I wouldn't say that I'm a "reality junkie." Sure, I've been a fan of Survivor, The Bachelor & The Bachelorette (I hate to confess that!), The Apprentice, The Biggest Loser, What Not to Wear, and Project Runway, but not at the same time. Well ... not all at the same time! Really! (Who'd have time to watch all of those programs in a week?)
Right now, however, I watch the latter three fairly faithfully (we just got Tivo -- love it!). I was wondering why I'm drawn to these three shows specifically, when there are so many reality fixes available. Here's what I came up with:
I enjoy watching people step into their own. To see the blinders come off as they really see themselves. To watch as they surprise themselves with their talent or beauty or promise. I like watching as they deal with challenging situations with creativity, tenacity, and vulnerability. And I love watching them succeed.
It's harder to see this in real life. Perhaps it's because our challenges aren't concentrated and edited neatly for an hour-long viewing. Maybe it's because we're not often challenged or we fail to share our successes. Or it could be that all-too-familiar enemy, fear, that keeps us from giving it a shot.
But when I do see it, it's glorious. I think of Charlie and Debbie after they finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in 2003. And the women who brave the journey to Colorado to attend Captivating. And Seth as he hits a baseball. And Reed as he reads through an entire book on his own.
I think of my first 5K with Jennifer. As I crossed the finish line, I felt like a mask had been removed, my excuses broken into pieces, and my true and brave and capable self evident to all -- even myself. It was overwhelming and glorious.
I cried then (boy, did I!), and I cry often as I watch these shows. I know, it may seem nuts. But it's really a beautiful thing to watch these people, whether they are reaching a goal, winning a challenge, or seeing themselves in a new light.
To get there requires risk, courage, and vulnerability. The reward? Much more than a title, cash prize, or runway show. It's a moment of glory, when your true self and abundant strength shine through.