So the strangest thing happened…
I got asked to be on a reality TV show!
No, I’m not kidding.
And no, it’s not so much the hair-pulling, top-of-the-lung screaming, cat-fighting type of reality show.
Rather, the show is quite similar to MTV’s True Life format, where you sort of “reveal” yourself to the audience about something weird and awkward. There’s an added element to this particular show, though – I would get to go on dates!
So what would I have to “reveal”?
The producer told me that I’d have to be open to discussing my keloids on a show that’s broadcasted to an intimidating number of countries.
Whoa, just – whoa!
I don’t even look at my own keloids when I look in the mirror (seriously, I purposely avert my eyes so I avoid looking at these hideous clusters of overgrown collagen). How in the flying f*** can I get myself to be vulnerable enough to allow millions of viewers to get in on my No. 1 insecurity?
So I thanked the producer for seeing some potential in me and offering me such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I said, “No thanks!”
But a sinking feeling overcame my body once I hit “send” and the e-mail was launched into the abyss.
Oh my god. Did I just f*** up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? What if this show could actually help me find a romantic connection? What if I could actually increase awareness of the devastating psychological effects of keloids? What if I could give people encouragement to ditch their keloid insecurities and chase their dreams?
I reached out to all my friends to get some perspective on the situation – even resorting to explaining to them, for the very first time, that I have keloids. Here are what some had to say:
Um, yeah, well – I personally wouldn’t do it to be honest. But it IS pretty cool that you’d get to be on TV, though.
Do you get paid for it? If you don’t get paid for it, why bother?
Face your fears, girl! Do it!
Think of the many little girls you can help by doing this!
I would ask to look at the contract first before jumping in head first. Who knows what you could be signing up for.
Wait, what? The show’s called Too Ugly for Love? But you’re not ugly…
I mean, you ain’t gonna be fighting no big booty thots on TV, right? I hope?
Their range of opinions didn’t really help much, honestly.
In the end, the deciding factor was this: Kim, you’re always running away from things that scare you. It’s time to finally take that leap.
I sent another e-mail to the producer and said, “Wait! I change my mind. I’d like to be a part of the show.”
With that, I was chatting up with the producer on the phone and on Skype, answering questions that I would typically find to be very invasive, but I actually welcomed it. “How do keloids affect your dating life?” And “How do they affect your day-to-day happenings?” Initially, I really wanted to be like, “None of your damn business, how ’bout that?”
But really, these questions allowed me to dig deep as to how much of an influence these keloids have had on my life.
I told the producer (who was immensely understanding and sweet) that the effects of keloids is like a domino effect – it eats at your self-esteem, which makes you feel unworthy of love, too self-conscious to socialize, too undeserving to pursue your dreams. All aspects of my life, whether it’s romance, career, friendship, or family are – somehow, someway – indirectly affected by this awful skin condition.
As the incredulous thought of me being on a TV show became more real, I began to realize that I needed to stop averting my eyes in the mirror when I’m naked. You have keloids. Look at them. Look at them, Kim.
For the first time in years (yes, years!), after trying to pretend that they didn’t exist on my body, I took a good look at my keloids. I winced. “They’re so ugly,” I thought. “Why does this have to happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?”
I can’t show this on TV!
But there was a bigger, stronger voice that took over my negative self-talk and said, “No. You have keloids. And they’re not as bad as you thought. Look at them again.”
I took a second look. I stared at them. “I suppose they’re not as bad as I envisioned them to be.”
Every day, since then, I grew to be more accepting that this is on my body. I was finally acknowledging them.
I began to become more social since I thought I’d use events as “practice,” so to speak, to get used to meeting new people and conversing with strangers. Events that I’d typically turn down because I didn’t want to be judge for my keloids, I’d attend because I knew I’d have to deal with so much more with this TV docuseries.
I began to talk to my friends a lot more and developed deeper relationships with them.
Wow! I realized that this reality TV series is already therapeutic for me – and I’m not even filming for it yet. “Just imagine, then, how I can influence viewers with keloids to be more engaged with life!” I thought.
Anyhow, after weeks of e-mailing, skyping, and talking on the phone, the producer told me some bittersweet news:
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to head up to New York City to film you at this time. But we’ll definitely keep you in mind if we ever decide to expand to the U.S. (this show is UK-based).”
A part of me was saddened.
Part of my growth in becoming more secure in myself with these keloids was this TV show process! Who knew, right? Truthfully, without this TV show, I was afraid I will regress – for once, since I’ve had the keloids, I felt worthy of something. That I could make a difference just by being more comfortable in my own skin.
At the same time though, in my heart of hearts, I’m not a TV star. People with keloids don’t appear on TV – I’ve never seen anyone on TV with keloids and I suppose it is meant to stay that way. I don’t like cameras, I don’t like attention… but I always wonder if this is a symptom of being a keloid sufferer as well?
So TV isn’t in my stars.
But for once, for once, I felt a sliver of the old me – the Kim that didn’t have keloids – pop up once again.
I hope I can keep her here. Because the new Kim, the one with keloids, just may end up dying without “living” – loveless, careeless, and friendless because she allowed her skin condition to take over her self esteem.