What Reality TV Taught Me
This is originally a guest post that I wrote for Chelsea Briche over at themillennialmiss.com. Check her out! You'll love her.
Ok picture this…
You get a phone call from some LA number on a Wednesday afternoon… you let it ring and go to voicemail because who actually answers calls from rando’s? A voicemail notification pops up in the corner of your screen, you listen and hear a super bubbly and overly enthusiastic voice on the other end of the phone. It’s apparently someone from the casting department from ABC’s “The Bachelor”, and they are following up from your online submission to see if you’re still interested in this upcoming season…
‘Scuse me? Online submission?
Oh and did I mention this is on APRIL FOOLS DAY? I’m thinking, “alright who’s the ass hole behind this…”
Turns out it wasn’t a joke, and my friend Kelly sent in an online submission with my pictures and contact information. They liked what they saw and wanted to do further interviewing to see if I’d be a good fit for the show.
My initial reactions: Nope. Run and hide. This is your worst nightmare. This show is nuts. Anxiety high. You’re not crazy. You’d be terrible. Hell to the no.
I mean think about it, what would your reaction be!?
Long story, short… actually this probably won’t be short: my friends and family convinced me to have a “why the hell not” attitude towards it all. To be honest I was kind of intrigued to see how far in the process I’d make it… I knew my chances were slim.
Sent in a video: they were interested.
Met producers in person: they were still interested.
Finals weekend in LA: STILL interested
Medical testing: passed *fist pump in the air*
Holy shit this might actually happen.
At this point, rumors were going around that Ben was the Bachelor, and boy did I have my eyes and heart set on him… I had been crushing on him from night #1 of “The Bachelorette”, and now I may have the opportunity to date him? Screw the apprehension, I wanted needed to go.
A few days later, I get the official call that they wanted to cast me… I already let myself envision the potential of Ben and me, so it was an easy yes.
… but what was I getting myself into?
I didn’t know. I had NO CLUE what to expect. All I knew was that I was chosen out of tens of thousands of women, so regardless of what happens, this opportunity was meant for me. I also knew I was either going to get dumped on National television, or get engaged to Ben. The reality of that was overwhelming but I didn’t let myself project that far ahead.
Be honest, stay true to yourself, take it all one day at a time and enjoy the process. You’ll be fine! *oh and no skinny dipping*
Probably decent advice for life in general… minus the skinny dipping. I’m all about the occasional skinny dip sesh, just not with cameras around;)
Excited and terrified: my two permanent emotions for the weeks leading up to the big day.
****Fast forward 5 weeks****
OK soo Ben and I didn’t work out. If you watched this season, you saw how it all went down.
His reasoning was explained in his blog post over at People:
“But I still had to say goodbye to someone that night, and sadly that was Jen. Jen was a woman that frankly wowed me on night one. I mean, how could she not? She’s beautiful and smart and intriguing. But I found myself here, five weeks later still just intrigued. I felt like I was only seeing glimpses of her and was still waiting for her to feel comfortable enough to open and let me see who she really was. And I felt like I had really tried – maybe more so than with anyone else outside of Jubilee – but I had gotten to the point where I was simply further along with other woman than with Jen. And I didn’t see that changing. This is a difficult environment to open up in, and it didn’t seem like Jen was going to be able to do that. She is going to make some man extremely happy one day. That was a hard goodbye.”
To be honest, when I left I couldn’t really blame him. I had a strong feeling I was going home that week.
There were girls already saying they were in love with him at this point, and to me he still felt like a stranger. Ben and I had a great connection in the beginning, more so than they aired… but time never picked up, I never got a one-on-one date and our relationship fell far behind. Knowing I was behind, I started backing off emotionally… and he’s right, it’s a tough environment to let your guard down in. I truly applaud the women that were able to do so, so freely and I think we can all take a page from their book.
