It seems that the older I get the more disparate my world is from the media world. Shakespeare wrote, “I am a stranger in a strange land.” That is becoming more and more the way I feel when I view the media.
My world has real people in it. Real people are not necessarily small, chic, or even that attractive. Real people have families, have bad hair days, and sometimes wear something to the store that they hope not to be caught dead in. In the media, the personalities are usually in excellent shape, wear stylish clothes, and look as if their hair was cut one minute before with a razor.
I am not against being in good shape, wearing stylish clothes or having wonderful hairstyles. In fact, in the best of all possible worlds, I would have my own personal trainer, someone to shop for me, and an in-house hair stylist. But, guess what? This is not the best of all possible worlds. I’m overweight, the clothes stuffed in my closet are a mixed bag and, frankly, my hair is wet and pulled back with a scrunchie (one of the few my cats didn’t steal).
I think the media world is interesting. I like looking at and, sometimes listening to, attractive, well-dressed people who seem to be on top of the world. However, my reality has more to do with my gardener, who is neither well dressed nor au courant with world events. My physical therapy is great and the therapists are in great shape. However, many of the patients are dressed to be comfortable, are not young and are working too hard to be glib. My husband is attractive and entertaining, but after twenty-five years, he doesn’t have to be on with me.
The people in the media have a vested interest in being attractive. Their faces and bodies, even their clothes and hair are very important to the job they do. I’m sure that getting up at ungodly hours and being perky is no picnic. However, they are doing a good job and they are paid for it.
Years ago I worked very hard on a diet and exercise regime and became the smallest and most fit I have ever been. I say this because I discovered that, other than pleasing my grandmother for the first time in my life, I really didn’t notice any radical change in my life. I don’t know why having a smaller pants size, toned thighs, and a small waist was, in my mind, supposed to make me Cinderella.
However, soon after that, maintaining my size and shape became less significant that the fact that my husband had dislocated his knee jogging and broken his wrist badly when he fell. I was balancing caring for him, doing my job, and just living. Even though my in-laws temporarily moved to town to care for my husband while I worked, it was a long time before my life was my own again. Of course, more importantly, it was an even longer time before my husband’s life was back to normal for him.
I have discovered after forty-nine years of living that loving and being loved is more important to me than meeting an impossible standard of beauty or anybody else’s standards at all. My world is made up of my husband and me and what we believe in. It is made up of people I care about, people I know from the pharmacy, the church, my husband’s job, etc.
My inner world, what I believe, what I stand for, was decided upon a long time ago. I interact with the world. I follow current events, I watch enough sports to discuss with my husband, I learn and evaluate. However, I take what the media says with a grain of salt.
First of all, I am fortunate enough to have a good liberal arts education. The college I graduated from encouraged, in fact required, that its students be able to think. This means that I take information from different sources: television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, and I compare it. Or to use the phrase the college used (groan), I “compare and contrast” the information.
I do not believe everything I’m told, I do not believe that I’m necessarily getting unbiased reporting, and I do not believe that one scientific study is the final word on a subject. I am a student of history and, in many cases, the true story on a subject isn’t revealed until years, even decades later.
This skepticism on my part keeps the media from rocking my world on a regular basis. I am still as devastated as anyone else when tragedies occur. The 9/11 horror will be a major event in my life always. However, I’m not a news junkie. I do not usually allow what’s happening, unless it is a major catastrophe, to shake my world.
Otherwise, my life would be like a rollercoaster.