Tuesday, May 26

Fifteen Minutes of Fame...Uh, make that Ten.


I remember the day fox news called me to do the Morning show in NYC, I was both excited and terrified. Excited because it is a nationally syndicated show with an enormous viewership, but terrified because I didn't want my open marriage to be made into a farce in front of millions of people. After a brief phone interview, they gave us 2 days notice to pack and arrange daycare. My baby was only 7 months old and still nursing, so I had to pump milk in the airport. There was a limo waiting when we arrived at JFK and it brought us to a glorious historic hotel in the middle of time square. The way they gave us a meal stipend at the front desk made feel like a star or something.

After a beautiful night on the town with some friends in the big city, the limo took us into the studio where we were fed a continental breakfast and ushered into a room with a professional hair stylist who simultaneously curled and straighten my hair. And then there was a seperate room for make-up; where they airbrushed my face and neck. While I was being groomed and quaffed, Michael wandered around the studio doing recognisance to find the counter-point for the show. We were supposed to be the "pros" of open marriage and the "con" would come from a psychologist who felt that in all her years of work, she had never seen it actually work. She felt poly was a precursor to divorce.

During our preparation, we established a fast friendship with a tall and charming woman named Brigita Philippedes, who is one of the founding leaders of Poly NYC (Which is probably the largest Poly organization in the world.) We all hung out together and told jokes while waiting in the green room before being called onto set. When asked what my intention was for the show, I wanted to be clear and confident and wanted spirit to be gentle with me as this was my first experience on National TV.

Throughout the studio there were several live television sets where we could watch the dramatic in depth segment on an eating disorder called "diabolemia." This is a relatively new condition where people with type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need, so that they don't get fat. It was a pretty heavy segment, and one of the producers suggested that we remember to have fun and keep things light while on set. When our time arrived, another producers with a head set and a walky-talky ushered us into the wings of the live set and introduced us to our celebrity hosts. "You're on in 2 minutes, One, thirty seconds...

And then the doors flew open and there was a big scream... "Call the medic. Diabetic fit in the second row." A woman fell out of her seat in the live studio audience. "Does anyone have any juice?" The director calls..."Run the emergency roll…" And then we are asked to sit down on the set as they play a 10 minute celebrity interview that was previously recorded to be used on such occasion. During the taping the producers scrambled to cut our 15 minute segment down to five minutes and announced that the counter-point sit would not have time to speak. So Michael and I shared a love seat with Brigita and everyone had just enough time to introduce ourselves and make the point that yes, jealousy comes up, but so do many opportunities for more love. We were cut off and it was announced that we were going to be interviewed in their video blog, but after the show, they were too busy taking care of the diabolemic woman...

As we wrapped up, I got a strong sense that it all unfolded in divine order. There was the relief of having finished, and there was the Revelation that a shortened time slot means there was no counter point and less controversy. Big Sigh and gratitude. Spirit had answered my prayers.

Immediately after the show, we decided to go out to eat with Brigita and her friends. When we all jumped into the same limo,The producers raised an eyebrow and asked is it always that easy to make friends when your open? Ultimately, she wasn't nearly as surprised as the limo driver who eavesdropped on our conversation on how to take over the world with free love. When crossing the street to a busy NY restaurant, several random people called out: "Hey we saw you on TV this morning...Good Job!" And they cheered and clapped. Over lunch we discovered that Brigita and I have a lot of friends and lovers in common, including REiD and other community leaders. That afternoon we met up for coffee with REiD and de-briefed the experience. He gave us a few tips from his experience of dealing with the Media, and reminded us that no matter what happens, all press is good press.

When I got home, I got mixed reviews from my peers. Many people congratulated me for looking beautiful, but felt I didn't say anything new. Several strangers sent mean and scathing words which I've since learned to recognize as "Hate mail." I didn't mind so much about the Christian fundamentalists who feel my lifestyle is an abomination, it's the poly activists I didn't want to let down. Apparently, many poly folk were offended by the subtitled labels under our name, which read,"Michael McClure & Kamala Devi in a polyamorous relationship: the New Swingers." Many of our friends felt that marginalized our relationship. I was crushed. Now some of my friends, and people who don't even know me feel I'm making things worse for the movement. Crushed, I took my heavy heart into my bedroom, pulled the covers over my head and cried. After allowing a reasonable pity party, Michael, bless his soul, pulled the covers off my head and said: "Kamala, you say you want to stop playing small, well, this is what it's like to play big in the world. If you don’t piss a few people off, you're probably not taking big enough risks." And that's exactly what I needed to hear. I got down on my knees and took a vow:

"Great Spirit, you know my desire is to be a voice for freedom and love in the world. I'm no longer attached to what that looks like, I ask that you use me as your instrument. Whatever it takes, I'm willing to be mis-understood; I'm willing to be mis-represented. If you're willing to use me on your behalf, I'm willing to show up."

1 comment:

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