To All the FPs I’ve Loved Before

I’m coming for your gig Lara Jean.

To understand what an FP (“favourite person) is, you need to understand what BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) is.

Image taken from VeryWellMind

BPD is described as a mental disorder characterised by unstable moods, behaviour and relationships, and those that suffer from this experience troubles regulating their emotions. Taking this into an account, someone diagnosed with BPD can have an FP, which is a colloquial term used and not at all a medical definition. For someone with BPD, a FP becomes the most important person in their life, whether they’re conscious of it or not. Most likely they will make this big attachment to this individual without consciously realising it. This can be in the form of a romantic partner, friend, teacher, parent, celebrity, or anyone else in their life. Because of their severe abandonment issues, the person with BPD will do anything to make sure their FP doesn’t abandon them, no matter how erratic or nonsensical the action may be.

I was officially diagnosed with BPD in 2018, although upon some self-reflection realised I was showing symptoms of this personality disorder in ages as early as eight-years-old. During this self-reflection, it had come to my attention that I had FPs nearly my entire life, and that realisation helped me understand that during those years when I thought something was wrong with me for having these strong attachments to certain people, it wasn’t weird; there was a reason to it.

The main thing one would notice about my relationships with my FPs is that it is either all sunshine and rainbows, or it is the absolute pits. There is no in between. This is called “splitting”, where the person with BPD sees the world in black and white and there is definitely no room for shades of grey. If my relationship with my FP was great, then my whole world was great and they could absolutely do no wrong; if it was facing turmoil, then they were the absolute worst person in the entire universe and everything else in my life sucked because of this one person. I could never see them as a good person  with flaws that wasn’t perfect. They were either perfect, or the worst.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous FPs, ranging from some close friends, cousins, and even a celebrity or two. And as I got older and my range of emotions widened, the elevator relationship I had with my FP got even crazier. No longer would I cry in silence if I felt my FB getting away from me; now, I’d lash out at them, say every horrible and nasty thing my mind could think of, and I’d push them away to test them to see if they would leave.

I would be crying over the loss of my FP as if someone close to me died, because in my warped BPD mind, that’s what it felt like; my relationship with this person died, so in essence, they had died to me. And then one day, as they say that time heals all wounds, it wouldn’t be so hard, and that FP would become a former FP and I would’ve moved on as if nothing happened.

As of writing, I have a couple of former FPs still in my life as friends, and those once strong and intense feelings no longer cloud over our friendship to the point where we can actually have a healthy relationship. That would make up about 10% of all the FPs I’ve had, however, as a strong majority of my former FPs found the relationship to be too much of a struggle and left. While I have “moved on” from these FPs, when I think about the times that we did have together in the height of our relationship, it makes me sad that my uncontrollable behaviour drove them away.

So, with the inspiration of Lara Jean Covey, here I go writing five short letters to some of the FPs I’ve loved before.

Dear R
I still cry out for you because you are the one whose damage to my heart is the most fresh. Possibly of all of my former FPs, you are the one that I miss the most. Our stable and friendly relationship had become an unhealthy FP elevator so quickly that I didn’t even realise what it was until it was too late. You deserved better, my boy. I was good to you, but I could’ve been great to you. I loved that you allowed me to be mostly vulnerable with you, and you were the best listener you could be. I’m aware that I used to touch you a lot, whether that was a hug, placing my hand on your shoulder, or weaving my arm through yours, and I think that is because subconsciously my mind thought that if I could physically feel you, then there was no way you would be abandoning me. And you allowed it because I think deep down you knew that I was scared to lose you. I’m sorry I made you feel anxious in my presence because you didn’t know which Nikki you were going to get, because lord knows you saw Angel Nikki turn into Devil Nikki in mere seconds too many times. I’m sorry I put you through the torment I did when you were dealing with other things. You deserve the best. I miss you every day.

