Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The REAL Reason for The Whole Celebrity Deal

By now, I'm sure that everyone knows how my life changed in 2002 thanks to discovering Lizzie McGuire and its leading lady, Hilary Duff.  I've said more than once that I have no idea where I would be today without that show.  Pretty much, it woke me up to a whole world of entertainment that I had been purposefully avoiding for years, which made me a happier person overall.
Still, over the years, numerous people--including myself--have wondered: Why the celebrities? Why not seek out a real-life relationship? Wouldn't I rather have a girl I could kiss and hug instead of some woman I'm not likely to see except on a TV, movie, or computer/iPad screen?  To be fair, from 2003 to 2008, I was actively seeking out a relationship; I tried to start one with five different coeval ladies, but, every time, they just weren't interested.  Since then, I've considered asking some of my single female friends out, but past failures and my own current living situation make me quite hesitant to try that again.
Even though I'm not really seeking a significant other right now, the celebrity thing is still going just as strong as it was back when I actually was asking out girls.  It seems like it has some sort of grasp on me that just can't be lifted; even trying to give it up for a former crush was pointless, because I just couldn't stay away from the actresses' websites and other media, not to mention that the one who it was done in honor of thought nothing of it.  I'd like to think that I have throttled it back recently; as my tastes in entertainment has expanded, the focus on Disney Channel or similar media with a lovely young leading lady has gone down a bit...though I still do enjoy Good Luck Charlie, Shake It Up, and Austin & Ally.  Still, without question, the celebrities are still there.
Why are they? I wondered the same thing...until I read the book pictured above, Eyes of Justice by Lis Wiehl and April Henry.  I'm going to have to spoil the plot a bit, but, I still need to make my point: When a local TV crime reporter is murdered, her friends seek out a suspect.  Though many signs seem to point to her ex-significant other, it is questioned if she had an admirer who fell in love with her because she was on television.  Here is what one of the characters had to say on the matter:
These guys can't have normal personal relationships, so, they resort to fantasy ones.  [...] So, you take a guy who's unbalanced and lonely.  He turns on his TV; suddenly, he's looking at a beautiful young woman.  She's warm, she's talking to him, and she's looking him right in the eye.  Maybe he's the kind of guy who goes through his whole day--his whole week--and no one looks at him...but this girl on TV? She comes on every day at the same time and says hello and good-bye to him. [...] It's not even really sexual; it's romantic, idealized.
Does that not sound like me? I've always been a bit unbalanced, as anyone who has seen me during times of crisis knows very well.  Loneliness has been a longtime problem for me, too; I rarely get invited to social functions, especially ones intended for people around my age.  When it comes to Hilary Duff, even a New York Times article said of her best-known character, "Lizzie is the luminous and loyal friend any kid would want to have at a stage of adolescence when the world just begins to seem very dark."  Entertainment is commonly used as an escape from the real world; were Hilary, as well as her successors Anne Hathaway and Victoria Justice, a way to forget the reality of being a lonely, single homebody?
When people talk about Asperger Syndrome--which I have, but I do not consider it a disability anymore--one of the things people tend to ask people with it is, "What is your special interest?"  Right now, you could say family-friendly and Christian entertainment.  Still, I've known others who have had a special interest of sorts--ranging from history to medical science--without being one bit autistic.  It was just their "thing"; they have theirs, and I have mine.
You don't get involved in the entertainment industry without becoming familiar with the names, faces, and works of certain people.  I remember hearing a story about a little girl who was being tested in order to enter kindergarten, and the guy doing the testing asked her to name as many animals as she could in five minutes.  What he didn't know was that she adored animals; she named them so quickly, he ended up saying, "Okay; I can't write that fast!"  Though I'm sure that most of you could easily name ten living famous people in less than two minutes, they'd likely be big-name ones like President Obama, Tim Tebow, or Angelina Jolie.  Yet, if you asked me to name as many living famous people as I could in five minutes, I bet you anything you would be saying, "Who is that?", after right many of the names I would mention.  (Ever heard of Jade Ramsey, Lonni Paul, Jeffrey Jacquet, Erin Cottrell, Danielle Panabaker, or Kiely Williams? Didn't think so.)
