Whenever I think about this experience I have to squint and move my eyes back and forth like I am concentrating real hard. The kind of hard thinking that smells like toast burning. Curling, white puffs of smoky grey matter twisting around the skull, knocking to get back in kind of hard thinking. It’s rough being the sort that willingly chooses to keep all the bad stuff up front in the window display of their life while keeping the truly interesting bits and pieces back in the storage area. Dammit! Why do we do this?
Anyway, when Nate Berkus first showed his stylish, elf-like face on the grande dame Oprah’s show I was fascinated. I wanted him to release me from the dungeon of “old lady” decorating suggestions (this is a WHOLE OTHER story in itself) and help me find my true style. I wanted a designer middle finger, if you will, that I could display every time said “old lady” tried to tell me how cheap or tacky the things I really loved were.
Take that ya old bat! Nate likes it and I like it so go choke on your frilly toile curtains and musty transferware dishes hung just so on the wall. ON THE WALL! Dishes on the wall scream OLD LADY to me but what do I know? I needed Nate on my side.
Every time he was on I would watch with great intensity, taking notes, honing my decorating style while also learning that my opinions about what I did or didn’t like mattered. I found my voice and my courage to say what I wanted in my house and what I thought was pretentious, trendy bullshit, designed only to lighten the wallet and not my mood. It didn’t always go over well but satisfaction was gained from knowing money can’t buy taste and bullies hate it when their targets grow a backbone. Mine started out as a flimsy balsa wood twig and grew into a mighty reinforced beam of Brazilian walnut. Strong, unyielding and shiny. God, the old lady hated that. Thanks Nate!
Fast forward to 2010 and I’m watching The Nate Berkus Show when I see a little blurb about viewers sending in their stories of overcoming odds to make their dream career come true or something like that. My memory fails me at times but the gist of this was that I sent in an email to the show telling the producers how I always wanted to write but felt held back by the less than supportive people in my life and how I finally ditched them and started writing in earnest. I wasn’t making any money doing it but I still felt free enough to actually let strangers read my scribbles. That was huge a self-conscious, formerly badgered soul that was so unsure of her abilities.
And…I got a call from the show not long after I hit send on that email. I was asked to explain more about my dream, how I wanted to accomplish it and what my roadblocks had been. Great, so far I thought, but then came the shit cloud…Bethenny Frankel.
What did I think of her? Did she inspire me to try to make my dream a reality? Uh, no. Honestly, if I had to give credit to anyone for prompting me to get my shit together it would be a 50-50 split between aging and my therapist, Dr. Tarrasch. A reality show “character” doesn’t even make the list but I sensed they wanted me to gush about how much she helped and inspired me because they wanted her as a guest. The true indication of this came when they asked if I would be willing to stand up and ask her how I could “make my goal of writing a reality” from the audience. Good grief and lumpy gravy, NO! But, I said sure! I wanted to be on that damn show!!!
Next, I was asked to write a little bit more about my goal and when I first became aware of Madam Frankel as the paragon of business acumen and goal reachiness (my own word but it fits) so I did just that. Maybe too well because I didn’t get a callback and the next thing I know ole Bethenny Big Eyes is on Oprah on the date she was supposed to be on my Nate’s show.
What happened? Did she realize she had no viable advice for me or did Nate’s producers just decide to chuck the segment? Or, and I think this is more likely, that publicity hag tied her line to the mothership Oprah and cut Nate loose at the last minute.
She got a better offer and ditched the person that brought her to the dance. And THAT is how Bethenny and many other questionable business entrepreneurs succeed. It’s easy to keep your high heels un-scuffed when walking on the backs of others.
Okay, rant over and memory released. That felt great. Do I still like Nate Berkus? Yes, yes I do and I always will. He’s likable and seems genuine. Did I learn anything from BF? Yes again. I learned that the outcome would have been the same even if I said I didn’t give two shits about her supposed power to influence or motivate because the segment was going to get dumped anyway.
Always be honest about who or what really motivates you because, in the end, self-respect tastes much better than an over-priced watered-down vodka or margarita mix. Go for the damn bourbon you babies! It’s strong, true and never pretends to be what it is not. Now, get your ass out there and work! That’s my advice.