Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Is Selling Sunset anything akin to actual reality, or am I desperately in need of a reality check?
"If this is a government of screeching U-Turns, could Johnson have not made one in the car on the way to the airport?"
Like most people I know, my consumption of television and books has shot through the roof during this lockdown. But I've found myself avoiding anything remotely challenging - opting for simplicity and nostalgia, as a way to combat the fear and insecurity of the world we live in now. But the hard truth is, the world we live in now, is not the one inhabited by the glamazon cast of Selling Sunset; with their perfectly coiffured hair, designer dresses, and impossibly high heels. The reality, lies somewhere between the teenage immigrant found drowned on a beach in France and our MIA Prime Minister, who seems to care more for his holiday, than he does for the fate of the country's A Level students, protesting in their thousands, against the injustice of an algorithm designed to keep them in their place. Eton - step right up to the funfair. State education - your tickets are not valid here. If this is a government of screeching U-Turns, could Johnson have not made one in the car on the way to the airport?
"The truth is, I'm afraid of reality beyond the glossy Real Housewives franchise, or the dodgy looking TOWIE reunion."
The Medusa Head
I know I'm not alone, when I say escapism is key at times like these. That ability to engage in something that feels optimistic and hopeful, until finally, it feels possible to be optimistic and hopeful. You know, really. In real life. But the longer this pandemic goes on, the more moods I appear to filter through in the course of a day. Happiness, depression, hope, restlessness, hopelessness, anger, despair, gratitude, fear. And the truth is, I'm afraid of real life. Of reality beyond the glossy Real Housewives franchise, or the dodgy looking TOWIE reunion. Afraid if I look reality in the face, I will turn to stone, as though faced with Medusa's snake headed hair. But if I don't look now, then who do I become? What am I ignoring, in the plight to Stay Sane? Can I look myself in my non-Selling-Sunset, non-glamazon face again, when I've put my own fears, above someone else's needs?
"However uncertain life is; there is in fact, one certainty: we can help someone else."
There Is Only One Certainty
Because right now, real people, need real help. And I need to stop feeling sorry for myself. For the things that aren't going right in my life. For the dreams I was building, that seem to be crashing down around me. Because my crash ends up above the poverty line. My crash, has a buffer, of a family and friends and savings, and a roof over my head. And as someone who volunteers for a charity who aims to end homelessness, I know how different my story could be. So yesterday, when my Crisis Volunteer magazine arrived, I realised one important thing. However uncertain life is, there is in fact, one certainty: we can help someone else.
"I want to do better in this lockdown."
The Cheerleaders Older, Hotter, Sister
I want to do better in this lockdown, than to watch early Drew Barrymore films, and remember a time when the world felt safe. Because Trump is fighting
another election, and Johnson and his cronies are slowly dismantling all of the progression we've fought so hard for - whether its the disaster of universal credit, or the easy, happy relationship we've shared with our European neighbours; and I can't afford to be complacent. I know that. I can't afford to avoid the hard stories, in favour of the easily digestible ones. And no, I'm not giving up on Selling Sunset (because the shoes people, the property porn, the ridiculous way Christine Quinn tries to makes Chrishell Stause look old, when she could pass for a high school cheerleader's ever so slightly, hotter, older sister), or the things that make me feel easy and free for a few hours; but I have to make space for the tougher stuff too. To ask the questions and have the arguments about the things that matter. To really think about what happens after this lockdown.
Home For All
Because there will be an after. And when it arrives, there'll be two easily identifiable sides. Those of us who are ok, and those of who aren't. Those of us who have homes, and those of who don't. And that's why I've decided to channel some energy into something more important than distracting myself from the grim reality of it all: not distracting myself from the grim reality of all. Doing something proactive, to help someone else, as oppose to wallowing in self pity or fear or the latest episode of Indian Matchmaking.
I support Crisis, because I believe that together, we can end homelessness. And that's the one emotion I haven't felt so far in this lockdown - belief. I believe I can offer someone who needs it, help. I believe you can too.
Support the Crisis campaign for a Home For All - and ask the UK Government to commit to a plan that will enable everyone to have the security of a safe, settled home. Find out more at crisis.org.uk/together