Editor’s Note: This blog entry was written in March of 2011. So, if you found it through a Kelle Hampton Google search, read it and lose your shit, know that you are losing your shit over something that is old news. Also, if you read the previous post about Olga, the orphan with Down Syndrome, her family still needs help to bring her home from the orphanage. You can click on http://savingourstarfish.blogspot.com to donate to this worthy cause. -MO2
I thought about my original theme of “Bloom” and the bizarre intersection of my blog’s fate and Kelle Hampton’s.
Two women couldn’t be less alike than she and I. Yet, somehow, in that show business rule of twos kind of way, we both seized on the idea of “blooming.” We were like “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact.” “Parenthood” and “Modern Family.” “Juno” and “Junebug.” “Dangerous Liasons” and “Valmont.” I’ve always attributed these coincidences in entertainment to the Collective Unconscious (and intellectual property theft). When someone puts enough energy into an idea, that idea drifts into the awareness of other human beings. I know, it sounds very Allison Dubois (another example! “Medium” and “The Ghost Whisperer”), but it’s the kind of healy-feely, “let’s all rub our crystals on the vortex with Eckhart Tolle” kind of stuff I tend to believe in.
An idea I had been kicking around in my head since the fifteen post-wedding pounds I gained (okay, twenty-five, who the hell am I kidding?) was to “bloom” like a divorcee, only without getting a divorce. In the media and my real life, I’d seen enough examples of women who were recently left by their husbands and lost weight, got great haircuts, finally pursued the hobbies they’d ignored for years and generally became the greatest versions of themselves they could be.
As Charlie Sheen would say, just winning.
It is as if somehow marriage had been holding them back all those years instead of operating as a support for all of their dreams and aspirations. Maybe women lose themselves in marriage, and freedom from it can allow them to truly… well, BLOOM.
This train of thought led me to a quote from “The Witches of Eastwick,” wherein Jack Nicholson explains to Cher that when a man unloads a wife, or a woman unloads a husband, “however it happens: death, desertion, divorce – the three D’s – she blooms. She blossoms. Like flowers. Like fruit. She is RIPE. That is the woman for ME.”
About a year ago, a friend of mine got dumped by her husband. I’ve known her for a decade, but the woman who emerged from this experience was unfamiliar to me. Never fat, she lost a bunch of weight and became positively svelte. Always a teacher who produced art, she became an ARTIST. Her success since the divorce has been phenomenal and enviable. Recently, her art was sold in a famous auction, covered by E! News and The Huffington Post.
I have mentioned before that I am my husband’s second wife. He ended his first marriage much the way my above-mentioned friend’s husband ended theirs. He also reported to me afterward that when he saw his ex-wife after they separated, she had lost tons of weight, her skin was cleared up, and she’d taken a job that he never believed she’d have the courage or commitment to take. She bloomed. Although he was not regretful of leaving the relationship (except HOW he did it), he did feel a bit of chagrin that he seemed to have been holding her back all of those years, somehow causing her to be chubbier, more acne-prone, and less brave in her career choice.
And so my thoughts return to Kelle Hampton. I know, I know, you were thinking, “Enough about you and your stupid friend! Write some scathing commentary of that woman!” I recently read up on her blog, the comments, the criticisms of her written on other blogs, and a new, slightly different picture began to emerge for me. I have always said that I dislike the blog because I think it’s exploitative and disingenuous. I still believe that, but differently. I used to think that KH was a wealthy woman, married to a successful many years older man who luxuriated in the lifestyle he provided her. She had her perfect child, then her child with Down Syndrome, and she became one of the most successful mommy bloggers on the internet. She got a book deal, a spread in Parents Magazine, and raked in the cash with Etsy sponsors. She has also made her father, “Poppa” a minor celebrity. Or, I should say, she has provided a platform for him to exercise his narcissism and bask in the admiration of internet strangers who think he is the smartest, funniest, most sincere, blessed by God, loving Poppa anyone could ever have!
If you read KH’s blog and do a little research on her, you see that she was a public school teacher, but quit her job around the time she got married. She had a large, fancy, country club wedding with like nine bridesmaids. Her groom seems shy to me, easily eclipsed by his attention-hungry wife. For some reason amenable to having his daughters’ photos on the internet. There is something in his manner easily detectable in the photographs (in which he almost never appears) and he does not come across as the sophisticated Svengali I originally suspected him to be. His father is a CEO and a professional photographer. Where I first thought there was probably a workaholic millionaire who left his bored, lonely wife alone with her kids a lot, I now think there is a man who watches his two daughters while his high-maintanence, fame-hungry wife works on her “projects” (and probably is the breadwinner of the family).
A recent blog entry was about how she’s a bad housekeeper. I read it on a break at work (totally NOT on company time, I swear), and the photos were blocked by our firewall. If you have not read this blog without the photographs, then you have not fully experienced the dullness of the writing. What happened? I remember when I first started reading it over a year ago. There was some talent there. Some honesty. She wrote about taking Nella to Target for the first time since her birth, and running into a worker there whom she had talked to all throughout her pregnancy. She was nervous about showing the employee her baby. I found it easy to empathize with her because she was so awkward. She didn’t put some Etsy handmade spin on it. It was just this uncomfortable moment between her and a Target worker that had no resolution.
But somewhere after the book deal and the husband quitting his job and the Poppa cult following, Kelle Hampton’s true, authentic writer’s voice is gone. Without the distraction of the photos, you might miss it, because of the photography. I guess it’s really a photo blog and not a literary one. Take the pictures away and the writing is soul-less and formulaic. It doesn’t stand alone. “Gonna” and “gotta” appear frequently.
And I had to laugh my ASS off this morning when I read her blog (forgive me, but there was a link to it on another blog I was reading, and I couldn’t help myself, I am SO BORED), and she wrote two things she couldn’t live without are coffee and kids at her feet, but I accidentally read it as “coffee, kids, and my feet.” And I thought, well, at least she admits it. She and her “ultra ego.” Tee hee hee.
And this is the kind of schlock that makes folks rich.