WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM BINGE-WATCHING RHOA
I have a confession: for the past two months or so I’ve spent a lot of time watching reality TV. Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) to be exact. I’ve never been very big on reality TV; I just dabble in its consumption when I’m bored or need a little background noise. But this show has me by a yummy little chokehold and I don’t even know why. I started with season 13 and laughed so hard I decided to watch 12, then 11, then 9, then 10, then I was just like: screw it I’m starting at season 1 LOL.
Who knew that Nene & Co. would be just what I needed to get out of the writing slump I’ve been in! So to kickstart my blogging in 2022, here are a few things I’ve learned from watching these grown women support (then drag) each other for our entertainment.
On marriage and intimate relationships
- There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Couples will show up and smile when they need to smile, meanwhile they’re fighting through angrily whispered words spat out between gritted teeth. Don’t feel bad about your marriage not being sunshine and rainbows all the time. Ni life.
- Be careful about inviting people to share their views on your marriage, or your spouse. You will not be able to shut them up.
- Ergo, do not talk sh*t about your spouse, no matter how mad you are at them, because you might forgive the person and move on, but people will repeat these things you said in anger and you’ll be out there looking like Bubu The Fool trying to make them stop.
- Stay out of people’s relationships. Just. Stay. Out. Of. Them. Interference never ends well.
- Learn the difference between submission and control. Check yourself if you find yourself saying things like “my husband allows me to…” You are a grown woman and he ain’t your daddy. Remember, submission is only sexy when it’s not forced upon you.
- Do not chase a man. There’s nothing wrong with showing your intentions and stating your wishes, but you cannot force someone to commit to you/love you/date you/marry you. You just can’t. See how the mandem have done Kenya wrong, repeatedly.
- There’s something really heart-warming about sticking by your partner when things are rough, whether it’s financially or through ill health. But just because you’re a supportive partner doesn’t mean you should take nonsense. Be understanding but know where to draw the line.
- Relationships are hard, marriages end, and if they do, it’s not the end of you. It might actually be the beginning of a better, happier you.
- Ride for your friends and do it hard. Don’t sit on the fence. If you’re going to call someone a friend, then be a friend.
- Real friends do not gossip about each other. If you hear something being said about your friend, especially something that could be damaging, tell them. Don’t be out there trying to be the strongest link in the gossip chain because you have inside intel.
- Friendships evolve, they have seasons, and people outgrow each other. If it runs its course, let it.
- Show up for your friends – and do it on time. Showing up late to all their events is rude and hurtful. If you’re going to be late, say something.
- Big groups are not for everyone. Tread carefully – especially on trips.
- Watch who you share your secrets with. People will turn on you in a hot second. Hell, they will record you pouring your heart out then replay the message for other people’s entertainment.
- If you really, truly feel you can’t trust or depend on someone who says they’re your friend, and they have shown you why, then cut them off.
On career, business and financial independence
- Be careful about doing business with friends. If you go into it, make it official and approach it like you would with any other partner – with a solid plan, a contract and a good lawyer. Donkey Booty vs. Stallion Booty videos anyone?
- Reinvent yourself to stay relevant. Take risks. Do the unexpected. It can really pay off. Think Kandi and her gazillion ventures in entertainment (of the general and more…adult…kind), restaurants and fashion. Phaedra and her funeral business? Yeah.
- Chase financial independence and catch it by force, even when you have a partner who wants to provide everything and spoil you like the baby girl you know you are. Remember, provision can lead to submission, but it can also be used as a weapon to control and abuse you. Do not be caught out like Porsha; have your own money. You never know when you’ll need it.
On parents and parenting
- Parents can hurt you in unimaginable ways. They can manipulate you in the name of “I’m your mother, nobody can love you like I do, I made so many sacrifices for you and you should listen to me and defend me without question. Every time I remember how Kenya’s mom wouldn’t even acknowledge her existence and Momma Joyce’s obsession with ruining Kandi’s relationships I get mad upset. Extend grace and show respect because these are your parents, but also stand up to them, draw clear boundaries and where need be: Cut. Them. Off. Protect your peace.
- Allow your kids to feel safe enough to communicate with you and be honest with you, even if the conversations are difficult and even are about stuff you’re not prepared for, like sexuality.
- Know when to be a friend and when to be a (strict) parent. It can be tricky, but lean on any one side too much and you’re probably not setting up your kids for success.
- No matter how mad you are at the father/mother of your child(ren), do not insult or disrespect him/her in-front of your children. Kids are not weapons in your master plan to destroy each other; they are your children. Act accordingly.
- Co-parenting can be successful, even when one parent (re)marries and has other kids. It’s about knowing your place. I love seeing Cynthia’s relationship with her daughter’s father Leon.
- Genetics can be mad disrespectful. It’s like the more your kids look like their dad the higher the chances of that man annoying TF out of you. Refer to Kenya’s and Porsha’s daughters (joking, obvs).
On personal style, body image and the glow up
- Fashion and interior style, they evolve. One day you’ll look back and laugh at what you thought was cute. And it’ll keep happening as the years go – unless of course you never change. See Kandi’s red hair, Nene’s gazillion blonde hair styles, those platform heels we were all dying for circa 2010/2011.
- As women, we all have issues with our bodies at some point. We gain weight, we lose it, we nit-pick, and it’s normal. But may we all be as confident in our bodies as (most of) these women are.
- The glow up can be yours with the right bank account, glam team, surgeon and clever edits. And there should be no shame in your game. I mean, none of these women look recognizable on their social media, now that I’m watching the older episodes. Me, personally, if I got any cosmetic work done and it turned out great, I’d be spreading the gospel for all to hear!
- These women scream a lot, my goodness! Yelling is not cute, and neither is cattiness and fighting in public. Embrace decorum.
- Mind your own business; be about your own business; don’t poke your nose in other people’s business.
- Know when to be petty, and when not to be. Most importantly, know when to walk away.
- Know how to defend yourself. Don’t look for trouble, but if it finds you, you better be ready to defend your face, your bag, your honour. Then #twirl (OK I’m playing, we’re grown LOL)
- When you’re wrong, apologize. It may be a blow to the ego but do it anyway.
- Correct with kindness, share truth with empathy. Just because you’re saying the truth doesn’t mean you have to be an ass about it.
- Your past is your past. It’s nothing to be ashamed of because it shaped who you are today. Own it. Think Nene and her stripper past. Ol’ girl really does not care what anyone thinks of it!
- Educate yourself – Underground Railroad and Porsha anyone? Thirst for and consume knowledge. Being smart is sexy. There is nothing cute about a ditzy grown woman; not in the age of information.
Phew! Looks like I’ve learned quite a bit, and had a few things reinforced. But also, reality TV is heavily scripted to look real so remember, these people are probably not what they portray on the screen, and what we see is heavily edited. It’s unfortunate that I’ve had the displeasure of being around a few grown women who actually behave like this, but I’ve developed a pretty strong block game so I stay out of the foolishness mostly.
What shows are you guys watching? Anything interesting you’ve learned? If you enjoyed the read, drop me a comment and share with your people! And remember to subscribe for new content that I’ll be posting every two weeks. I’m claiming 2022 as my year of consistency (again), Lord help me
TV console/sideboard / Santana Africa
Mural / Photowall Sweden
Artificial fiddle leaf fig / Home Décor 254
Brass champagne bucket as planter / Odds and Ends
The Cultured Cow