Dear E
Of all of my former FPs, you dealt with the most, and I commend you for having such strength during such a tense time for you. In such a small amount of time, you had gone from apparent stranger, to the most important person in my life, and at first you handled our relationship well as most people do. We got along well and our relationship was flourishing. But by the time I had realised you had become my FP, again, it was too late. The small promises you made to our friendship probably without realising, I held onto like gospel, and when you were unable to fulfill these promises, I lashed out. Through this, you were by my side as much as you possibly could, from anxiety attacks, to a suicide attempt, you were there for me. Until you couldn’t be. The rage you faced didn’t fit the crime, and I’m sorry you had to deal with that. I fondly think of the times we shared together, and I hope you are having an amazing life.

Dear B
You are probably my most upsetting heartbreak of my former FPs. You had gone from acquaintance, to friend, to one of my closest friends, and our relationship when it was at its best is something I deeply cherish even to this day. Because I had no understanding of the disorder that has plagued my entire life, I was led to believe my strong feelings towards you were romantic, and when I confessed that part of my soul to you, you accepted it. You had every right to leave me, ignore me, and cut me off, but you did the respectful thing and accepted it because that’s the kind of stand up guy you are. Now that I understand that you were an FP, it helps me realise why I had so many erratic outbursts. You put up with them and dealt with them as the kind and patient man that you are, until one day you couldn’t. One day you had decided enough was enough, and you left. I don’t blame you because those vicious words I had thrown at you haunt me every day. Under every single insult and vile word I had said to you, was a broken shell of myself that was crying for help, and as much as you wanted to help that version of me, you couldn’t break the wall, so you gave up. I’m sorry B. I miss you.

Dear N
You were another FP that I was led to believe I had romantic feelings for, when really the strong attachment I had to you was due to my BP and fear of abandonment. I remember the day you had jumped onto the FP elevator; everything in our relationship was perfect until that moment. You couldn’t make it to an event we had planned to go to together, and while you had simply apologised, all I heard was “I’m leaving you”, and so I acted out. This triggered a horrible chain of events that included too many angry outbursts or silent treatments for me to count. I remember once you had said that anytime I had that feeling of abandonment, you promised you’d remind me that you were never going to leave me. Promises never work for me, because one day you did leave me. To this day, I still think about fixing the destruction I had caused, but maybe your life is better off without me.

Dear L
Through our own shared heartbreaks, we had gone from friends to each other’s lifesavers in mere seconds, and to someone with BPD, that leads into dangerous territory. I loved every second I had spent talking to you, texting you, or even just tagging you in stupid memes. But of course, the ugly dragon reared its head and some point, and no matter how hard you tried to fight off this dragon, it became too much for you. Once again, I was too overwhelming for you, and regardless of what you said at the end of this relationship, all I heard was goodbye. You were led to believe it was your fault that our friendship blew up, but it wasn’t, and I’m sorry you felt that way.

I guess the point I want to get across to all of my former FPs, not just the ones mentioned above, is that I’m sorry. While a big cause of my irrational anger and erratic blow ups is because of this disorder which can be crippling at times, I still take full accountability for my actions, and I truly wish that all of the FPs that I’ve loved before are having the most beautiful life possible.

And to anyone out there who may be reading this who may think that this could possibly be you, or if you have any inkling that something might be “off” with you, I encourage you to reach out and seek professional help. I always say that I wish I had my diagnosis earlier, because it would’ve help to put everything into perspective, and my journey to healing could’ve started way before it actually did. And just remember that your diagnosis is not all of you; it’s a part of you. You are super. You have a special power that you can harness, and maybe one day that side of you will become a part of you that you truly love and cherish. I’m still learning to harness my superpower, but I know that underneath all of the ups and downs of being on an FP elevator, I am a great son, brother and uncle, and a loyal friend to those whom I love.

If you would like more information on BPD, please feel free to visit any of the following links:
BPD Australia
Helping Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder

– by The Black Widow

The Housewives of Potomac: Ranked

Word on the street is this is another Real Housewives article.

As my working from home days are coming to an end, that means the intimate relationship I’ve had with my TV and hayU account will soon drastically change. But until that day comes, I will continue to binge watch as much Real Housewives as possible!

