Reality Tv. I don’t like it much. We need another reality show like we need another hole in our head. Wait, do we need another one?
That said, I’ve had one call me several times to get inspiration/perspective. Of course it’s a genealogy show. They had a slow down in production for whatever reason & now they’re behind schedule but trying to get the pilot back on track.
The first time they called me it was to invite me to audition for the role of the genealogist who finds everybody. I didn’t really want that role at that time, and since I didn’t apply for it in the first place, I didn’t feel like I wanted to be on TV right then. They literally plucked me from a forum page and said I had a nice TV presence & asked if I was interested. I said, “Well what about my work, how do ya feel about that? I am not your average genie.” So, I sent them off to check out some of my other popular forum posts and pieces I’ve written for conventions & seminars etc. If they still wanted anything to do with me, call me. They did call me again, and we talked again via Skype. Then nothing. I figured they thought maybe I was just too passionate for this thing. Or that I looked too chubby from the boobs up (that’s a thing, large boobs make women look fat in head shots). Or they didn’t like red hair. Or something. That’s OK, because I don’t want to be part of another boring genealogy show. But if it’s not going to be boring…
Turns out, I am not too chubby & they love red hair, but they actually ran into some other issues that had nothing to do with me. Today I was called again but by a person new to the project. She was telling me a bit of what was going on, so I had some suggestions that were like a breath of fresh air for her. I told her if I could do it my way, I would help with their project. I know that’s not reasonable so, we will see how that goes over. Seemed to me like a good place to start though. I don’t know if I am interested in being on TV, but I said I would at least mentor their genie, and if she has the grit, then it doesn’t matter which of us is on TV.
Either way, I am not wearing high heels for anybody. No pantyhose either. So, if they want a genealogist in a pantsuit or dress, they need to get one who wants to act that part while I do my part & they can say they did what I did or they can do what I say so they can actually have done what they say they did. But, what is certain is that to be effective you have to go into beast mode. I am not kidding. These people connected to DC or adoption cases will run. They will change their cell phone numbers and shut down their social medias if they think you’re gonna make them tell you what they know about your daddy. It’s unreal how many people will not help.
I can’t say lots about the show, but I can say as much as I did. If I have anything to do with it, its gonna be bad-ass. Even if they take ONE of my suggestions, it’s going to be better than the others.
Ordinarily, I would be on the doorstep of the production company by now, its been about 7 hours since they called me, I could totally have showed up unannounced & been on par to get in front of the powers that be & convince them they need to get their act together and get this show on the road. But, my life is run by an 8 year old little boy who has his own dreams. I am about to change my life a whole bunch, and I am just not feeling like I HAVE to save the world this time. I am feeling like I am going to let them figure out if they are ready to make a TV show everybody wants to watch or if they’re gonna do the same elegant, dignified thing everyone else does & step away when a person who has intel says, “I can’t help you”. What viewers end up left with is a show where everybody is happy about everything after all the tough subjects got ousted from the project, leaving the guest on the show wondering if they got anything at all that they wanted out of it.
When it comes to the donor conceived, there is nothing comfortable about that for any of the parties. Unless you are somebody who was almost literally dropped off by a stork, you don’t understand the empty feeling there is when these people think about their place in the world. Even if they are wildly successful, happily married, having babies & going to Disneyland, the ugly feeling of having doors slammed in your face every time you just want to take a PEEK at who might be your biological family is still lurking. And, if you’ve never donated your sperm or eggs, you don’t know how it feels to be hunted like a beast. To know that any day now, you’re gonna have to come clean to your significant other about what you did for money in college. The worlds approach to the whole thing needs to change. And the next genealogy show can take the first step towards it.
I was not donor conceived, but I’ve walked the road with plenty who were. Just like when black people got tired of sitting at the back of the bus and white people got tired of sending them there, the Donor Conceived need to stop feeling like their well-being and sense of self is second to that of their donors & we need to stop expecting them to back down when they find out they’d be causing a riff in someone’s marriage or cramp their style if a kid shows up. No one wants to be in a place they aren’t welcome, so I think society needs to turn it around and make it much cooler to find out you have a DC child, relative, friend etc. No marriage should be devastated over a thing like donor conception. Shame on them. There are probably a few exceptions to that, but only a few. I mean, if Susie asks her brother-in-law Joey to donate sperm for her baby that is gonna be raised by his brother but its a secret, that is gonna be awkward to uncover. Doesn’t justify the offspring being left cold & naked though. It’s not their bill to pay. No one has the right to sentence another human being to that fate.
Adoption is a bit different I think. I do get why that can be a big deal. Still, I think we can all work through it with some effort & forethought of the genealogist involved. Whoever he or she is, they’ll need to wear lots of hats & have lots of genuine empathy, not the fake kind you wear for a job.