What Are We So Afraid Of?

Written by Rachel

A few weeks ago, Pink Truth discussion board members were asked to do a T.V. interview for a really cool show and tell the world what’s wrong with Mary Kay and MLM.  This is something many of us have hoped and prayed for, for years.  We have a dual mission here at PT; to warn people of the pitfalls of MLM and prevent harm, and to reach out and support those who have been hurt by it. Getting exposure is important to both goals. Good enough exposure could have the potential to do even more – possibly result in a call for legislation to rein in some of the worst practices.

So when Tracy asked me how I’d feel about being on T.V, I jumped right up, and said… “Not at all comfortable with that.”  And I was not alone. Despite the many people who have come forward and shared their stories and opinions, saying strong, forthright, encouraging, and downright brave things here on P.T, when it came to the T.V. show, it was like pulling teeth for Tracy to find people to do it. I know we have over a dozen active, contributing PT members in the Chicago area and Milwaukee, but in order to find the minimum of 3, including Tracy, to make this work, they had to fly someone in from out of town.

It would have been a shame to let such an opportunity pass, so I had to ask myself, “What am I afraid of, really?” Losing privacy? Looking stupid? Showing too much emotion in public? Being seen as some sort of fanatic — a bitter old failure? Whatever it was, it came down to worrying about what other people will think. Let’s face it, I’m only human. I want people to like me and think well of me.  We’ve all seen how the kaybots paint us as lazy losers, or foolish and weak to allow ourselves to be manipulated.  If other people know what happened, how do I know they won’t think the same thing?

Now that I understood what the fear was, I also knew that the cause was more important than my stupid fear. After all, I’ve been out of MK for years – I’m over it. And I wasn’t in it as long as many, didn’t get in too deep, or do too much that I’m ashamed of. I don’t have a business or public name to protect. I don’t have any close friends or relative still in Mary Kay. It’s probably easier for me than just about anyone at PT.

The morning of filming, I had my hair done as soon as the salon opened. I told my stylist about the show, and he asks (suspiciously, I swear) “So what’s the problem with Mary Kay?” As I talk to him, he nods and says “Mm-hmm”, but I can tell, he’s not buying it. I’m just a little off, making such a big deal of this. Fear confirmed.

I’ve researched the show. I know they make fun of people. And from the interviews, it really looks like some of the people they ridicule don’t know that’s going to happen. Are we sure they’re on our side? Tracy says yes, we’re sure. But I’m still suspicious. I’m paying attention to their reactions to what we’re saying. It’s hard to tell, because mostly they’re just doing their jobs. The director has prepared questions to ask, and crafts his reactions to try to draw something out of us. As for everyone else, part of their job is making us comfortable. But sometimes, you can tell you’re getting a real, spontaneous response. When the director says, “So this is really a sort of con they’re running”, it’s not scripted.  That’s a real (almost surprised) assessment of what I just said.

While watching Tracy’s interview, I can see the camera man shake his head in disgust at the manipulation Tracy describes. That reaction is genuine. They’re talking about how they could make a whole documentary from the material they’re getting here. You can tell they’ve learned something. They’re a little shocked, and excited by what good T.V. this is going to make.

The next day, I talk to some friends about the show. This requires explaining my point of view about Mary Kay. I admit how much money I lost. One friend says, “If you were married to me, I’d have divorced you.” He’s teasing, but he kind of means it, too. But you know what? I’m not even bothered. Some people are going to react that way. This guy is a friend and he likes me anyway. He knows I have flaws, and by God, I know he has flaws, and we still like each other.

And the other two are really listening. I watch their faces as they react. They’re not judging me. One says, “That seems pretty underhanded.” They’re getting it. I say, “I did it, too. I made some bad decisions,” and they respond, “But you didn’t realize it. You don’t realize things like that at the time.”  They get it. They’re not dismissing me – they’ve learned something from me. It feels so good to tell people the truth, in real life, and have them get it. All this time I’ve been writing about it, I’ve been wearing the PT T-shirt now and then (when I’m feeling brave), but I never actually talk to my friends about it. And now… I hardly know what I was so afraid of.

So I did it. I did the thing I was afraid of, and it was good. And, more impressively, an ex-SD who was way deeper into Mary Kay than I was, and more recently, too, if I’m not mistaken, was also courageous enough to do it (brava for her!) And brava for Tracy who arranged this, and inspired us with the courage she shows on PT every day. We finally accomplished something PT-ers have been wanting since day one. This is going to help people. It’s going to work, because (as I’ve now learned), people who aren’t already biased, are going to get it.

So now, I have to ask all you recovering MLM addicts out there, still looking to accomplish your real dream,   What would you do if you were not afraid?