This time I will be ranking the ladies of Potomac. Real Housewives of Potomac came with a glowing review from my sister, who had compared it to a combination of Beverly Hills and Atlanta. Considering that they are two of my favourite franchises, it was a no brainer that this would be the next franchise I’d start.

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Real Housewives of Potomac has spanned, as of writing, six seasons and featured ten full-time housewives. Let’s get to ranking!

10. Candiace Dillard Bassett
Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t just recently turned on Candiace in the past couple of seasons; unfortunately I’ve just never liked her. Candiace strikes me as the type of person who grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth and never had to face the consequences of their actions, and when those consequences hit her, she cries victim. Thanku, next.

9. Charrisse Jackson-Jordan
According to some reports on Twitter, we have Charrisse to thank for rounding up the crew for the first season of RHOP so I am thankful to her for that. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about Charrisse. She was boring, and even when she tried to stir up drama, it was boring. Soz hun.

8. Wendy Osefo
Wendy had the potential to be a lot higher on this list. Her somewhat condescending performance on season five put her at the bottom, but the first half of season six she seemed to be redeeming herself. And then the second half happened. And here we are. I’m sorry professor but you are trying too hard to be iconic when really, if you just be yourself that’s iconic enough.

7. Robyn Dixon
I really want to like Robyn more than what I actually do; she’s funny, breathtakingly beautiful, and is a great mother to her kids. But for six seasons we have sat through the exact same storyline with Robyn – talking about Juan and their complicated relationship – and believe me when I say we are tired of it.

6. Mia Thornton
If Mia stayed off Twitter, she’d be a lot higher on this list. I really liked Mia when we were first introduced to her in season six and I thought she had a lot of potential. She was funny, glamorous, shady when she needed to be, and who can forget the absolute flair she had when tossing that lettuce at Candiace? Her messy antics on Twitter, however, prevent her from going any higher on this list.

5. Gizelle Bryant
The Queen of Shade herself comes in at the halfway mark. Gizelle really is a top-tier housewife who is the definition of understanding the assignment. She’s funny, she’s entertaining, she’s so beautiful, and she’s shady… sometimes too shady. With all that being said, I love watching the scenes with her daughters because she is such a wonderful mother.

4. Ashley Darby
Ashley was by far my favourite in season one, and she would’ve been higher on this list had it not been for her husband. Ashley is gorgeous, not scared to get into a scrap if needs be, and is completely messy, which she admits to being. I do however frown at her being completely blind to Michael’s actions, and some might even argue that she enables it.

3. Katie Rost
Katie is an interesting case. At first I didn’t take to her that much in season one, but as that season went on, she grew to be one of my favourites. And after two seasons away, she came back in as a FOH in season four and was absolutely my most favourite thing about that season. She’s so unapologetically herself and somewhat blunt… she’s Katie Rost.

2. Karen Huger
If you’re a RHOP fan then you know you’re either Camp Gizelle or Camp Karen. Considering that Gizelle has already been rated, then you know that I’m definitely Camp Karen. Much like her counterpart, Karen definitely understands the assignment, and the Grand Dame almost epitomises what RHOP is.

1. Monique Samuels
Monique is by far my favourite of the franchise. She has the wealthy housewife lifestyle that us fans love, but also keeps the part of her identity that she was raised with, and I think that’s something to really be admired. Everything that a Real Housewife should be Monique was, and although season five’s events led to her departure, Monique to me is definitely one of the realest housewives of any franchise.

With season six officially finished, I eagerly anticipate season seven and hope that any cast changes shake up the show’s dynamics to bring even more reasonable shade!

– by The Black Widow

You Don’t Need to Tell Me I’m Fabulous

At the risk of sounding overly offended/PC…

I have had an issue with people describing me with certain words for almost my entire life, and it wasn’t until recent that I understood why. And no, I’m not referring to people insulting me or calling me names because I tend to let that bounce off the thick skin I’ve built over the years as a queer POC.

If you don’t know me, then to summarise myself, I would say that I am an extrovert-introvert mix; when I am extroverted, I can be loud, brash, and the life of the party; when I am introverted, I keep to myself and like spending quality alone time. My introvert side is reserved for when I am at home or in a comfortable place, so when I am among friends and family, then my extrovert side comes out, and that is the side of me people tend to see.

