From the Bible to Tila Tequila
Bereaved women have never been pretty. (Hot, maybe, but not easy to look at).
I’ve been hearing these outrageous stories about the public trainwreck that Tila Tequila, the reality TV player (it’s not fair to say “star,” is it?), has become after the death of her fiancée, storied lost heiress Casey Johnson. (Johnson mixed diabetes with drugs and alcohol, a detail that is shamefully being left out of much coverage. Furthering the idea that something is "wrong" when someone young dies. ~buzzer~ FALSE!)
And Tequila (nee Nguyen)'s behavior has been pretty wild. Sixty tweets. Whoo hoo.
She’s showing off her grief so vividly. And I thought: she’s not that different from others I’ve known. Sorta, actually, like me.
It goes back to ancient days: the Hebrew traditions ask you to rend your garments, beat your breast, and tear at your skin. It’s supposed to hurt. And the skin is nothing when your soul has broken so wide open.
In the Bible, Tamar dresses like a whore after her loss and deceives Judah into fathering her child. Stealing sperm is turning some kind of trick! (What was she wearing?) Who would break all these rules? And why? Only a woman whose pain can’t be spoken loudly enough. And by this strange, horrific act of sluttiness Tamar mothers the race of David and Solomon. (Has anyone in a reality show done anything that freaky?)
In grief, I, too, wanted to look the way I felt. BAD. I wanted the world to see how I felt inside. I could never say it well enough, and no one seemed to hear.
Mourners seek to demonstrate, represent, and manifest these intense feelings. And grief is not just sorrow: we’re plagued by emotions without reason or apparent connection. Laughing hysterically one moment, smashing a favorite vase the next. Sometimes I felt like I wanted to disappear and break along with my world, a few hours later I’d be sure I’d never seen a more beautiful raindrop on a blade of grass.
Widowhood escalates our lives, and widows use their standing to make public statements. As others mourn the one who’s left, we often want to assert our own place in the world, whatever that place is. In grief, we sometimes becomes exhibitionist and often feel extremely sexual.
Tila Tequila is a widowed woman. If she’s different from how many of us would behave (and have!) in the same circumstances, it’s a difference of degree, not of kind.
Attention whore? Trainwreck? Loudmouth? Obsessed with fashion and Twitter? Yes, yes, yes, yes.
But isn’t that who she was before? She’s just more so in grief.
Widowhood is a journey, and she may come out stronger. I have, and so have countless others. Tila Tequila wouldn’t be the first to effect a radical change in her life.
In fact, her story sounds like one of the lives of the early Saints. Many of them were outcasts, pains in the ass, shallow and materialistic. I’m sure there was at least one, er, provocative dresser aside from Mary Magdalene.
So keep your eyes on this girl, she may yet have greatness in her. Try to keep your judgment to yourself if you haven’t been there. Mourners feel so alone, but maybe there's a Heisenberg Principle of Grief: letting Tila Tequila know she is heard, you might change what she does.
If you have lost a partner or a child, what do you think? Do you see any echo of your experiences in Tila Tequila’s behavior?
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