Once I was back home and was able to reflect on everything that just happened, I was taken back by how much I was able to take away from it all. Not only did I make lifelong friends, I can easily say I grew more as a person from that journey than I have in the past year or so. I’m a firm believer that every situation, whether it seems good or bad at the time, has the ability to make you grow and better yourself if you allow it.
A few things that hit home to me hard:
Judging is a horrendous habit. Don’t do it.
I use to watch The Bachelor and giggle at these women crying in their interviews. “How bizarre, they’re all crazy!” … and we judge, we ALL judge.
Even on night one of filming, I judged… I judged HARD. I kept my opinions to myself, but boy I was judging and critiquing every girl there, down to the very last sequin. Not always in a negative way, but I was trying to figure everyone out as quickly as possible and scope the “competition”. I learned very quickly how many layers there were to these girls, and my perception and view of them changed drastically over the few weeks that I got to know them. Some for better, some for worse.
What is presented to you at face value is rarely the whole picture.
… and to those contestants I use to giggle at for crying on TV. I’M SORRY! I get it.
Trust me when I say, this process is the perfect recipe for the most level-headed person to go bat shit… people need to give these girls some slack.
Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort, obviously not just those in the public eye. Everyone has a back-story and is dealing with life at different speeds with different curveballs thrown their way.
Just remember that your perception of something or someone isn’t necessarily the reality, and there are usually many more layers to what you see.
“when you judge another, you aren’t defining them, you’re defining yourself.” -idk, someone wise.
Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own
Seriously y’all, comparing yourself to others is the c*ck blocker of confidence. I would know, walking into a room full of freakishly good looking women on night one of filming was one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done. My ego literally wanted to go run and hide behind the endlessly flowing open bar. It did and I definitely joined it for a drink or two…
Here’s the thing every.single.person has their unique beauty, on the inside and out. I guarantee that YOU will always have qualities others don’t and vice versa. AND GOOD NEWS!! There’s room for all sorts of beauty! If everyone were the same, well then this world wouldn’t be very beautiful would it?
- Instead of comparing: accept your differences.
- Instead of questioning: BE CONFIDENT.
- Instead of bringing girls down: lift them up
As soon as you can do this, the more beautiful you’ll be… and I promise that no one on this planet can take away from your qualities and what you have to offer.
Stop questioning. Stop comparing.
Open yourself up to love
If you can’t be open and show someone who you really are, how are they supposed to connect with you? How are you supposed to move forward in any relationship? I started backing off with Ben and that got me a one-way ticket home from Mexico City, with a crappy airport margarita along the way.
Seriously what do you have to lose? Put yourself out there, be completely and utterly vulnerable and if you get hurt… you’ll live and learn… but it’s better than living with the regret of “what if”.
Getting out of your comfort zone is a beautiful thing
The thought of going on this show absolutely TERRIFIED me. Like, think of your worst fear, and then times it by ten. Slightly dramatic, perhaps… but that’s where the little introvert in me was at. However there was a little twinge of curiosity that wondered if I could do it, and I think that’s what ultimately pushed me out of that limo.
Yes the comfort zone is well, comforting… but nothing great ever happens there. Step out of it from time to time and don’t be afraid of failing … you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.
I may have 5 measly, dead roses and another ex to add to the list, but I couldn’t be more appreciative of the entire experience… and it all started outside of my comfort zone.
I’m not encouraging you to sign up for next season of the Bach, but I do hope this inspires some of you to take that leap of faith the next time an opportunity comes around. Continue to challenge yourself in every way, and good things will start opening up in your life.
I’ll conclude with the final snippet from my journal that I kept during filming:
“Wow, and I guess that’s a wrap. What the hell just happened!? I’ll surely be watching with my eyes covered 90% of the time, but I know this was all meant to pan on the way it did. It’ll all make sense with time… but for now I’ll have a margarita”
All my roses love,
p.s ALL my outfit deeets from this season can be found on my other post here.
And a huge congratulations to this beauty, Lauren B, for stealing Bens heart. She is one special girl, and I'm fairly certain they were made for each other! x