Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reality Game Shows - Oh man, I'm the Paula!

Now that things are settling back down in my life and evil anniversaries and work events are behind me for another year, I decided to get back to my weekly participation in the Indie Ink challenge.  Make sure to check out the new-and-improved website.  It's looking great and a lot of work goes into that and the weekly writing challenge.  This week my prompt came from a fellow Jersey girl, Debbie of Tales from South Jersey, who asked me to write about a reality game show.  Since I watch way too many hours of reality television, this was a prompt that begged to be nonfiction.  Also, I challenged Sherree of Thoughts from the Farm this week and I can't wait to see what she does with the prompt.

As I watched the premiere of X-Factor last night, I realized something horrible about myself.  I am the Paula in life, less the heavy medication and sparkly wardrobe.  As much as I love Simon and how accurate, if not mean, he usually is with his reviews of performances, if I found myself in a position to judge someone, I would totally find myself saying something like, “That was definitely unforgettable!  You might not be an American Idol, but you are a great person!”  After all, I’m that person – the Paula – without a hit reality show.  While I might not be paid to judge people and discover talent, I find myself in situations where I’m judging others in some way or another throughout my day.  It could be a co-worker’s report or the service I received at Starbucks, simple but important in my daily life.  And there are times I want to shout or make a scathing retort, but the Paula in me can’t allow it.  Focus on the positive!  Find the good, even if there is a ton of bad in the mix. 

I’m not good at mean.  It doesn’t sound right coming out of my mouth and even when it does, no one around me takes it seriously.  The problem is – I always want people to feel good about themselves, but sometimes, people shouldn’t feel good about themselves.  And while I don’t condone ripping into people on a daily basis, sometimes there is something to be said for a serious tone and an honest critique. 

Maybe the realization that I'm the Paula isn't horrible.  There are worse things in life than being known as the nice one in a group.   There's nothing wrong with trying to make people feel better about whatever is going on with a smile and kind words.  But sometimes it would be nice to be able to channel Simon and speak the truth without fear of how it will go over.  I guess it’s all about striking a balance – being kind toward others, but not afraid to speak the truth.

And hey, at least I’m not the Randy, dawg.

This week's Indie Ink Challenge came from Debbie with the prompt reality game show.


Carrie said...

this is exactly why I have difficulty giving concrit to people's writing. I don't want to slam it. After all, it's a matter of taste an opinion. Some people might love your writing style, some might hate it.

So I stick to being more "Paula" than Simon...and then cringe at my own fear of speaking my mind.


Anonymous said...

This was a good, honest piece. I was expecting some zany shenanigans, instead it made me reflect about giving criticism - and like Carrie, how maybe we should do it more but we don't because we're the Paulas. I gave criticism this week on something that jumped out at me and I felt bad for doing it.

Debra Ann Elliott said...

Your words tell of honest feelings, I think we all wish we could write of.

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Well, I AM a Paula. ;)

K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K said...

"I'm not good at mean" - THAT is a good thing and is a lovely, honest and powerful sentiment. This piece resonated with me as I am grappling with "mean" a lot these days, trying to raise three kids who are strong enough to share a world with mean people.

I will say, I see a difference between being mean and offering feedback (even negative feedback). The former is done with ill intent, seeking to hurt another person. The latter is done with the best of intentions, seeking to help another. You can still be nice and give negative feedback. In fact, sometimes that is the kindest gesture we can show another. I guess the questions is why we are doing it and how...

In any case, I liked that you did a reality bit for this prompt, it was very a propos. :)