The Real World Challenge: My Other Life

MTV’s longest running series, The Real World, has been a favorite guilty pleasure of mine since my high school days. I remember watching CT push little Adam K on the streets of Paris and thinking to mThe_real_world_title_cardyself, Oh to be twenty something and in Paris at this very moment. I fell in love even more with the spin-off/crossover, The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. I was 16, my body was not prefect and I knew it, I had braces and my share of acne, and I hated high school like most teenage girls. I spent a lot of my time dreaming of what my life would be like after I graduated, when I would move to New York to be a starving artist.

I did end up moving to New York, and oh my goodness was I ever starving! Despite the fact that I lived on a box of instant mashed potatoes and water for a solid two months, I love the pulse that I felt from the city, and it made me feel like I was in my very own season of The Real World. Although truth be told I did not have six or seven other roommates, but I made plenty of friends with whom I stopped being polite and started getting real. Really, the only thing that was missing was the incredible and spacious apartment in the heart of the village that would doubtlessly come with being on MTV, but despite that I was literally living my dream. The only thing I missed was my MTV guilty pleasures. You see, as a starving young actress, a television in general was the least of my worries, and as a result I missed a few years of my favorite reality TV shows.

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Fast forward about ten years and I’m living in a small town in the mid-west, I’m a mother to a beautiful 23 month old son, I have an amazing husband who has supported me in everything I’ve set out to do. My life took a turn that I wasn’t expecting; by now, I figured I would be living in L.A., probably still struggling to make it into the film world, but knowing myself I would still be content with my life. Honestly though, despite the fact that I am no longer single, no longer childless, and no longer in my early twenties, I love my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.

That said, this doesn’t mean, now that I can afford to have a television and access the my favorite guilty pleasure reality shows, that I don’t like to live vicariously through the cast members; more specifically, The Challenge. Now most of you are probably thinking that what I fantasize about is being able to travel to different parts of the world, get drunk, and act like an idiot with a group of hysterical and sometimes crazy people. Well…I won’t lie, that’s part of it. I mean who in this world would pass up the opportunity to party around the world. Plus the houses always have amazing patios with a pool. I would have the best tan ever!

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But mostly what I dream about is getting to compete, both physically and politically. Even though history has shown that the women in these challenges get very little to no input in the political aspect of these games, I believe I would absolutely rock with the politics in this game. One of my favorite board games is Risk, and I’m really good at it. In these games it’s important to think four or five moves ahead of your opponents. Just saying. And if I had to choose a “side” I would likely be on whichever side Johnny Bananas is on. Let’s face it, the guy knows how to play the game, and despite his recent eliminations gone wrong, he tends to win or at least be at the final and take home some cash.

So every Wednesday night, as I sit in my basement with my husband with my beverage in one hand, I watch the competitors do crazy activities that I’m doing too (in my own head, of course) and having fun drinking, laughing, pulling pranks, and, yes, sometimes (only sometimes) I imagine that I am involved in a steamy hook up. I feel like it wouldn’t be very much of a challenge experience without at least making out with one other person. Now, let me make it perfectly clear that I love my husband, and I’m not now nor would I ever be interested in anyone else but him. That doesn’t mean I can’t fantasize every once in a while about men that I’ll never meet. I think every wife and husband in the world has at least one “celebrity” that they fantasize about. I know my husband has had dirty thoughts about a celebrity woman or two, and I don’t blame him at all for it. He has good taste. He married me, after all! I’m a catch guys, really!

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I am not afraid to say it; I live vicariously through the people who participate on these reality shows, and you know something? It’s fun to fantasize about a life so different from my own. As much as I love my life the way it is, I think it’s healthy to imagine myself living a radically different one. And who knows? Maybe there’s an Earth 2 where my doppelganger lives the life I’m imaging. Maybe she’s over there, on Earth 2, imaging herself living as a wife and mother in a small town. Regardless of whether the grass is greener on the other side, there’s always a fence, and looking over to the other side isn’t the same as taking your own side for granted.

So dream on, fellow mommies. Fantasize to your heart’s content! Live vicariously through whomever you wish, because in the end the only thing that truly matters is that you continue to appreciate your life as it is.

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