My UC baby, Meggie, and I were talking the other night. She has a degree in Public Relations and was working in a really fabulous job for over a year after graduating, but quickly knew she wanted (no, NEEDED) to be her own boss.
As a toddler and young child, Meghann grabbed control from any situation with which she was presented. She was the Director of the plays she wrote. She was the teacher in every school she invented. Once in real school, she led her peers towards winning contests; she became first chair in band and then president in a multitude of clubs and organizations.
If you read back, Meggie and I had a challenging time in the week preceding her wedding. I’d cried about being in her way, wondering what I was doing there in the first place. I’d thought I should have just shown up at the wedding and left her alone to do her thing. It was when I realized she was directing me – something that had never happened before – that I was able to relax, wait for my assignments and the rest of the pre-wedding week was a breeze.
In her element whole coordinating her wedding, Meghann had the brilliant idea of becoming a Wedding Planner, so took a couple of jobs, did phenomenally and, after a few months, left her PR job for the wedding biz full time.
It’s still been under a year, but Meggie’s directed, er... coordinated over 10 weddings and has around 25 on the books already for the next 2 years. I am not only thrilled for her, but shocked at how quickly she’s built a thriving business for herself. (Jealous, too!) Apparently, word of mouth is everything in the wedding business and because she’s done so well, the brides keep referring all their engaged friends to her. I’m more than proud.
Anyway, because of her new role as Wedding Coordinator, I discovered these bride shows on the Style TV channel. Whose Wedding Is This, Anyway? I’ve kind of become addicted to watching how crazy brides can be about the details of the wedding, how grooms just sign the checks and go along for the bride and how hard Wedding Planners work to make the wedding look effortless.
When I told Meghann I was watching this show, she laughed saying it wasn’t really like that, but she understood my wanting to watch it because she was watching baby shows like I was watching wedding ones. I gasped and said, “Please stop! Birth isn’t like that – and what they show, birth shouldn’t be like that.”
I told her about Mindy Goorchenko’s birth video "Psalm and Zoya" and how I owned the DVD and what a beautiful, gentle unassisted homebirth it was. And then Discovery Health’s “Amazing Babies” asked Mindy if they could show it on their show and what they showed looked nothing like the original even though the same babies were born to the same mother. “Amazing Babies” butchered the peace/piece that had been Mindy’s birth, over-dramatizing (and that is a gentle word compared to what they did to it) every detail of the babies’ births. When the second twin was born feet first, not only did they horrify on-lookers, but they made it seem like the feet were out for about 2 hours!, even breaking for a commercial while the feet and legs were out, coming back with them still out and for several minutes after that, showing, cutting, showing and cutting the footage over and over. I was squirming and I know the ending! Granted, a footling breech isn’t ideal (and they did edit out Mindy’s “fuck”), but to drag out the actual birth, making it seem like an eternity before the baby (finally) was born... it was more than annoying.
Meggie said that instead of scaring her, the shows spoke to her about what she did and didn’t want in her birth experience. She said she did not want anyone yelling at her. “If they yell at me to ‘push,’ I’m going to scream at them.” (Eek! Is she setting her mother up for her wanting to birth in the hospital?) “And I don’t want anyone saying, “Good girl! You’re doing a great job. None of that cheerleader stuff.” I told her I’d make sure no one yelled at her.
We talked about various shows for a few minutes; she not real pleased with “House of Babies,” either. Shari Daniels tends to holler at women, too, and all those women birth on their backs, even when they are in the water. Grrr.
And then I started thinking about the amount of fear television shows try to inject into everyone watching. From the evening news to seemingly benign baby shows, fear is an integral element. Why, I wondered, is it so important for some people to create hysteria and terror in others? What is it in their lives that are so vacant that the only way to get attention is by trying to drive everyone to mass suicide? Who are these producers and do they really think this is how life presents itself? Do they walk around armed for any disaster? Do they sleep with their eyes open and their hands on the 911 speed dial? How can that much fear help someone?
Being aware is very different than saturating oneself with the pain and sadness of the world. Didn’t we learn in "The Secret" that obsessing on fear and terror brings it right into our lives? Of course it’s important to take precautions against accidents, keep ourselves safe in unknown countries and drive with some semblance of decency on our roads. But, we can become so terrorized by our surroundings we choose instead to stay in our own homes – forgetting that household accidents kill thousands of people every year! Is nowhere safe?
The answer is no.
There are places safeR than others and there are activities safeR than others, but nowhere is a guarantee of avoiding an accident, injury or death.
And people risk their lives all the time by bungee jumping, speeding on highways or mixing cocktails of their prescription medications. Some of those people are us, though, aren’t they?
We do our best. We make educated decisions and we move forward in a belief that, inherently, the world is a kind and good place to be. We tend to err on the side of safety, yet we also strive for quaility of life. A flippant "whatever-happens" attitude doesn't sit well in our society. Wreaking havoc on others for egotistical pleasures is unacceptable and highly discouraged. But, we also value a person's joy in the world and applaud when sheer ecstacy radiates from his or her being.
Some websites mirror the hysterical “The Sky Is Falling!” mentality, wildly gesticulating about this statistic and that study, anyone disagreeing instantly transformed into the Village Idiot.
Or so they think.
Instead, the Medusa-looking creatures scare no one but themselves as they blather on and on, spitting out hop toads and lizards, entertaining their few cyber-friends. The rest of the truly sane acclimate to the drone of the doom-sayers as if they were highway traffic behind our houses. Eventually, we imagine, the noisemakers will wither, falling into their own saliva and drown themselves, leaving only a faint memory of what all the fuss was about. As I am wont to say: It'll make a good story!
In our lives, if there’s something to listen to that’s important, we’re there. We genuinely care about our families, friends and ourselves. In this day and age of the Internet, there really is no excuse for not knowing the answer to something almost the moment the question has formed in your mind.
What we are learning, too, in our “digital age,” is that Chicken Little is still alive and well and manning a website close to you.
Let’s hope the sky hurries up and falls on him soon.