Black-Couple-Watching-TV-pic“Wait, you don’t have cable?!”

I get that question a lot, followed by the reasons people create on their own as to why I don’t have cable. “You poor thing, are you not making enough money?” or “do you think you’re too good to watch TV?” Both of these sentiments are partially true.

About two years ago I discontinued my cable, partly because it was way too expensive and also because it was extremely distracting. Since I don’t posses much self-control, and giving myself a one hour TV limit never has and probably never will work, I had to go cold turkey.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to different realizations and done a great job at figuring out what’s good and what’s not good for me.  I’ve definitely become more conscious of my body (in a healthy way), and can now truly understand that what I put in my system will ultimately effect the way I look, feel and perform. I’ve also realized and become more conscious of what I allow myself to witness and engage in.  I’m more sensitive about certain things and I’m not ashamed to admit it, and as I watch reality shows at others’ houses (because I do miss TV at times), it shows me just how sensitive I am and reminds me once again that getting my cable cut off was a great decision.

A few nights ago, I found myself sitting on my friends’ couch completely enthralled in a battle between two “models.” It was a face scratching, hair pulling, Prosecco glass slinging good time! Afterward, we sat and discussed it as though these women were relevant or were positive images who would help us propel ourselves to the next level. I felt disgusted with myself and instantly thought about the quote “great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Dammit! I have a small mind because I loved talking about these pretty-faced chicks with demonic tendencies.  But after bingeing on this brawl I felt something else, I felt my anxiety rising and wanted to go confront someone physically. Forget confronting someone physically, I wanted to bust somebody’s head to the white meat, especially the women on the screen and I was completely wrapped up in the petty drama.

I know that many see it as harmless, simple entertainment, but I feel like it’s more than that, I know that media has the power to sway and influence.  It’s not by coincidence that there are a ton of Facebook posts and Twitter feeds in honor of these shows that people treat as real life, is it some type of escape from our own reality?  Is getting your hair and makeup done and slipping into a pair of six inch heels before going in front of the camera to make your man a sandwich the type of reality we need to escape to?  But I get it, we are craving to see brown faces on television and since it looks like we wont be receiving Moesha, A Different World or The Cosby Show remakes anytime soon, it seems as though the reality show cesspool will only continue to grow.  While I’m sure it isn’t all bad, there is absolutely an overabundance of black girl pain.

It doesn’t just stop there, conversations, ideas and thoughts about the plight of the black woman, Facebook, forwarded emails, frivolous gossip, family, significant others and coworkers are all energy inducing entities and while they can provide positive energy, they can also produce negative, toxic energy that can leave us feeling drained.

If you question or compare yourself to others in an unfair, unrealistic way, especially to those on television, then you probably shouldn’t be watching this stuff. No you don’t need to wear red bottoms, a pound of M.A.C and a 50 foot long weave every day.  If you feel down after reading friends’ statuses about how their lives are the flawless epitome of bliss because their man wakes them up every morning with a foot rub and a surprise trip to Turks and Caicos then you probably need to be happy for them and unplug.  If being surrounded by people and in the midst of certain conversations you feel your skin crawling and start to wonder why you remain in the presence of these individuals, then you probably need to start slowly purging these individuals from your life or limit interactions with them.

We can’t underestimate our brains ability to process information. There has to be a direct correlation between what we mentally ingest and how we feel afterwards, so just like we know it’s not smart to go through our lives chugging sugary soda and fat laden foods on a regular basis, we can’t mentally feed ourselves junk on the daily either.

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  • starry118

    (* I don’t know why my initial post didn’t go through…reposting w/o URL’s as they’re also on Youtube)

    Great article. I haven’t had cable in a while either, as I can pretty much watch what I want on the internet anyway. Within the past year, I’ve decided to stop watching shows that feature us as token characters with little/no development and promote an image of us as being less than. Needless to say, there are very few shows left on the roster.

    I’ve come across several Black web series that are entertaining and of good quality. Unfortunately, web series tend to be shorter than TV shows, and the episodes are not always posted weekly, but I’m still glad to have something to watch that is uplifting and entertaining. Perhaps if we give Black web series enough viewership, networks will want to pick them up & there will be a renaissance of quality Black shows on television. Here are the web series I’ve been watching:

    Robert Townsend’s Diary of a Single Mom

    The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl

    The Punanny Diaries

    Celeste Bright

    12 Steps to Recovery

    The Number and The Couple

  • Love love love this post! I’m such a strong believer in the Law of Attraction, and this post proves it. Good in, good out. If you constantly focus on ratchetness, that’s exactly what will manifest in your life. Speaking from experience, if you focus your mind and your energies on positive things and positive outcomes, you’re absolutely unstoppable.

    P.S. I don’t have cable either. Nothing wrong with indulging here and there, but I’d rather be creating my own reality than watching someone else’s.

  • The Comment

    OMG!!! I’m not alone. I haven’t had cable in 2 yrs. Why am I paying $100 month for garbage? I can still watch Project Runway and the soaps on my laptop. However I do miss Yo Gabba Gabba but my son has all the toys. And now that I don’t have cable I wondered…..when did I have time to watch all this stuff? Posting comments on Clutch fulfills a social need. Don’t feel sorry for me–I have a lot on my plate and don’t have time for mindless chit chat….shit chat??? I dunno but you get it.

  • Rastaman

    Literature courses, poetry workshops, drama classes and Art appreciation are all important because they teach us to be a critical audience of those forums. Unfortunatley unless one is a graduate media student you are very unlikely to be taught how to consume TV. I realized that several years ago when I had a discussion with an associate who expressed his concern about his kids and watching TV. With the rapid growth in Reality TV and the low class behavior so often exhibited on these programs I can see why so many people may want to just chuck the TV all togther to guard against the corrosive effect of such programming.

    TV programming has a certain insidious quality whose effects are still being studied by experts but what is even worst is that how the people who create these programs utilize psychological propoganda tools to influence their audience. I find that highly sensitive people are most susceptible to many of these messages and are often the ones who exhibit the greatest negative reactions.