Television trauma

All my life I’ve felt different to other people.  It’s not because I have distinctive skin colour, ethnicity or appearance, it is more about my thoughts and attitudes. As a child I remember wanting to be like other children but never feeling completely at ease with who I was. I was happy but felt I was looking in from outside the circle.

I think children’s television shows in the 60s and 70s should take some responsibility for my confusion. My child self didn’t fully comprehend that these shows were make-believe and subconsciously my life didn’t measure up to the exciting lives of my television idols.

Everyday after school I’d watch television and imagine how great it would be to live in America and belong to one of my tv families.

The Brady Bunch, the antics of a blended family with three perfect boys and three perfect girls entertained me every day. When I first started watching I desired Cindy’s cuteness but by the end of the series I craved Marsha’s popularity. And if only I could have close brothers and sisters like the Bradys (*sigh*).

The Flying nun; The nuns in the convent San Tanco had fantastic adventures and made me wish I was religious so I could join their sisterhood. But  more than anything else I wanted to fly like Sister Bertrill and to this day I often still dream I am flying like her.

I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched were favourites shows that had me secretly practicing twitching my nose or making genie arms to create magic and travel through time. Sadly I never managed to make anything happen, not for the want of trying.

Everyone had a dog or a cat but I dreamed of having a talking horse in my backyard like Mr Ed or a pet dolphin like Flipper. I couldn’t understand why this wasn’t possible even though I lived in the suburbs.

As a teen I dreamed of hanging out with Richie Cunningham and the Fonz at Arnolds after school and going to the high school proms I saw on Happy Days.

But my all-time favourite show was Little House on the Prairie about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s. My dream was living the simple country life of Laura Ingalls.

Now I’m older I know tv families and characters are make-believe, animals can’t talk and people can’t fly or change situations with magic. The funny thing is that all these years later I still wish I could live in that little log cabin in Walnut Grove just like the Ingalls family. (*sigh*)

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9 thoughts on “Television trauma

  1. Oh..I loved watching the Little House on the Prairie too!!!
    I don’t know Jenna, sometimes I feel that the magic of this world which we perceived as children shouldn’t be discarded…it’s sad when we feel like we need to, when we forget that the magic wand is within us…it’s some of the things I deal with …

    However, having said that, I get what you mean…;)

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  2. I remember watching those shows, but not as much as others. I could never sit still long enough or my parents told us to go outside and play( those were the days you could actually ride your bike any where and not worry about creepy people!).. I did want to grow up in a family like the brady bunch,too!!!. How neat that would of been, to have all those people to hang around. Their family reunions must be fun:-) think of all he cousins!…:-)

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  3. I love this post, Jenna. I too always felt different than other people. It’s hard to be a little child and have to deal with these feelings. But, I think it’s made us more perceptive and compassionate to the people around us. Maybe it was meant to be.

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  4. You’re not alone. So many of us (still) look upon what is shown to us as “normal,” and we forget that there is no “normal;” we are simply to make our own. To get comfortable enough to walk in our own skin, and not (thankfully) the skin of others. As is, Jenna, you are enough. Always remember that. You were put here to be the best possible Jenna, no one else. You are a gift to more of us than you realize. Blessings…

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  5. I don’t think that makes you odd. I think that makes you just like the rest of us; we all wanted to be genies who could transport to Arnold’s. Heck, watching Good Times made me want to be a poor, black child.

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  6. I remember watching Happy Days and Little House on the Prairie with my older siblings. There is also the Donny and Marie Show. Living in a little log cabin is an awesome idea….maybe one day you could build your very own log cabin 🙂

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  7. I loved Sister Bertrill—one of my favorite shows as a kid—also loved the two 1968 movies… Angels Go Where Trouble Follows—I wanted to go to a Catholic Boarding school after that…having a Mother Superior in my life and getting into all sorts of predicaments under the guidance of the younger more radical nun— still preferring the more conservative ways of the older nuns 🙂 funny how we can mark our growing up by the shows we watched as kids…….

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