Hi. My name is Eliska, and I am an addict. That’s right. I try to cut down, but I can’t. My drug of choice? Pop culture, and a 12-step program couldn’t keep me clean. Television, movies, media of any kind…and my beloved, adored trashy magazines. Sigh. Confession: I have two master’s degrees, and yet my favorite entertainment choices include soap operas and the Twilight Saga. I know: you’re judging me. I’m comfortable with that.
I suppose it’s my flair for the dramatic that ignites my love of celebrities and the entertainment business, but I also like to think it’s an aesthetic thing: celebrities can be so beautiful…and their belongings so shiny. I won’t even mention my struggle between hating consumerism and my lust for shoes. The flesh is willing, people. But I get a little dizzy when I see platform Manolo Blahniks. I think it’s on one of my chromosomes or something.
I know I’m an addict because I minimize my use, too. I used to have addicts I saw for group therapy who said, “Well. I may be an alcoholic, but at least I don’t do drugs,” or, “Well, it’s just pot, it’s not like it’s crack,” or “I only do powder. I would never do crack,” while the heroin addict is all, “Well, at least I only snort the stuff, I would never shoot it.” The things we say while in denial. Me? I like to say, “Well. I may like Sons of Anarchy and People magazine, but at least I don’t stoop to watching the Kardashians.” I am at least dimly self-aware, hopefully.
A lot of people say it’s fun to watch celebrities and their drama unfold in public, that we little people enjoy watching the rich and beautiful suffer. May be true for others, but I have to say for myself I’ve seen plenty of drama and suffering unfold in my counseling office, enough to satiate me for sure. Trust me, everybody’s got drama going on. I actually enjoy watching celebrities to catch them acting like regular people…even when they think they aren’t regular.
For example: the recent blow-up of the marriage of 47-year-old Demi Moore. Who knew her hot 33-year-old husband would cheat on her? Well, me, but I digress. I’ve never been particularly attached to Demi, but when the story broke, I felt some empathy. It must have stung for an aging beauty that her husband went to a taut 20-something for some outside action. Embarrassing. This aging beauty felt for her. I can’t imagine how difficult to have to address such personal matters in such a public way. How would you address such a public humiliation?
I mean, think about it. How glad are you there aren’t photographers in your yard wanting to get a shot of you in your jammies? Or a comment from you about your husband shtupping a teenager? Or making up a really good story about you if there isn’t one? Ugh. Fame doesn’t really sound all that rewarding to me. I’m imagining TMZ’s story on the number of wine bottles in my recycling bin even as I write this. And I shudder to think about the Access Hollywood report on my weight and wardrobe. I’m not pregnant, I swear! I just ate a big lunch.
But Demi impressed me, and she reminded me again why I am fascinated by celebrities. Speaking out, Moore said; “What scares me is that I’m going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I’m really not lovable, that I’m not worthy of being loved. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with me … and that I wasn’t wanted here in the first place.”
Did you ever think money or beauty would make you completely secure? Demi has both, but just like every other soul, in the end, she worries she will not be loved. Hell, even Halle Berry got cheated on. For everyone, celebrity or criminal, it all comes down to: love. Every story I ever heard in my counseling office was boiled down to a story about love and power: or a lack of them. Everyone, everyone, fears deep down, they will not be loved. Even if it seems they don’t really have a deep down.
Moore added that freedom and power for her meant, “Letting go of the outcome. Truly being in the moment. Not reflecting on the past. Not projecting into the future. That’s freedom. Not caring more about what other people think than what you think. That’s freedom. To not be defined by your wounds. Somebody wrote something to me that said, ‘Don’t let your wounds make you become someone you’re not.’ That’s really powerful. And not taking life too seriously.”
Love and power. In the end, for the plowman and the playwright, the artist and the ditch digger, every human problem is rooted in these. Counseling Katrina evacuees in the Dallas Convention Center in August of 2005, talk was not so much of lost possessions or buildings, but of the loss of personal power and the agonizing grief associated with the loss of love.
So, it turns out US magazine is right (and there’s a sentence I never though I would type!). Celebrities really ARE just like us. Because despite how some behave, and I know this is a shocker, but they are humans, of a woman born, flawed with feet of clay as we all are. When they do wear pants, they put them on one leg at a time just like you.
Power and love. Good for Demi. She knows where her power is, and she knows whose love it is most important to have, and this is true whether you have a smush name with your partner or not (TomKat? Brangelina? We would be Eloug or Doliska. Yikes). Hint: Moore’s power didn’t lie in Ashton’s “commitment” to her or in her impressive bank account. Money isn’t power, because it, too, can disappear: Just ask Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, who were Madoff investors and lost millions they thought safe.
No, no matter who you are, you hold the key to power and love in your heart. You are not your wounds. You are not what they say you are. You are not your story. You are not your Jimmy Choos, your BMW, your 3000 square foot house. As Dr. Seuess said: You are you. This is true. There is no one out there more you-er than you. Love you and empower yourself.
TSB contributor Eliska Counce’s Momma Drama column appears Saturdays.