August 21, 2009

Random thoughts on TV, brought to you by Clean House

Okay, so I tried to find a clip of what I'm about to talk about and I couldn't, so...bear with me a little and use your ~imaginations~ unless someone actually knows what I'm talking about.

Everyone ready?

So I'm watching Clean House a couple of nights ago and it's a fairly recent episode, part of the Messiest Home In America specials they do. I came in sort of in the middle of this episode by chance, flipping channels. Anyway I leave it there for a minute because I just like drama sometimes. From what I could gather, part of the sprawling clutter in the family's home (wife, husband, maybe two kids?) was that the wife collected stuffed monkeys. A lot of them. Obviously part of the show is learning to let go of the clutter you don't need so your house can be cleaner & your family will be happier. The wisdom for this is up for debate if that's what you like but you can't deny that having a clean house will probably make family time a little easier.

So my beef was, the woman collected an assload of stuffed monkeys and was reluctant to let them go. This usually happens during any episode with any given thing. What bugged me was Niecy expressing skepticism about the woman's ability to collect stuffed animals but not be able to help clean the house. Not exactly disagreeable considering some of the folks they have on this show; the thing is, in a previous cut the woman had explained that she has fibromyalgia and collecting the animals was her way of escaping from the very REAL reality of her fibromyalgia.

I think it's something you have to see to get the full effect which, thanks to my weak google-fu, you can't in this post. But I mentally put on the brakes at Niecy's skeptical reply. Admittedly I'm not an authority on fibromyalgia & I'm not sure about the extent of this woman's symptoms because I didn't hang around long enough (my mental brakes prompted me to turn the channel somehow) but I definitely know about invisible disabilities and I SURELY know about escapism from your conditions so I was miffed at Niecy. Again, I'm not sure how this was resolved since I turned the channel, and all I know is the family got a cleaner house & the woman gave some of her stuffed monkeys away. So a lot of this is just speculation from me because it triggered a lot of things in my head in such a short time.

But... the suggestion that "well okay you suffer from chronic pain, but you collect toys! Why can't you mop a floor?!" (not Niecy's words, mine) sounded insensitive and really ludicrous to me considering what I DO understand about fibromyalgia. I know the Clean House folks are generally well-intentioned but it's not as simple as that. For me it just makes me think of how frustrating it is to explain why I don't like, say, certain sounds or why I panic in certain places, why I get angry a lot, or sometimes I just like to be left the fuck alone for the sake of my mental health. I mean, if we can't SEE your disability you're either just making it up or exaggerating it right? Uh-huh.

I do regret hitting the alarm button and not seeing how that panned out; it would have been interesting to see how this panned out, fibromyalgia is often misunderstood and/or often not taken seriously (like here, fancy that) so I wish I'd at least stayed to see the woman's response or how she dealt with this. All I know is when I turned it back the family was all happy & smiling because they had a lovely home make over. It's been on a couple of times since then but because of that one moment I've been adverse to going back. I want to make myself but I don't know...maybe if I can bypass that but not too much. If indeed it's brought up again at all. If anyone knows that particular episode maybe I could get a recap?

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