So this is slightly off topic from what I would usually write about, but considering it was one of the biggest events in my life to date, and probably what I’ve been asked the most about - I felt the best way to get back into my blog again was to go through everything Big Brother and discuss the full experience and why I decided to go on the show.
Why did I do it?
It does seem quite a random thing for me to do considering it goes against a lot of what this blog discusses, however the original concept of ‘Big Brother’ is the social experiment. A group of complete strangers living in a house completely cut off from the rest of the world, no clocks, no money, no outside contact, just each other and 2 months of nothing but time. This is what initially interested me, as someone who writes (a lot) I felt this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience something that only a few ever have. It was a chance to get to know - not only a group of people that on the outside world I would have never met - but also myself, it’s the most intense and raw way of exploring your own brain because in there, we don’t have the luxury of distractions that we often use as a crutch in normal life to avoid dealing with things we don’t want to deal with. There’s no mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching films to kill time when you’re feeling bored. You’re very much left completely alone in dealing with every single thought and feeling you have with no other choice than to feel it and think it. The idea of all this is very scary and also exciting because I had no idea how I would react in these conditions, no one can ever know how they’ll deal with this sort of experiment. As I’ve been trying to incorporate Buddhism into my life for many years now, I felt the best way to put everything I’d been learning and practicing to the test was to do this and see if I could still cope with one of the least natural circumstances a human can be in, in the most natural way possible.
This was probably what the majority of us were most scared of, being with 13 strangers for potentially 53 days is a frightening concept. They have the power to make or break your whole experience. On the outside we’re used to having daily contact with the people that we choose to have contact with, so now imagine you have no choice over who you can speak to for 2 months. The ability to meet a person, decide they aren’t someone you’d want to spend time with and then not have them in your life is not something you’re able to do in there. You’re pretty much forced into finding common ground with people that you (on the surface) have absolutely no common ground with. I thought this would be very difficult. However this is one thing that the show has changed my perspective on completely. There were people in the house that after meeting for the first time I automatically decided weren’t 'my kind of people'. As humans we think we kind of have an idea of the kinds of people we get on with and the kinds of people we don’t, so we held each other to these standards at first. It was very much a process of spending time around these same people constantly and forming unlikely friendships and bonds that made my experience what it was. I formed deeper connections within days of being in the house than I have with some of the friends I’ve had on the outside for years. The house friendships are forged on un-explainable bonds, you’re essentially all alone together and it became a family almost immediately, in every family there’s people you aren’t as close to and wouldn’t talk to about particular things and then there’s people you want to spend all your time with, but the one connection you all have that keeps you sane is that you’re family and after living under the same roof for 2 months - We pretty much were. As I mentioned before, with there being no form of stimulus like TV’s, phones, films books or even pens!!!! These people essentially are your everything for the duration of your time in the house, you quite literally have nothing better to do than become best friends and its amazing how close you become to people when you aren’t sitting on your phones. The fact that 13 perfect strangers from all different countries and walks of life could become best friends simply by giving a shit and listening to one another was groundbreaking for me. I know we all came out to a lot of strong opinions on our friendships and that’s not surprising as the public were watching every day and forming bonds with the ‘characters’ from the show. However what’s easy to forget is that we weren’t characters, we were real humans making real friendships over a period of 2 months and naturally bonds change and reform and circumstances differ. The 53 hours of footage in total shown to the public, is, as you can imagine, somewhat different from the 1272 hours that everyone who lived in the house experienced. So to try and explain and justify a lot of the actions, conversations, nominations and opinions we have on the other housemates is nearly impossible for anyone to understand.
Day to day life and emotions
Going into the house I didn’t think too much about the concept of there being nothing to do in there, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea of having literally nothing to do at all because nowadays there’s always something to do, whether that be the act of picking your phone up or simply walking to a shop or texting a friend. Although we all learnt the definition of NOTHING to do very quickly in the house. Time seems to go a lot slower when you never know what time it actually is, we couldn’t create routines at all because we were woken up at different times everyday by artificial lighting and told to sleep when the lights went off, so we had literally no control over what the days consisted of. This makes all of your emotions and days extremely intense, it’s hard to ever feel truly ‘neutral’ because there’s this constant underlying nagging boredom, accompanied by the fact we were being filmed 24/7 and there was always either nominations or evictions looming. I get a lot of messages asking about particular decisions I made within the house or nominations I made or reactions I had to things, but that is one thing I think all of us are completely unable to explain, no one can possibly understand what it’s like to be in that magnified emotional state for so long, we don’t have the same clarity as we do on the outside and it takes a lot more strength to deal with emotions in the house, let alone things that actually evoke real anger or sadness or guilt which is obviously what the tasks are designed to do. I don’t feel I could have completed the show entirely if I hadn’t have practiced Buddhism within the house. I used techniques such a mindfulness to stop worrying about life on the outside and to stop fearing being so out of control of my conditions, you very much have to have an acceptance for how little control you have in there because trying to work things out or regain control within that environment sends you very crazy.
Now it’s a couple of months on and the craziness of the house has died down a bit and I’ve been able to properly reflect on the whole experience, I can safely say it was one of the most incredible, life changing, hardest and amazing things I’ve ever been a part of. I’m so thankful that I had this opportunity and that I got to share it with my best friends. Before entering the house we were given a lot of advice about enjoying the moment and not wishing the time away because we’ll spend the rest of our lives missing being in there and honestly there were multiple times in the house where I would find myself saying there was no way I would miss being so bored and not having access to everything that we have access to normally. However now, I would love to go back and tell myself that ITS FUCKING TRUE, I do miss it, I miss the boredom, the endless hours of lying around different parts of the house, playing i-spy in every single room to the point where we can all still remember how many tiles, cameras and lights and are on each wall of every fucking room. I miss having to tell the time based on where the sun was shining on the bean bags in the garden, I miss getting in to trouble for singing commercial music and getting excited about actually holding chalk whilst doing the shopping list on a Thursday, and the most interesting topic being who had seen a camera man for a few seconds behind the mirror. It’s these tiny insignificant (not even aired) moments that made up our house and our bond and it’s these things that I’ll remember forever, so when the public forget the show and they forget about each of us, I’m thankful we’ll always have each other and the loving space we created for ourselves on that set. That’s the reason we went on the show, we wanted to feel something and we wanted to make other people feel something and having the opportunity to do that was incredible.
Thank you for watching Big Brother 2018!!