Stigmas get spread far too easily, I think it’s important to step back and try to find some empathy for folks who cast stones and make an effort to understand. Then speak up for what you believe in a respectful and meaningful way. If you just go off spouting back you are no better than those casting the stones, and it’s a waste of energy. Speak up with actions or words, respectfully.
Steve Harvey recently had a segment that was brought to my attention that I feel I have to use as an example (I have to admit I didn’t know Steve Harvey had a show, I only know him as the Family Feud guy…). It’s here if you care to see, watch to the end if you will.
Being in the tiny house realm for a while it has been interesting to see… First they were a joke, but not a central one, hardly anyone knew of a tiny house and it was rare to find someone who didn’t openly make fun of the idea, even if they didn’t know they were. Then things got really trendy, shows were made, lots of people got on board with the idea… because for lots of people it makes sense! I’ve noticed recently that the pendulum is swinging back the other way. There is a whole slew of articles coming out that shame tiny houses and tiny housers!
I was personally been interviewed by a large website just before the New Year. They contacted me, straight out told me they are looking for the ‘dirty side’ of tiny house living, they are ‘tired of the rainbows and sunshine stories being told’ but [the best part] that they ‘are having a hard time finding someone who lives tiny to ‘tell them the truth’!!! I found this to be extremely sad yet funny that right off the batt, they say that they have contacted MANY people and can’t get the story that they want so they are continuing to try to find someone who fits their idea… me.
Fortunately I am versed enough in these interviews to see this as a warning sign that I need to be firm. I spent just shy of an hour chatting with her. The interviewer continually tried to get me to say certain things, when I wouldn’t she started making her own sentences up saying ‘would you agree?’ after. She was desperately searching for a quote that fit her agenda so she could place my name next to it but ALL of it was so wildly far from the truth. We both ended the ‘interview’ frustrated, neither of us got the other to see their side, I felt like I wasted my own valuable time, she didn’t get what she wanted. The story just came out a week or two ago and it was riddled with far fetched examples and straight up misleading and misquoted ‘information’, but it fit her agenda… I felt bad for the subjects in the article because I have unfortunately been in their shoes, the subject of a less than flattering story… it happens all the time! (I won’t link the story because I would hate to perpetuate that sort of thing by helping to up the traffic that sees it with a link)
This person called themselves a journalist yet called me looking to wrap me around her story rather than calling me and finding out the story. ‘Her editor’ (the person she blamed it all on) had an agenda and they just needed a person to pin it on. I am glad I was not that person this time.
Back to the point of this… I am all for tiny house coverage. Facts, opinions, for AND against the idea/movement, whatever you call it. It’s a big decision, it’s best looked at from all angles! Unfortunately, we are flooded with opinions stated as facts and now I am noticing public figures openly bashing things which are very clearly not researched at all. The part that bothers me is that opinions are being stated as facts. I think unless you have been on the other side it’s hard to know just how far these things have gone off course, so many people have yet to learn that and so they trust certain sources (in my experience, the bigger the outlet the more likely it’s skewed…). Please be careful what you read and honestly, take ALL of it with a grain of salt.
Steve Harvey flat out made me mad. He’s not a news guy, I know. I get that he is a comedian, it’s his job to make people laugh. He may have had a bad experience with homelessness, that is TOTALLY a different topic. It’s my feeling that a public figure has an ethical obligation to at least consider things from more than one angle before influencing the direction of his audience. Honestly, I didn’t agree with any of his ‘points’, they sounded like someone who heard of this idea an hour before cameras went on [may be true], but none of it was anything I hadn’t already heard… until the end. ‘My dreams are too small’. ‘I’m stupid’.
Completely uncalled for. I do not know of a single group of people whom it is ok to say that to and/or about. That is not funny and if you have to resort to insulting people you should re-evaluate your comic ‘skills’, and that is setting aside all his ‘Christian values’ constantly preached. His piece on tiny houses was ignorant, dismissive and rude. There are people who want tiny houses, who find hope in the idea, who struggle, he just made them feel bad about themselves… I face no hardships and he made me feel a little bad about myself, it takes me a second to realize that it only reflects on him, not me and not us.
I want people to know, nearly everything he stated to justify his opinion was completely counter to reality (you don’t work your whole life away for a tiny house, you have a tiny house so you don’t have to work your whole life away, as an example). People are allowed to have different dreams and to make different choices, they shouldn’t be allowed or encouraged (with ratings) to judge others’ decisions and call names.
Unfortunately many people may dismiss what is otherwise a good idea because that his opinion is what they think of when they think ‘tiny house’. The social stigmas are a hard obstacle to overcome and the fact is that there are enough other obstacles to overcome when going down this path without throwing in uneducated opinions…
I just wanted to bring light to the fact that this stuff happens, Mr. Harvey, the ‘journalist’, those things reflect on those individuals, their integrity and their character and the character or the network/outlets they work for. It’s good to have critics (they make you fight for what you believe) but it’s much better to find your helpers. When you have your support system it’s easier to shrug off these types of characters… It’s very important though, no matter how insulted you feel that you don’t stoop to the same level, that is unproductive for everyone. Keep your integrity, hold your head high, do what is best for you because it is YOUR life, there is a great big tribe of folks that will back you on the decision to go tiny. Pick your tribe carefully (and in this century our tribe can and may include these public figures), you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with… it might be time to turn the channel. Bigger is definitely not always better! Tiny dreams are plenty big enough! I know that from experience!