Zak Waddell was a contestant on ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 9 // Follow on Instagram at @RealZakWaddell
Last night we were marched to the tip of the plank. Like a deer on ice spreading its wobbly 4’s in a plea for stability, the board bowing to the crashing waves below, we are left asking of our Captain… will you make us walk the plank?
By now we know Chris is non-confrontational. Most memorably, Brit asks Chris to respond to her claims of a “lack of integrity”. His mumblings have been the topic of Jimmy Kimmel monologues, morning shows across America, and indecently closure for ousted contestants now seeing a fuller picture of their Bachelor experience. We have seen Chris acquiesce to the determination of two contestants previously sent home. We have seen multiple women kiss Chris, and Chris, willingly participate even when seemingly uninterested. We are starting to ask ourselves, will Chris make a stand? And if he doesn’t, will the Captain have any crew left on his ship?
In times of greatest hope, we seem to trust things will work without any intercession. We trust in the process as well. That peopleare genuine and act through sincerity of emotion. The problem with sympathy is that it can never cross over to empathy. Even if you get on the same emotional wavelength as someone, you can never peer into the source of the emotion… is it coming from a place of purity or is it fabricated in order to manipulate. The topic of Kelsey’s husband’s death is very sensitive to discuss. I think the shocking part for us as viewers is it’s so new. She says the tragic death of her late husband happened in 2013. At the time of filming, it would have been just over a year old.
Kelsey is by profession a licensed counselor. It makes sense to me that she has dulled-out and objectified her grief by the same method she would consult a patient. She speaks of her tragedy as a story she views from above. She waits for an opportunity when she has Chris isolated, completely engaged, before striking. And I say strike purposely. I am calling out the shameful way she kissed Chris after telling her story. Putting aside for a second the dreadful emotional state she must be in, it was unfair to absorb Chris in the dangerous game of blurring the lines of romance/pity. Maybe it’s a petty thing for me to pick on. But I am not the only one that doesn’t trust Kelsey. It’s pretty obvious that the 10 other girls have the same sentiments.
In order for Chris to emerge as our hero and Captain, he must act with a purposeful self-determinism and send Kelsey home. Let’s not have her walk the plank, but send her peacefully away in a lifeboat. This choice will be yours Kelsey. Once you stop your thrashing, we all pray you will come to your senses.
“We just keep saying hello”, Carly; “we are here” says Chris. Carly and Chris are on a date; their first one-on-one date… finally undisturbed… finally alone. Together, disoriented and excited, like the jittery arrow of a misguided compass, Carly and Chris find her. A neo-Jungian by thought, “Love and Intimacy Motivator” by title, Tziporah Kingsbury explains that she will spend the day guiding them through a series of exercises designed to improve intimacy. The “mask”, as Carl Jung defines it “designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual”, is what Tziporah is asking Carly and Chris to remove. In doing this, they will understand each other on a deeper level.
As Jung saw it, “we all drink from the same source”. Our struggle is to define ourselves as individuals when this “source” feeds our collective definition of concepts like beauty, music, and divinity. Evolving over generations the “source” we are currently living under says: beauty is model-thin, music requires simple lyrics and catchy melodies, and divinity is relative. The good news – the world does have a “soul”. One universal source of knowledge we are all seeking and mostly importantly, trending towards over time. In seeking to become The Wise Old Man or the Great Mother, we dive into a “soul” less concerned with the effronteries of Mask and the dogmatic mindlessness of Shadows. The “soul” we uncover is our humanity, pure and brilliant.
Chris is forthright about his lack of romantic connection with Carly up to this point. He is, however, “cautiously optimistic” about that potential being actualized on the date. The exercises are awkward to watch as Carly’s brother, but I can say they are both fully engaged. Chris and Carly beautifully acknowledge each other’s vulnerability and vow to protect it at all cost. As they feel their way clumsily through strange, muddled waters, they emerge enlightened. There is a moment when Carly has her (tiny) hands on Chris’ pant line. Strong but trembling inwardly, Carly loses focus, turning her eyes away with a heavy breath. Chris matches her in peril.
Carly is pitch-perfect. Not only in her unwavering om, but in her resolve. Out of nowhere, my sister is crying. I start tearing up. Carly reveals she is “terrified of physical intimacy”. It is hard to watch her cry, but beautiful to watch her emerge as a women.
Before she left for the show, she told me this was her “big chance”. An opportunity to break free from the rut she was cascading into, a rut where love was mired in doubt. She was promised to be vulnerable, to plunge into uncomfortable situations, and allow herself to believe in love again. As she settled into the evening portion of her day with Chris, this was actualized.
Let me say that I love and respect my sister in a whole new way after last night. She was completely vulnerable in her unwavering hope that love exists: a “reciprocated relationship” in which someone sees her as a beautiful woman. Chris was her escape from her fear of physical intimacy. Chris made her believe it can be found again. Chris and Carly are both to be commended for letting go of their mask. For Chris, “the mask of truly letting myself fall in love and committing to that for the rest of my life”. For Carly, “the fear that I am not worthy of love”.
I thank Chris for his kind, nurturing, paternal nature. And equally, something about Carly made Chris open-up like he hasn’t to this point. “Carly would be the best wife you could ever ask for”, said Chris. I can second that and because of my unique position say, “Carly is the best sister you could ever ask for”. When this is all said and done, my only hope is that she lands in a state of grace… with Chris, or on the path toward a man that loves her as much as I do.