Flipping Out: I Have Questions For Jeff Lewis

I love Jeff Lewis. As in, love. The ferociously talented interior decorator and star of Bravo’s hit reality show Flipping Out, Lewis is as adorable as he is diagnosable. I profoundly fancy him and want nothing more than to sit him on my couch and have my way with him.

Therapeutically of course.

Jeff openly lives with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), or an inflexible need to strive for perfection including the belief that ones perfectionist ways are right and correct without exception - not to be confused with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or having unwanted and intrusive thoughts and compulsions. It’s good times for sure.

Lewis’ OCPD behaviors and emotionally abusive commentary towards his staff, all in the name of perfection, make my therapist-self salivate with countless questions, the most important being, what are you afraid of more: disappointing someone or being disappointed?

From where I’m sitting, a deeply wired need, want, and emotional requirement for everything to be perfect, can only mean that underneath it all there lives an inner belief that if something falls short then everything falls apart. Including you.



I want to sit with Jeff Lewis, the man who yells and screams at his friends and staff to the point of drawing tears because his fear of being imperfect (and therefore unimportant) is so profoundly intense, and ask him, who led you to believe that you are a disappointment? Where did it all begin? Who told you your value is intrinsically linked to what you do, rather than who you are?

I want to sit with Jeff Lewis, the man who makes fun of his assistant/friend Jenni for rapping and dancing, and suggest to him that his way of connecting to his disconnected free spirited energy is by welcoming and appreciating Jennie in his life, regardless of how many times he roles his eyes. And if he tells me, 'hell no,' I want to respond with…hell yes.

Given Jeff’s constant ability to redeem himself with a deep level of kindness and love towards the people he blatantly disrespects the most, makes me want to ask him about his mom, his dad and his siblings. The kids at school when he was growing up. I want to know if he was bullied, and what they said. I want to support him and help him make sense of his need to vet people by testing their loyalty before letting them into his life, all to avoid the risk of getting hurt.

I want to hug Jeff Lewis. I want to tell him that when I watch him uncomfortably hug his housekeeper Zoila after being horribly mean to her:  I know you’re afraid to fully love her, but she’s not going anywhere. No matter how messy things get.

Maybe one day I’ll sit down with Jeff Lewis, the man whose perfectionist propensities gifts viewers with a new understanding of the beauty of vulnerability. Maybe one day we’ll sit down over a perfect cup of coffee... and I’ll ask him my questions.

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