I have a confession: I used to watch 90210. Religiously… well, until Dawson’s Creek, but that’s for another embarrassing blog. The drama between Dylan and Shannon, the oddly matched Beverly Hills Fashionably Fabulous Donna and Other Side of the Tracks David. Goofball Steve and the addition of Tiffany Amber Thiessen in 1994.
From a distance, it was easy to be entertained by the wealth, the cool clothes and cars we couldn’t afford, the fast, mature relationships, the drama. And it seemed like Hollywood created a character we could all relate to somehow – the bad boy, the preppy girl, the rebel lady, the nerd, the class clown – we almost felt like part of the family.
The main problem with entertainment, in my opinion, is the illusion, the smoke and lights, the shifting shadows. They color our perspective, further our fantasies and almost seem to cultivate a vain search for significance that doesn’t often end well.
Now I live in LA, the hub of our world’s media influence. I’ve seen the characters in the real 90210 and turns out, the TV world I believed in from 3,000 miles away wasn’t that different from my own. The unspoken, economic class system in our nation is similar to entertainment – illusion, smoke, lights, shifting shadows.
To tell you the truth, once I got to LA in 2002, I didn’t have much interest in Beverly Hills. I mean, come on, I shopped at the Garment District, bought shoes at Ross, wore NYC make-up, and don’t get me started on my car. What business would I have in Beverly Hills? I wrote them off as snobby, money wasting, pretenders. I marked myself as “real”, what you see is what you get, therefore, I had the right to judge them.
I definitely was “real” – no problem expressing thoughts, opinions, showing off my shoes from Ross, raving about the deals I got in the garment district, bumping down the street with my competition twelves, but I was not authentic. I was living in the same shifting shadows I judged those pretenders for. I have a past, a history that for a while, I buried in all my “realness”, giving people just enough to feel I’ve connected with them, and just enough to still be hiding.
When I finally came clean, I began to understand the similarities between all of us, the strong influence of our culture that promotes pretending, encourages hiding and living in anything other than our own reality. We’re all just people, made from dust, with our own stories and our own pain.
To the best of my ability, I’ve stopped judging, but from time to time my old self gets the best of me. It happened this week when my husband spoiled me with a poolside cabana manicure-pedicure at the Peninsula Hotel in the heart of the 90210. Anxiety kicked in as we pulled onto the perfectly laid brick entry, bell boys swarming us, Range Rovers and Benzos littering the driveway because I remembered myself in my pine tree green Acura 2.5TL, my cheap shoes and garment district clothes. We stepped onto the marble, and I felt insecure and not quite good enough for this part of my hometown in my tank and jeans.
But as I settled into my robe after my Eucalyptus steam, my feet grew confident standing on the unbelievable mother of pearl tiles and European style marble. I remembered what I had already learned, we’re all just people, and I had received another undeserved gift, so I took a comfortable seat next to my husband to drink cucumber water and read.
I love that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. And I love that unlike me, our God does not change like shifting shadows. He’s the Father of all heavenly lights and every good and perfect gift comes from Him, including the supernatural ability to see unity in our diversity, rather than believe the illusions, to be honest about who we are, right now.
To bourgeous or not to bourgeous is not really the question, to be authentically honest, is.