Still, it isn't right for something that I enjoy to be taken away from me for no good reason.  Most of you reading this either love sports or love someone (e.g., your husband?) who does.  Would you want someone to go into your/his/her cable box or satellite dish's settings and block every single football game of the season, including the Super Bowl? Of course not; that would be rather mean, right? Well, so would taking my Disney/Nickelodeon shows and their related media away from me; I find them as important as sports nuts do the NFL.
Still, I think it's telling that I haven't asked a lady out since 2008; maybe that shows acceptance of my situation.  Frankly, the more I think about it, the more I realize that a relationship most likely isn't for me; at least, not right now.  From what I've seen elsewhere, dating takes up a lot of your time, and requires a lot of you.  I've said before that I don't want anyone taking my interests away from me, and that includes a potential significant other.  No matter how sweet and beautiful some coeval Christian woman may be, if she wants me to give up Austin & Ally and/or bargain hunting, I'm ending it right then and there.
That's probably an impasse for pretty much any possible date; I've always wondered if my single female friends think, "Maybe, if I got my own show on the Disney Channel, or magically transformed into Victoria Justice or Bridgit Mendler, then, and only then, would he ever love me."  For some, a life without romance is unimaginable; for me, it's all I've ever known.  Even as a kid, there wasn't any romance in my house, since my biological father was gone when I was a mere six weeks old.  Having celebrity "girlfriends" may sound crazy to you, but, I'm all for it.
Of course, with any interest, you have to keep it from being an obsession.  I'm reminded of the time when Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin was caught on camera feeding a crocodile with one hand while holding his baby son in the other.  He probably regretted it afterwards; I think it was a simple case of his love for animals overtaking his love for his family.  I'm just as guilty; in the past, I let my love for whoever/whatever--including some non-celebrity-related entities--overtake what should have been more important: God, my friends, and my family.  Recently, I've been trying to change that, and done my best to make sure that what should be truly important to me is; though I may love my entertainment and the people involved in it, they should never be more important than my friends, my family, and, most importantly, my Creator.
I will end by saying this: Some of you may be scoffing, and wondering why I don't use the technology at my disposal to join a site such as eHarmony or ChristianMingle to find "the one" for me.  Three things I want to point out: One, though I know sites such as that one work for some people, in my experience, they're not all they're cracked up to be.  I've known at least three people who were/have been on such a site for quite a while, and either still remain single or met their mate outside of the Internet.  Just because so-and-so met such-and-such online, and now they're happily married, doesn't mean that I would be if I joined; frankly, I think it would just be another frustration, because even online dating likely wouldn't change my relationship status.  You call that being pessimistic; I call it being realistic and say that you are being unrealistically optimistic, not to mention disturbingly naive.  Two, I've thought for a while that I'm a bit of a wild card; I have a diverse set of friends because my interests range so widely that I don't fit in perfectly anywhere or with anyone.  Some of my friends talk with me about bargain hunting; others about our recent reads; still others, the latest technology; and there are even others who will talk with me about the most recent Good Luck Charlie.  If I don't fit in perfectly with one single group of people, why would I "fit together" with just one woman? I think that's why I have so many female friends; I was meant to be a light to multiple ladies, not just be tied down to one.  Lastly, I have chosen to remain single for the time being because I'm pretty sure that not only is it better for everyone, but it's also what God wants; however, even a small amount of people badgering me about doing otherwise is likely to make me wonder, "Am I doing the right thing?"  It's like an object lesson I once saw during a retreat at a nearby church: When the kid was sure that the blue bar on the graph was the longest, he lost a bit of certainty when everyone else said the orange one was.  It turned out that he was right--the whole thing was a trick, and everyone but that kid was in on it--but it made a good point: You can't give up what you know to be right just because whoever or whatever says it isn't.  As my friends, you either have to respect what I'm doing or cease being my friend; if you make me choose another path, it's very likely could make me go down a road I'll end up wishing I never traveled.  You call that stubbornness; I call it being sure in the faith.
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