My Advice To Bindi: Stop Sharing
Updated: Jun 29
A Simple Life Hack All Celebrities Could Use
Technically Bindi Irwin is an adult, although she’s lived in the limelight for most of her life. It is a truth universally acknowledged that being surrounded by sycophants and the squirming spotlight of fame doesn't generally encourage self reflection or wisdom, but can inspire a lofty ego. Perhaps might even encourage a youngster to consider themselves wiser than they are.
I once read a comment I thought perceptive, along the lines of: the age at which a celebrity becomes famous is the age at which emotional maturity grinds to a halt. Once ensnared by the Bell Jar of fame, they're usually surrounded by groupies and lackies who worship their every fault and foible. I can’t find who said it, so I can’t attribute it, but the notion makes sense.
Obviously, being famous inflates a person's ego. A child is even more susceptible to this, having nothing "normal" to compare fame to. It's unsurprising that famous young people usually seem to believe themselves to be the final arbiters of wisdom.
There have been rumours swirling around Bindi, her mum and her grandad for years. They’re just rumours, and nobody really knows what’s going on. But I do know this: Bindi blabbed about her family on Fakebook. And no good comes of publicly disparaging your kith and kin.
Which other famous family does this remind me of?
There’s a reason adults humour younger people and generally try to spare their feelings, but don’t necessarily give them a bullhorn to broadcast their reactions to the world — wisdom really does come with age. Well, sometimes it doesn’t. But it certainly doesn’t come with being 22 and a celebrity for most of your life.
But perhaps those around her did try to stop her. Perhaps she’s just not listening.
Has Bindi gone Mumzilla on us? Does she feel aggrieved if some don't really care that much about her little bundle of joy?
Many less famous mothers have fallen into this trap. We've all had to mute the 20 photos a day mum. I know there's a myth that grandparents (or great grandparents) can't wait to meet the progeny of their progeny (of their progeny) but oftentimes older people just aren't that interested in the noise and hassle of babies or youngsters, whether related or not. It's like the myth that all women want to be parents. Lots don't. No point in stressing about the way other people feel.
Does she believe that airing her grievances about her grandad on Fakebook is the way to heal wounds? Does she actually think that berating an elderly man for not behaving as she sees fit will end in a positive outcome? Let’s assume for one minute that she is telling the truth and that her grandfather levelled “mental abuse” (not my words) at her — what could she hope to gain by tattling about family business on Fakebook? Or if that's not the end game, does Bindi just want to be validated and, in her own mind, win?
I'm just not seeing any positives from her talking about private family matters publicly.
And by the way, for those who may not be aware, choosing to have nothing to do with someone is not actually mentally abusing them. It’s setting your own boundaries.
But let's imagine for a moment that Bindi's right. Right about everything. Let's assume for a moment, her grandad is a miserable sod.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, those who think it’s their right to demand a detailed explanation and gruesome postmortem of events every time someone just wants nothing to do with you have missed the irony that by enforcing this they would be stripping others of their own rights. It is everyone's right to set their own boundaries. If someone wants freedom from you, take the hint and leave them alone is pretty much all you can do.
And, honestly, if the worst someone has done to you is ignore you, how incredibly fortunate you are. I'm relieved for you that you don't know just how fortunate.
“Although we may not always be able to change the situations in which we find ourselves (or the people we meet), we are in charge of how we interpret events. The attitude we bring to a situation, and the perspective we choose to take, determines how we feel.
It’s well within the capacity of most functioning adult humans to cope with being told no, ignored, or disliked, without sinking into mental despair.
Still, perhaps it’s not all in Bindi's celebrity clouded mind. Perhaps someone did do more than just choose to have nothing to do with her side of the family.
Here’s what she can do about that:
It takes a strong personality, a naturally humble nature, and people close to you who are willing to tell you no from time to time, willing to point out that you’re wrong, to avoid becoming that press hungry blabbermouth who places far too much importance on their own feelpinions.
I’m eternally grateful that the internet didn’t exist when I was young. I was a blabbermouth extraordinaire and would have gotten myself into serious trouble. I'd have created lifelong issues for myself, fanned the fires of feuds now long forgotten.
But at least I wasn’t famous. At least it would just have been Aunty Dorothy, Isabel et al that would have been up in arms, not the whole of the British Isles.
I believe that the families and loved ones of the famous, especially the young and famous, should be strongly encouraging them to do one simple thing:
Staying silent is one of the hardest lessons in the world to learn, and one of the best approaches to family issues, both for the famous and for us mere mortals.
Assuming you don't need third party intervention, eg protective services, or the law, etc and particularly when you have the money and means to simply leave and get on with your life, you've no need to talk to outsiders about family rifts. When you can simply have no interaction with those who have offended you, then do just that. Have no interaction with them. Silently.
Anything else is setting yourself up for a possibly lifelong shitfest of epic proportions, and with the added joy of it being played out in the media.
The only ones winning from the famous who babble about family drama in public are the press.
When you're so fabulously lucky that if you find your inlaws upsetting you can simply walk away from them and carve out a luxurious existence elsewhere, getting on with your life with a bit of grace and humility is also a great look for those photo ops.
Unless, of course, the issue isn’t about just personal contentment. Unless perhaps you want the publicity, for some reason or another. I do hope most of us have learned to discount the foolish notion that there's no such thing as bad publicity. There truly is. The court of public opinion has cancelled many an erstwhile career and caused great harm to many. If they ever come for me - unlikely as that is - I will shut down all internet communications immediately. The Ostrich position saves lives.
The sad irony for those - and perhaps this doesn't apply to Bindi but is a general comment on the famous - who rely so deeply on public validation that they feel moved to air their dirty laundry in public, is that they can never receive enough validation to satisfy them. If you need the public to tell you you're right, you will always be disappointed. There will always be voices telling you how wrong you are, ensuring that the one who needs public approval feels ever more wretched, leading to ever more grandiose gestures. Such as giving interviews to American talk show hosts where they attack their family members in ways that cannot, ever, be forgiven or forgotten.
Bridges, once burned, are burned forever.
Who am I to offer you advice, Bindi? Nobody. Nobody at all. Just an older woman who is very glad that's not my daughter making this mistake. Just someone who has been paying attention, and has a few decades more wisdom and life experience than you do. Just someone who knows of you, as so many Australians do, because of the sterling work of your dad, who feels sympathy for you for growing up without him. Who's glad it wasn't me in that spotlight.
So Bindi, I know you will never read this, but I hope for your sake you mean it when you say you’re taking a break from social media.
Instead of a month, try a year.
And when you come back I hope wholeheartedly you’ve learned one of the hardest lessons in life to learn.
Least Said, Soonest Mended.
Alison Tennent, Queensland, Australia, June 2021
Copyright Alison Tennent 2021, all rights reserved. Scottish by birth, upbringing and bloodline, Australian by citizenship. If you’re reading this anywhere but The Garrulous Glaswegian, Vocal+ or Medium, this work may have been plagiarized.