Home Shopping: One Unique Family

qvc-hsn-story.jpgPhoto Credit: Wall Street Journal

“Carly, you could sell dirt.” That’s probably the best compliment I’ve had in my career. That, and receiving the Big Dawg Award, which was actually an enormous rawhide dog bone with my name written in sharpie alongside past winners.

Yep, that’s home shopping. It is an entirely different animal, it consumed me and my coworkers became my second family, and I loved it. Well, mostly. Sleeping on my office floor between shows was a little annoying and nursing my newborn in the control room probably made some uncomfortable, but knocking the sales goal out of the park was a shared mania. Sometimes I wondered if it was the adrenaline rush came from watching the dollars come in or the anticipation of the celebratory happy hour that would certainly follow. Yes, many great stories came from those happy hours, but none proper for publication.

Home shopping attracts all demographics and we had to attract every one of them. Coming up with content on how to make a coffee maker, a power washer, or a plain silver ring unique and exciting was the challenging, but fun, part of home shopping. It wasn’t all superior, but it at least it didn’t suck.

There were some viewers we could really count on, they had a passion for a product line and tuned in religiously.

We once took a live call from one of these passionate viewers during a doll show. The caller was very concerned on how her doll would be shipped. The on-air host assured her the doll would be well packaged for protection. This did not calm the caller. She was overly concerned because the shipping box was not properly vented. Without holes in the box, how was the doll supposed to breathe?

That’s home shopping, and I loved it, mostly. I made life-long friends that I will always consider family.

The QVC acquisition of HSN was mind-blowing to me, but then I remembered no matter the roof we live under or how we come together, in the home shopping world, we really are one big family.

What’s In Your Dinner?

It’s been a full hour of his newborn crying.  She won’t stop. The father tries literally every trick in the book, they seemed so easy, but to no avail. The child cries on. The father thinks he is not the parent he thought he would be. He finally puts the child safely in the crib, goes to the garage, kicks a pile of lawn bags.  The mother comes home and immediately notices her husband is very angry.

The baby calms. The man remains angry, but the couple has dinner and eventually collapse into bed.

And the last thing they are thinking about is what ingredients went into tonight’s dinner.

But what happens when dinner is anger?

Turns out, anger is a defensive meal cooked up by our minds to protect us from distasteful ingredients, such as frustration, disappointment, anxiousness, embarrassment, and other primary emotions of stress.

Being frustrated at a child’s crying and disappointed in our parenting is common. But frustration and disappointment are hard ingredients to recognize, so the mind folds them into an edible form and we accept it as is, without ever researching what lies within.

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Check out the illustration by our psychologist. It shows how the primary emotions of stress can be hidden under a defensive shield of things such as denial, avoidance, and anger.Emotionsdefault

Explosive Silence

As there are gaps between my blogs, so there are between my topics.

I have noticed a real correlation between people and time. I have noticed there are people in the world who wake up, even some without alarms, and just get out of bed. Just like that! Just like it isn’t an enormous challenge or an amazing accomplishment.

Then, there are those who snooze a few times and dump themselves out of bed but manage to get through their day, often “waking up” somewhere along their commute.

Still then, there are others. Those who don’t even set the alarm because they know it is useless. If all the will in the world can’t get them out of bed, why would an annoying buzz do as much?

It’s the same old story of chronic depression. Everyone says they know the signs and how to react to those affected. But still, at some time during a friend’s funeral, someone will say, “I had no idea…” and the people around will only nod in silence.

Silence feeds the depression demon. It always lurks, for me, right behind my ear. Telling me I am fat. Reminding me of my failures, and questioning my determination when only failure has come before.

The demon is best heard in silence. And suffering? Yep, you guessed it, done in silence as well – particularly on holiday weekends. For those of us with chronic depression, especially those of us whose demons are louder than usual these days, holiday parties are terrifying.

“Everyone else. Every single other human being on this earth is having a great time, except for you. And, don’t even think of being honest about how you are feeling. It will only bring the party down – and you will be the party crasher”, says my demon.

So, armed with great coping skills I tell my demon, “Party crasher? Me? No way. I’ve been told the party starts when I arrive! Barely in the door and I get hugs, smiles and, sometimes even cheers! I’m no party crasher.”

But my demon only smiles, because he is winning. Because I believe him to the people who have stayed silent during my, difficult time.

He does win. After arriving I sneak away fighting tears and suddenly become religious, asking God to help me get through the next few hours of human interaction. And I usually do, albeit shielded in near complete falsehood.

On this day of great bangs and loud booms, you would think silence is impossible. But it is there for lots of people, and it hurts.

Naked on a Mountaintop

Naked and screaming on a mountaintop. It is the raw and vulnerable feeling of writing for someone else’s eyes. Will it be interesting enough? Will the first line catch the reader? Introduce myself? Why scream that I bleed blue in every election, wear my dedication to protecting women’s reproductive rights on my shirtsleeve, and won’t cross a picket line?

I’m told to introduce myself. Okay, I can scream that I bleed blue in every election, wear my dedication to protecting women’s reproductive rights on my shirtsleeve, and won’t cross a picket line. There. Done. I’m introduced.

Next, pick one of the above topics and type. Easy. The perfect way to start, or so I thought. Until I had lunch with a friend and in her beautiful honesty she told me to write about what’s underneath my strong exterior. “But all of those things make me feel vulnerable like I am naked on a mountaintop.” I said. She simply looked at me and smiled.