could actually physically make the pose they saw in the magazine.  Other words, we are attuning out eyes to visions that are not possible for us and then we use that to turn on ourselves.

How about we try being wise enough to detach from the buzz, appreciate what we have, and create what we really want.  Be better than you were yesterday and understand that happiness comes from you and the choices you make and the life you create and not from anything you see on social media or TV.

 

Being Seen

One of my former clients, a comedian, once told me about the dilemma he was forming into a show.  He said “if you tell a joke in a forest, is it funny.”  I thought, of course not, if you tell it and nobody can hear it, find it humorous, of course it isn’t funny.

I was reflecting back on my past year or so of life when I began to realize more and more how much I like attention.  I was shamed for it at the very young age when I convinced myself that becoming a doctor or doing something worthy is better than being famous.  I didn’t suffer from wanting fame, my mother was fairly known while I was growing up and she raised me alone so I had a chance to meet many artists, musicians, actors and politicians then.  In fact, being VIP was the way things were, I didn’t have to worry about my fake ambivalence to fame.

When I moved to NY after my high school, I slowly began to understand what being a nobody was like.  In some ways, it protected me; I didn’t have to live up to the standards imposed by the people I knew.  I had total freedom to be myself and also, to define what that was going to be.  Luckily, not being able to travel frequently to my home country allowed me to create myself over and over again.  On another hand, it began to feel slightly weird to always have to think about getting tickets for something in advance, to not be  just “let in,” to have to know I can pay for everything I spend, to find my own way and spend my money where my mouth is.

I slowly began to desire to be seen for who I thought I was – worthy of attention and VIP treatment.  However, my pattern of pretending that I didn’t really want that was still going strong.  In fact, even during the transformational leadership course, when I got to be the first one to breakthrough and qualify as a leader, I spent time helping other people get qualified instead of mastering my game of leading.  My game was leading, no question about that, but it took me suffering for months to recognize and fully own it.

It seemed to me that wanting to be seen was just not a cool thing to admit.  I even read a Huffington post article a few weeks ago written by a psychologist who was defining narcissism.  I was shocked to see that I was nowhere near being one regardless of my Facebook and Instagram activity that I sometimes worry about would make me seem lame.  But the actual change happened in one of the courses for women that I took over a year ago.

As other women were owning their desire to be seen, taking attention when they could, occupying the space, I began to feel the grudge inside.  I was hating them, hating their power, wanting so badly to diminish it so that someone, out there, would see me instead.  It seemed so clearly to me that for as long as they shined, nobody could ever see my light.  I felt deep pain, I was miserable.  I kept thinking how much I have to offer, how deeply I wanted to contribute to people, how much I am wanting to write, to create art and know that what I do makes at least one other person happy.  I was looking for validation outside of me, and, it didn’t work.

So, after crying to my husband, who is also a coach, and to a couple of my closest friends who I thought knew me deeply, I realized, my hate came from envy, but my envy came from pain, the pain that I felt so deeply as a new mom, as a double mom in fact, for missing out on life, for not living it fully, for not sharing all that I truly wanted to share.

Don’t get me wrong, I had to get over the: “who am I to do this?” and “I am not good enough” and “people will laugh” and “I don’t want to be hurt!” But the truth is, I was already hurting, deeply, from letting my talents and passions go to waste, for killing possibilities before they could ever be realized.

Finally, this is what I learned, “is the joke funny if you tell it in a forest?”  Well, that depends on who is telling a joke and why they are telling a joke.  Being heard cannot be a guiding light, it is only a bonus.  Finding the light, humor and passion inside and then doing the work, that is the game.  So if you do tell a joke in a forest, and you enjoy it, you find it funny, I would say: it is funny.

It is not wrong to want to be seen, recognized and even famous.  I just think that being driven by that desire alone is not a mighty cause.  But I do think that people have a lot more to offer than they are offering.  At the end, I don’t write because I want everyone to read it, although I appreciate every single person that does so.  I am writing because I don’t want what I have to say to die with me in a case it will matter to someone who may read it.