12 July 2009

One Quarter of One Hour

The first time when we were on Oprah was physically the hardest. It got easier to talk in front of people the more we did it; I didn't get sick to my stomach or tremble and we all relaxed enough to stop saying the first things that popped into our heads. It got routine--like, here it is Wednesday and I have to talk to my mom (by phone) and Sam and Diane (my foster parents) and The Eggman (that's what I call my mom's lawyer, his real name is Jergenson) and miss school or a couple of days of school and get my homework done on a plane maybe and yap about the legal stuff and the court stuff and our feelings with Phil or Geraldo or Sally Jesse or all the local shows like PM Magazine or Inside Edition-type shows or just even the real news. It was weird to get used to it. I don't think I ever really liked it, but it was a part of my childhood that will always be special and will always be with me. Sometimes, now, at home when I'm watching TV during the day I'll think about the way Phil's studio in Chicago was like, before he moved to New York, and the way all TV studios seem really cheap and shabby in real life. I'll remember being in make-up.

People ask me sometimes if I miss it, if it was strange having those years of my life and the trauma of those years televised. I tell them to ask Lance Loud. I met so many people and lived in hotels and studios and green rooms and airplanes so much that it seemed as if all that had become my life and that it was natural to live the way I had grown up. When I thought about it, it was part of show business was the way I thought about it -- tried being in a band, tried writing, tried "production" work. But it wasn't the same for me and those others like me. We hadn't been actors in commercials or in a series or on Star Search. We didn't have "acts." We were the entertainment; our problems with drugs or incest or satanism or curfews or our parents or gangs or foster-parents or 976-numbers or step-parents or rock lyrics or body piercing or homosexuality or cancer or nightmare proms or pregnancy or sneaker murder or eating disorders or uncontrollable crushes were what made us interesting.

I ended up getting my GED and then learning some word processing (I'm using the computer at work to write this) and started working here. It is only occasionally that someone will look at me as if they remember seeing me before. It's no big deal.

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