|My TV career then and ...then
This morning I stepped on the scales to find that I had magically gained half a stone somehow and my jeans were a great deal tighter around my derriere than last week.Two things occurred to me:
Firstly, maybe this is what happens when you hit your 50’s and spend the week before Christmas eating and drinking at a multitude of social gatherings; your body just says ‘bring it on’ and there it stays. On your middle, your thighs and your behind (never, I notice, on your chest where it would be more Nigella like). And secondly...if I was Pippa Middleton, my enlarged gluteus maximus might have bought me a publishing deal of epic proportions, well if I was 25 years younger and my sister had just married the next king in waiting of course. And too, if the bottom in question was a great deal more uplifted than it is these days, as it peers downwards seeking the comfort of any available couch.
As I poured light milk on my porridge to counteract the maple syrup I’d liberally doused it with, my husband pointed out the Dom Post article about the Nelson couple who have ‘hit the mother lode’ with an 8.5 million dollar Lotto win. I hope it’s the friends we go camping with so that we can ditch the tent this year and all go and stay at a luxury resort on their money (they’d shout us wouldn’t they?) I’d like to rest my weighty buns on something more supportive than a camping chair this season. I refused a piece of toast proffered by hubby, not just because the bread was a bit mouldy, but because if we did go and stay somewhere posh, I’d need to look fabulous in togs and I have a week to do it.
This bought me to another realisation...why do I need to look like a 25 year old when I am clearly not? My mother and grandmother never had this compulsion. But they were never on the telly. And low... the light went on- I am not on the telly anymore! With the demise of Avalon and Good Morning moving to Auckland, my current (sporadic and tiny) TV career is at an end. I no longer need to look good on the streets in case someone sees me and it’s all over the Women’s Day that Fifi the Craft Queen wears daggy old jeans, a threadbare Glasson’s tee shirt and no lipstick on a daily basis. Not that I ever made Woman’s Day of course- it’s a scenario that we like to play out in our heads isn’t it? The fame and fortune one. It’s one I’ve been playing for years and like Monopoly (which I suck at) never goes the way you dream of. A roll of the dice and the empire you hoped to build is rubble before you even finished the foundations.
Fame and fortune, like winning Lotto, rely heavily on two things; commitment and serendipity. The Nelson couple played those same numbers, regularly for years. On the rare occasions that I buy a Lotto ticket I go for a Lucky Dip- my odds of winning are not improved by buying a ticket 3 times a year; and...the numbers simply never come up. Likewise with my TV career. My 7 year stint on What Now as a Craft Queen and 6 years on The Good Morning Show came about not because I was set upon having a job as a television presenter, it was because I was persistently and consistently doing something I really enjoyed; arts and crafts – then someone in broadcasting noticed and wanted me to show viewers. I couldn’t have got the work if I’d taken myself off to broadcasting school and bombarded TVNZ with my CV, show reels and egg cartons. It’s not the way it works.
The flipside of such random luck is the voice inside your head that says ‘This is it baby, you are on your way and now the deals will come in- you’d better start getting professional about this!’ And then you worry about your clothes, your wrinkles, what you might say on Twitter and if your arse is too big. When I worked on What Now there was no internet or digital media; opinion and gossip spread a little slower. Getting drunk on a Friday night didn’t mean your audience would see pictures of you on Saturday all over Facebook, hair and dress askew chatting up a bartender.
Since I’ve been on Good Morning, I’ve sanitised this blog so that it has become mostly a (fairly boring) web page for craft instructions, set up a fan page for facebook so that my personal life is kept hidden from my art followers and chewed my adult son’s ear off in the supermarket car park for being surly to a check out operator...”Do you know how hard I have worked to build up a public profile? And I don’t want you jeopardising that with your attitude- you hear me?!!!” And still the offers of further greatness haven’t arrived; and at 51 with a sagging bottom, they aren’t going to- unless I take up the art of cuisine (and that is never going to happen).
And you know what? I don’t care! I don’t have to do any of the above anymore; I’m not accountable to viewers who might sit in their armchairs scoffing Cheezels whilst criticising TV presenters for their back fat (the cruel things people say on forums is unbelievable) And I’m going back to why I set up this blog in the first place. To write about stuff that makes me mad, makes me sad or makes me laugh. No-one is going to offer me a £400,000 publishing deal because of my connections and shapely rump. I don’t envy Pippa, she has her whole media scrutinised life to lose ahead of her. I’m delighted to just be ME- an artist, teacher, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend who loves drawing, making stuff and writing odds and sods to amuse myself and others. I shall also let out my waistbands.
Wishing you all a very happy holiday season