Ever since last week’s episode, people have had a lot to say about what happened at Melissa’s party. To those of you who have stood by me and have been supportive, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. They mean so much to me. I found it a lot harder than I expected to relive that awful night, which I remember as one of the worst experiences of my life. No lie. We’re talking top ten trauma list.
I don’t have a network media platform to tell my side of the story about what happened at Melissa’s Christmas party, like Melissa, Jacqueline ,Teresa and Caroline do. Bravo didn’t give me that opportunity. So I can’t dance on Caroline’s grave the way she danced on mine on Watch What Happens Live . It’s easier I guess, to have a two- dimensional villain to throw stones at, who is more of a cartoon character than a real person, and can’t step up and defend herself. But I’ve never been a person who goes quietly, so before Kim G. steps out and leaves you all to the banal and tedious non-events that will no doubt ensue in my absence, here is my side of the story.
As most of you who have been watching me on the show and reading this blog probably realize by now, I try not to take life too seriously. I like to have fun. I have a sense of humor about myself. I like to laugh. And I try to live in the moment, because I more than most people understand that each moment might be my last. There’s nothing like a doctor telling you that you have a terminal brain tumor to make you appreciate each and every day!
It was in this spirit of fun and with the hope for positive new beginnings that I opened my heart, and my home to the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I accepted the offer to become a part of the cast just a few months after my mom died. I had a complicated relationship with my mom, but I loved her very much, and losing her left a big void in my life. And, like Caroline, I was dealing with a little bit of empty nest syndrome because unlike Caroline, my son was leaving home to go to college. So when The Housewives came along, it sounded like an exciting adventure. I thought, hey here’s a chance to make some new girlfriends, learn some new things, go to a few beautiful parties, Ha! What I discovered that night at Melissa’s party though, is that much like one of Caroline Manzo’s attack dogs that her friend Bernie Kerik trained for her in season one- -Reality TV not only barks, it bites. And it’s jaws lock.
Here’s the thing that people may not realize. When you’re on a reality TV show, you’re not really making a TV show about your life, you’re making your life about a TV show. Suddenly, your relationships, your work, your family bonds, your standing in the community, your daily activities, even the quality of your character is defined by what is going on in the show, and you have little or no control over what happens on the air. There’s a whole team of professionals who sit around a table and make decisions about your reality, and you aren’t even invited to the meeting. I realize that’s show biz, and I volunteered for this, but ultimately I came to the conclusion that if I’m going to get involved with something that has the potential to ruin my life and my relationships and call my character into question, I at least want to have a vote. And I have to say, since Melissa’s party, I took back control of my own reality, and I am MUCH MUCH happier now, viewing the carnage from the outside of the ring, and cheering along with all of you, while somebody else gets KO’d.
I could say mean things about Caroline at this point like she said mean things about me. Believe me, Caroline has her own particular brand of crazy, and I could give as good as I got on that score. But honestly, what’s the point? In actual reality, Caroline and I have a lot in common. We’re both human beings, not two-dimensional heroes and villains in a docu-soap. We are real women in our fifties, coping with the fact that our children are leaving home, and questioning what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives and how we are going to fill our time productively and happily. We both want the best for our kids, and for ourselves and for our families and friends. We both want to be loved, and approved of. We both feel bad when people don’t like us or say cruel things about us that we know aren’t true. And when the RHONJ dog and pony show finally folds its tent and moves on to the next town, Caroline too will become tabloid fodder, a formerly famous freak, a victim of a voracious media machine that chews you up and spits you out according to its own appetites, without giving you a second thought.
I think this makes Caroline and I pretty much even.
I wish each and every one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey the very best of luck from the bottom of my heart.
They’re going to need it.
Andy Warhol once said “in the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”