Putting a story to bed

Having long been a Pink fan (I’ve blogged about her often), I was happy to see her latest [adorable] Ellen interview, where the uber-talented singer admits her 3 1/2 year old daughter Willow has a bit of a potty-mouth on her. As the mom to a daughter the same age, I had to laugh hearing her reaction to the tiny tot’s F-bomb and watched the video twice.

After my under-the-weather husband crashed at 9:30 last night (seriously!) I found myself randomly Googling her recent videos and articles, fascinated that we are the exact same age and while her accomplishments are beyond anything I could ever dream of, she also sounds like a pretty normal woman, wife and mother.

However, I noticed quickly that in nearly every article about Pink — no matter the topic (music, motherhood, fitness, body image, etc.) the fact that she and her husband “separated in 2008 and got back together in 2009” was included somewhere in the copy.

No matter that the couple has been together since 2001 (and married since 2006), or that they have not separated since that temporary split back in ’08, or that they are very public about their [perfectly imperfect] love for one another (and their daughter) through their photojournals on Instagram and Twitter  … in spite of all this, nearly every article I read about her included this unnecessary little blurb about their split.

Likewise, I noticed something similar when Blake Lively announced her pregnancy. Every article about Blake and Ryan Reynolds mentioned that he had previously been married to Scarlett Johannson — who just had her first child. And that is relevant to Ryan and Blake because … why?!

In the digital age, the “why” is pretty obvious: SEO — these celeb rags want clicks and page views and one way to get it is to link back to the names of anyone that might have ever been in their lives — no matter how irrelevant they are to the person’s life story.

And in both of these cases, I think it’s wrong to keep bringing up the unnecessary, irrelevant nuggets of their pasts: in the case of Pink and Carey Hart, they are happily married and rehashing the past serves no purpose. And in the case of Ryan, the knowledge that he has been married before has absolutely zero bearing on his current marriage or the future of his unborn child.

Wrong as I think both examples are, it got me thinking. Some stories are just never going to go to bed. We will always know Monica Lewinsky for her blue dress. Britney (then) & Amanda Bynes (now) going crazy. Theresa Guidice for her signature table-flip (unless she one-ups herself in jail). Martha Stewart for her house-arrest ankle bracelet. These are their public-facing stories / stigmas. Not the whole picture, of course, but the part people remember, the stories that never get tucked away on a shelf to collect dust. They’re there, 24/7, in spite of any other successes.

And though Ryan and ScarJo ended in divorce, it’s undeniably part of both of their private life stories. Likewise, although Pink and her husband reconciled, there was a time when they had been separated; it’s written in the annals of their marital history — the difference being, there’s no reason to publicize it on every single article written about them!

Of course, this made me think of my disordered eating /over-exercising past — how it is still very much a part of me, and even though it doesn’t define me (and hasn’t been a part of my life since 2009), my thinking is subconsciously influenced by that  past. Long ago I decided to just own it, for better or for worse … so  if I were writing my own “boiler plate,” my recovery — and whatever stigma still surrounds it — would most certainly be there. And while I wouldn’t want to be reminded of it every time I open up a magazine, most of the public-facing writing or interviews I’ve done have been around this topic — which means I have continued to put it out there, that piece of my “story.”

In fact, just today I was asked what my blog is about, and it was impossible to explain without first divulging what the blog started out as, and how it morphed to the identity-less (at times) “thing” it is today. It’s undeniably part of my story … and it’s not something I can easily “X” out of; it’s there.

I’m just lucky that my name isn’t splashed over the tabloids, with the story-that-won’t-die constantly attached to me. In that sense, I feel very, very lucky.

How about you? Is there a story from your life that just won’t go away? Does it bother you that you’ll always be reminded of it in one way or another?


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