Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Pathetic. Jealous. Hater. Liar. Ugly. Fake. Broke. Bitch. Hoe.
These are just a few of the names I've been called repeatedly since Football Wives premiered two months ago. I joke that I can always tell when a rerun is airing because the name calling picks up on the social networking sites. Honestly, those are just the names I care to repeat - I've been called much, much worse by folks on blogs, twitter, and Facebook. I've had people say they hope Ryan and I get divorced and/or go broke and lose our home. A while back, someone made an incredibly inappropriate comment about us having a special needs child that made me speechless. I do what I can to block and avoid the repeat offenders on Facebook and Twitter, but the comments are there and often hard to miss.
When I signed on to be a part of the cast, Ryan and I had a talk about the implications of being a part of Football Wives. There would be wonderful benefits - getting to hang out with the ladies and have fun, promoting autism awareness, maybe going on a cast trip somewhere fun and exciting. I was also well aware of the fact that not everyone would like me and I would have to try to prepare myself for the negativity. We experienced this positive vs. negative dichotomy during Ryan's football years. Everyone loves football players, but when things are going bad for the team or you make a mistake on the field, you're everyone's worst enemy. That can be the loneliest feeling. Fans are especially brutal on team fan pages and message boards. I am now experiencing what Ryan did for all of those years - and I understand now why he wouldn't log in to see what folks were saying about him or the team.
My mom called me a couple weeks ago crying. She heard what people were saying on the blogs and she told me she was worried. She cried - I'm her daughter, the wife of Ryan Neufeld, mom to Will and Bryn - not a hoe, slut, groupie, etc. She couldn't believe what she was hearing and that people could be so cruel.
We spent four brutally hot Texas summer months shooting Football Wives. Being on the cast was work - there were some days when we'd have three or four shoots on the same day, all while trying to continue to maintain our "reality" - going to work, taking care of the kids. It was hard and exhausting. After the first couple of weeks of shooting, the different character personalities started defining us and what our roles were to be. Chanita was the loud, dramatic one. I was the broke, anorexic, alcoholic. Brittany was just the girlfriend. Melani was the calm, quiet one. Amanda was the loving giver - there was always really good food at Amanda's house when we shoot on location in Starwood.
Problem with these labels is that they were often wrong and inaccurate. Let's start with me - I'm skinny, but certainly not anorexic. I like to drink on occasion - true alcoholics drink a lot everyday if I'm correct. Lastly, I'm broke. Well, not quite. We don't have money like we used to but our bills are getting paid. We won't be taking any fancy vacations any time soon, but we certainly aren't broke. And this is where the ones who obsess and wait for me to post get going. If I've gone off on Pilar in an episode, I'm now the broke-*ss alcoholic who has had too much to drink. I'm not an alcoholic - far from one - but I had to learn I can't defend myself everytime someone defames me. I signed up for some of this by agreeing to be on the cast - I just wasn't prepared for it.
When I hear the words being used towards me, I initially laugh because they are so inaccurate. But when you hear the words over and over, oftentimes coming from the same set of people, it starts wearing down on you. It gets old and you hate to spend time trying to defend the truth. Then you realize you can't. I get mad and sad. I haven't wanted to get out of bed and face the day sometimes because of the cyberbullying directed at our cast, but had to because of the kids and work. These have been comments made by people who are complete strangers, people who don't know me, who question why I was on the show. I wonder if these bullies even watch the show. Some of them don't - they rant about things that don't even happen in an episode.
We had four months of film that an editing team sliced and diced into 8 22-minute shows. That's no easy feat. Hours upon hours of footage on the cutting room floor with less than 3 hours worth of television good enough to make our Football Wives product to sell. I was happy when I was asked to write the blogs for the show - I realized something like this was needed to fill in viewers about what pieces of the puzzle were missing on the cutting room floor.
I spend a lot of time on my VH1 blogs - it usually takes a good two to three hours to complete one entry (none are compensated for). These blogs are MY blogs - it's my forum to tell viewers what they might have missed. Why was Chanita so mad with me? Why did I throw the cookie? Why Pilar didn't go to the hospital. I spent so much time writing these blogs hoping people would truly be able to enjoy the show with the missing pieces. Instead, my blog has become a breeding ground for vultures waiting to bounce and tear up my blog the minute it's posted. Note that I didn't say they wait until they read it - their comments don't have anything to do with what I'd written about. I hear stuff like this a lot, "Dawn is so jealous and hates Pilar." I'm pretty sure you can find that post somewhere under my Football Wives blog after the football game. The same people come in week after week and say the most horribly degrading things. The language is terrible - I certainly don't think they would speak to a family member or someone they love this way. The anononymity of the internet has become a frightening beast - people can do so much damage when they have no self control. They say what they say without consequence.
On a recent day after a brutal internet lashing after Football Wives aired, I was feeling pretty down. One can only take so much abuse - they will eventually crack. The stuff that went on with Pilar while filming is nothing compared to the horrible experience Football Wives has since become. People are tired of the drama - they don't want to see us fighting anymore. Well guess what? ME TOO! But I have absolutely no control over that - the folks that edit the show have that privilege. Maybe they are the more appropriate parties to denigrate.
At the end of the day, it's a reality show made for television. In my blog, I write what I experienced and what really happened. People might have their own ideas of what could or should've happened - they should go write their own blog. I'm going to keep writing me - and people should learn to lighten up.