I am carefree in that I wear whatever I want without fear of judgment or conforming to gender expectations. I like to put a lot of effort into my appearance – again without conforming to gender expectations – so as a cis male, I regularly get my eyelashes/nails/hair done, among other things. So one would look at me and make an easy assumption that I am very exuberant, bubbly, free-spirited, and outgoing. I fuck with these adjectives as they are, in a general sense on a surface level, very accurate.

Some of the adjectives that I have issue with (which is not an all-inclusive list), however, are fabulous and flamboyant. Let me tell you why.

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This is an actual flamboyance. SOURCE: Charity Davenport’s Flickr photostream

Dictionary.com defines fabulous as:
adjective
1) Informal. exceptionally good or unusual; wonderful; superb.

With that definition, the word fabulous can describe a lot of different things, and a lot of different people. A flashy Lambourghini could be described as fabulous. Chris Hemsworth could be described as fabulous; I mean look at the man.

However pop culture has determined that this word is reserved for two groups of people: large female personalities, and large queer male personalities, and thus lies the “issue” I have with being called fabulous.

To me, when someone calls me fabulous, it’s somewhat of a microaggression because really they’re just calling me “super stereotypically gay” and they don’t know how else to say it because society has conditioned them to believe that only people like me and Sharpay Evans can be fabulous. I could opt to wear a more conservative outfit like a pair of trackies and a t-shirt and sit quietly in the corner on my phone, but because I still retain my sexual orientation, I would still be described as “fabulous” even though there’s nothing exceptionally good or unusual about my presentation.

Furthermore, Dictionary.com defines flamboyant as
adjective
1) strikingly bold or brilliant; showy:
2) conspicuously dashing and colorful:
3) florid; ornate; elaborately styled.

Even though the dictionary definition of flamboyant could be used to describe a lot of things much like the word fabulous can, I can assure you that the first thing that popped in your head upon reading the word was a gay man wearing a bold pink outfit throwing feathers and glitter around because that’s society’s definition of flamboyant.

The word ‘flamboyant’ is a more blatant case or microaggression than the word ‘fabulous’ in that over-the-top women are barely ever described as flamboyant, if ever; this word is almost solely reserved for the “stereotypically gay males”.

One could make the argument that I have a very similar (extroverted) personality to Gizelle Bryant from Real Housewives of Potomac, but because she’s a cis female, she would never be described as flamboyant, whereas that adjective would be thrown at me like darts on a board.

I remember I was once in a class for uni and my lecturer at the time described a female student, who on the surface level had a very similar personality to me, as ‘bubbly and outgoing’, and then turned to me and said ‘flamboyant’.

I didn’t like it at the time, and I couldn’t put my finger on why I didn’t like it. It’s because it’s an adjective that society has reserved solely for gay/queer men, and like the term fabulous, it’s a microaggression that people use to describe someone when “over the top gay” isn’t appropriate or PC.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that it’s offensive to refer to someone as fabulous or flamboyant when really there is a compliment painted in that word. My main gripe with it as that when these words are used as a light-hearted way to just essentially call someone gay/queer, then you are pigeonholing that person into being just what their sexual orientation is.

We as members of the LGTBQI+ community have so much more to offer than just our sexual orientation. I have many friends within the community, and their sexual orientation or little microaggression terms like fabulous or flamboyant are not within the top 20 words I would use to describe them, and I would hope my friends think the same of me.

I am strong and resilient as I have bounced back from numerous hardships in my life.
I am fiercely loyal to my family and friends.
I am outgoing and love meeting new people.
I speak before I think, which can result in me either sounding really blunt, or really ditzy.

I am many several things before I am just pigeonholed into being queer.

– by The Black Widow

What RHOD Needs to Make a Comeback

I’m still grieving guys. Give me a moment.

