Monday, October 10, 2011
Everyone's A Little Bit Famous
When I was young, I wanted to be a Muppeteer. Then I vaguely wanted to be an actress. Vague because it was the 7th grade and I couldn’t be bothered to really focus on an occupation when no one had even had the decency to kiss me yet. Finally I landed on ad writing and that was the end of that.
The cornerstone of all three professions is my being famous. Copywriting on a much smaller scale, of course. But eventually I’d make an ad that everyone saw. Or that was the goal.
I think this may be a Generation Y complex. Adults told us that we were the best at everything and we deserved to have whatever we wanted. So naturally, if I’m so damn good at...I don’t know, being a human being I guess, then the world should recognize it and make me famous.
I’m ready to admit it, and I think it’s time y’all did, too. It’s why everyone has a blog and a Facebook profile and a Twitter account and a Tumblr and Four Square and on and on and on. We all want to be a little famous. So fine, if it’s 1,000 people on Twitter that see we’re having ketchup for lunch, so be it. It’s still a little famous. You may not be on the cover of InTouch, but at least a few people are listening.
But I always intended on having more listeners than a handful of Twitter followers. I don't need to be a household name, but I do want to make a stadium full of people laugh. I only realized this of myself in the past month or so. And now that I know it, the question is: do I keep going? Do I keep trying to be a little bit famous? Is that the only way for me to be happy?
I've tried to envision a life where I am never famous. Where, outside my family and friends, no one knows a thing about me. I could be a teacher or an editor or a coffee shop owner. I don’t have to write an ad or a book or a screenplay or a TV show or a stand-up routine. I could just be me.
My self-worth would not hinge on the number of original ideas I could come up with. I could just try my best and then be paid for it. No more staring at the ceiling, willing myself to think of something other people will like. It makes so much sense. It seems like such a relaxing life.
And I’m not sure I’ve considered it. Ever.
I think I might be totally happy being anonymous to the world. It’s comforting. For some reason, in that world of anonymity, I drink a lot more tea by the window and cook things with sauces. In the world of trying to be a little bit famous, I chug Maalox and ask people to slap me in the face.
I’m worried that giving up on fame means giving up. It means that I’m officially leaving behind my childhood dream. It’s like when I gave up on being a marine biologist once I realized it involved more than swimming with dolphins. But this time I’m giving up on something I’ve held in my subconscious for 26 years, not the 48 hours when I thought I could get paid to hold onto dorsal fins. What if I turn into one of those people full of regret for not living their dream? I don't want to be the mom who forces her daughter to be a bulimic ballerina because I didn't have the dexterity.
So do I finally let myself ease into a world of relaxed, safe anonymity? Or do I strive, like a Los Angeles barista, to be something more? I don’t know. I do like the idea of not worrying what everyone thinks. What do you think?