I haven’t been able to go on Tumblr for more than a minute in the last couple days because of what this is bringing up for me. Seeing the attitudes that Zach’s family is displaying online has become a trigger for me, sinking me right back into the horrors of dealing with a homophobic family because I went through that with someone who did not come out of it OK.
Love does not always win. It’s not magic. That’s why people need to find strength, find community, and hear about other people who have found workable solutions and such when they’re going through this kind of thing.
All of us have different reactions as we’re observing Zach’s possible situation, some casually assuming he’s an adult who will do as he pleases without his family relationships being actually affected, some wanting to just have fun watching to see if he hooks up with Frankie, some seeing themselves in him in various ways, some recognizing signs of a complete change in behavior. We’re all moved by this, in different ways.
Here’s the thing about the aftermath of a reality show:
You’re seeing a story unfolding. You feel helpless that you can’t do anything about it or do anything to help. And you can’t dismiss it as fiction.
Studies show that when you read or watch fiction stories, your subconscious actually absorbs the same exact feelings you would if it were actually happening to you. Except when it’s over, then you can regroup and assess and analyze. You gain insight. You’re not traumatized in your psyche or your life the way you would be if it had really happened to you.
When it is real, when it’s a story you are hearing about real people, you can’t do that regrouping and assessing and analyzing like you do with a fictional story. You know that it’s real, and what’s more; you can’t do one single thing to help those people.
If you were hearing this story because you met this person, someone in Zach’s shoes, you would be able to reach out to him and do something to help.
But these are people from a show, minor celebrities, and that’s why you’re hearing their stories. You can’t do anything to help. You can’t dismiss it as fiction. You are forced to just sit and watch a possible tragedy unfold and you are helpless.
That’s what’s bothering a lot of us right now, I think.
Those of us who know just how tragic this can be for Zach.
Those of us who know just what could be going through Zach’s mind and psyche right now as he goes through this.
We’re helpless, and we hurt because we are pretty sure he’s hurting, and it’s real and not fiction, but we can’t reach out, we can’t do a damn thing but watch in fear for him. If he goes off and lives his life authentically, will it cause a rift in his family?
The one thing we know for sure is that he now has a very different ideology about some things than his parents do. He had his eyes opened in that BB house and it changed his perspective on some things, and he made a big deal of saying that, more than once. After he got out of the house, his parents have repeatedly made their opposite views on the subject clear, publicly. So is Zach going to hold his new perspective inside, hidden, or is he going to risk forever changing his relationship with his family? It’s so painful.
So when I looked in the tag and saw a ton of people tone-policing each other, telling people to just be optimistic and not worry about Zach’s parents, as if to tell people to “stop complaining” or “stop jumping to conclusions” or something, I have to say, it angered me.
These are serious issues that a ton of people who are obviously interested in Zach and Frankie for a reason have been dealing with in their own lives or in their friends’ lives, and where else but Tumblr can you talk it out without being constantly silenced by the majority always dismissing you as silly and too sensitive?