I’d like you to go on a journey with me. To begin, we must step into another’s shoes. The stops we make will lead us to our final destination…a place of compassion and empathy. I can take you there, but I can’t make you feel. I can only hope that you will.
You have your home, you have your career, you even have the unconditional love of a pet. The one thing that is missing in your life is your best friend. That person you will grow old with; hand-in-hand, heart-by-heart, side-by-side.
You’ve tried all the traditional approaches, to no avail. Suddenly, the most inconceivable non-traditonal concept is presented to you. It’s a scientific method that requires you to put your complete trust in experts. It requires you to take a leap of faith like no other. A glimmer of hope grows like the dawn of a new day.
It’s the most exciting and terrifying day of your life. It’s the day you marry a stranger. You hope beyond hope for the fairytale, but there are no guarantees. Yes, you signed up for this, but there is no possible way to prepare for it.
The realization of what you are about to do hits you. Doubts and fears begin to creep in. Your nerves are fraught with tension. You wonder if you can go through with it.
With your heart racing and your stomach in your throat, the curtains open. As you see this stranger for the first time, your heart either soars or it drops. There is no in between.
The walk is filled with anticipation or trepidation. When you are honest and real, there’s no faking or hiding what you feel. It’s in your body language and written all over your face, for the whole world to see.
The cameras are there to record every nuance of emotion. This is not acting, nor is it scripted. This is your life. You take it seriously. You commit to forever.
You love your child more than life itself. You may not agree with their decisions, but you support them because that’s what parents do.
The day has arrived that you give your child to a stranger. Nothing could be more terrifying. You’ve loved, cared and nurtured them their whole lives, and now it’s out of your hands.
But it doesn’t stop your heart from wondering…will this stranger honor their vows to respect and cherish? Will they be kind, supportive and faithful? Will my child fall in love and be happy?
You can read your child like a book and you know how they feel with a look. The joy or pain they feel is reflected in your soul, because you can’t separate the two.
The traditions of the wedding reception are a challenge, even with your comfy shoes on. It’s even more difficult with a brand new pair of shoes you’ve never worn before, a pair that don’t quite fit yet.
The word awkward doesn’t begin to describe what it’s like to touch and pose for pictures, kiss with the clinging of glasses, or have an intimate first dance with a complete stranger. Add in the element of cameras, the first meeting of family & friends and having all eyes on your every move or expression, and the recipe leads to complete overwhelm.
The total sense of joy or the growing sense of frustration you feel, is reflected in your personality. Whether displayed with an exuberance of passion, a quiet reserve, or by making light of the situation, it’s an innate part of who you are. It’s how you deal.
The show airs months after filming. You are no longer strangers. Lives have changed, people have grown.
There is a time warp. What happened months ago, viewers see as the present. They get to know you and your match before the weddings. They see your most intimate thoughts and emotions, meet your friends and families, learn your struggles and successes. They develop an emotional connection.
On the day of the wedding, unlike viewers, you no nothing about your match. First impressions and knee-gut responses can be wrong. Regrets are most certain.
It’s what you do with your regrets moving forward, that defines who you are.
Editing film is the telling of a story. The edit has the ability to control how the audience feels emotionally, by what it presents.
- To create the illusion of disconnect, you highlight the moments of silence.
- To paint a picture of crazy, you focus on times of silliness.
- To evoke the emotion of empathy, you show moments of sadness.
A good edit draws people in and makes them feel. Viewers respond to what they are feeling. But you are not one-dimensional and edits only tell part of the story.
There’s no way to prepare for the onslaught of passionate voices on social media. Each voice comes from a place of uniqueness. Their words reflect joy, sorrow, fear and pain. You honor the freedom of speech and accept this is what you signed up for.
The transition from your quiet existence to public recognition isn’t easy. There is love, support and a feeling of family…but there is also pain. Hurt people hurt people. The sting of words is sharp and felt deep.
You self-reflect and realize, what other people say doesn’t define who you are. Your moral compass and character define who you are.
And so begins the journey…of empathy and compassion.
This my own personal lens on walking the journey of Married at First Sight. It does not represent any person involved in the show and any similarities are coincidental.