By now we have all heard the news that Real Housewives of Dallas has been placed on an indefinite hiatus and has not been renewed for a season six yet. This may not come as a shock to some huge Bravo fans as RHOD was one of the less popular franchises, but I personally really enjoyed RHOD and thought it had some great potential.

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There are many factors that could contribute to Bravo’s decision to not renew RHOD as of now, including low ratings and controversy surrounding the show with accusations of racism and xenophobia. But I don’t think the franchise is entirely dead, and if some changes are made, I believe the franchise could make a comeback within the coming years much like Real Housewives of Miami has done.

Here are five suggestions I have for RHOD to come back fighting strong. Because let’s be honest, we all need to see D’andra do more random shit, and we all need some more iconic Stephanie Hollman one-liners.

1. Kameron needs to go
Whether you believe these are reports or just rumours, there has been speculation that Kameron’s falling out with Tiffany Moon after season five was so bad that Kameron tried to give Bravo an ultimatum: if you want me on season six, then you need to fire Tiffany Moon. Given that ultimatum, the decision is really quite simple: get rid of Kameron, keep Tiffany. Kameron offers next to nothing to the show, has a really pretentious manner, and nitpicks at really small things to try seem ‘housewifey’ when her attempts fall flat (her bringing receipts to the season five reunion thinking she was funny or shady yet everyone else was bored with it). Tiffany was a ball of fun, wasn’t scared to say what was on her mind, and wasn’t against the drama. Really you’re comparing an Hermes handbag to something you can find in K-Mart. See ya later, Kameron.

2. Brandi and Stephanie no more?
On top of getting rid of Kameron, I feel as if my favourite Bravo friendship may have to come to an end as well. Brandi Redmond took to social media to say she wouldn’t be interested in coming back to the show, and to be honest I don’t think there’s a space for her anyway. Her abysmal season five served her downfall and I think not coming back is best for her and the show. As much as I love her, I don’t know if Stephanie could be as strong a housewife if Brandi isn’t on the show with her. She was beautiful and hilarious, but playing the peacekeeper for as long as she did can only do her so well.

3. New stars, new Housewives
Taking the above into consideration, I really think RHOD could benefit from having new faces and a seven-housewife cast. The more housewives, the more drama, and I think drama is what RHOD has been lacking since Leeanne left. If Kameron and Brandi are gone, and let’s say for the sake of this argument that Stephanie is also gone, that leaves four new spots for four new housewives to reach a seven-person cast. With new faces comes new drama, and new dynamics that could come into play to bring that spark back to RHOD. But speaking of introducing new faces…

4. Welcome back Cary!
Introducing four brand new faces would be a very bold move for the franchise to make if they were going to do four new housewives + three existing housewives. In saying that, their best option to counterbalance that is to bring back a former housewife plus three new faces, and of the three choices we have (Tiffany Hendra, Leeanne Locken and Cary Deuber), Cary is definitely the best bet. She was funny and witty and so glamorous, and she wasn’t afraid to bring the heat when the occasion called for it. Her bone collecting skills leave a bit to be desired, but I think bringing Cary back into the fray would be a nice change for the show.


5. The Housewives need to pull their weight
There’s no denying that in the early seasons, Leeanne Locken really carried the show. She was the catalyst for most if not all of the drama, and her funny one-liners and explosive moments really made the show. Essentially, it felt like the Leeanne show ft. the other housewives. This was until D’andra started carrying her own from season three onwards, and then Tiffany Moon helped with the load in season five. Brandi contributed a bit, Cary was okay, Stephanie was essentially moral support, and Kameron and Kary gave nothing to the show. For a Real Housewives franchise to be continuously successful, it needs all of the housewives to pull their weight. They can’t just rely on D’andra and Tiffany for the ratings and the success. Maybe they can all take a lesson from Kyle Richards in the art of ghost producing.

While I wouldn’t say that RHOD is my all-time favourite Real Housewives franchise, it’s definitely up there as a show that I really loved and enjoyed and I don’t want to see it fail anytime soon. Here’s to hoping that this indefinite hiatus is only a short-term thing and we can get back to seeing D’andra do some funny ass shit on our screens again.

– by The Black Widow