As you guys know from the great guest posts covering for me, I was in Nashville last week. Music City. A non-country music lover’s paradise (actually, after spending a week there, seeing some of the country music landmarks, and pretty much only being able to listen to it at the bars, I’ve come to an understanding with country music. Some of it’s not terrible. Some of it’s surprisingly good. And the stuff that is bad and unpleasant has agreed to stay away from me). But what struck me more than the fact I will now voluntarily listen to certain country acts is this: I have absolutely zero desire to be famous.
Many of the bands we saw really, really want to make it big. Some of them already have, garnering a decent amount of success and that’s cool (the members of the specific one I’m referring to are also ridiculously nice. And based on the small amount of famous and semi-famous people I’ve met, this is very unusual). But most of them haven’t. And holy crap, do they want to. Which is why I’m assuming they moved to Nashville in the first place (I have some thoughts on relocating to chase your dreams. We’ll discuss that another day).
But not me. I’m happy being unknown to approximately 99.99% of the world. Being a celebrity is not something that has ever appealed to me, not even as a kid. It just seems exhausting and kind of terrible. Because of this stuff:
- Lack of privacy. Honestly, I don’t want people knowing that much about my daily life. I don’t want the world knowing the ins and outs of my relationships unless I choose to tell them. I want to go to a restaurant or Starbucks or take the child to Disney World and be able to do just that. I don’t want to have to stop to take pictures when I’m pumping gas or have it be a headline if I go out in public wearing mismatched shoes.
- Criticism. Those who know me well know that I have major self-esteem issues. Major. Can you imagine having those issues in the celebrity culture? I’d go crazy thinking that all the negative stuff is true and all the positive stuff—if, in fact, there was any—was a lie. I’d have to go back on my meds and quite frankly, I’m doing really well without them. I’m not a strong enough person to have my work, my appearance, and my general choices scrutinized by complete strangers.
- Always being “on”. When you’re a celebrity, particularly in our social media culture, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to be available to your fans. I see it on Twitter all the time (because, yes, I do follow some famous people). Fans asking for this happy birthday message or that favor for whatever. And if you don’t oblige, people will consider you an asshole and you could potentially lose a fan and then money and who wants that?
- Potential stalkers. I kid that I’ve always wanted a stalker because then I’d feel important but really, it’s a horrible joke and one that I shouldn’t make at all. Because stalking is terrible thing. It can, and has, taken awful turns resulting in things like theft, assault, and murder. It’s also extremely time consuming and expensive to deal with a stalker, not to mention spending that kind of time in a courtroom is nothing anyone wants. And, as a former probation officer, I’ve spent enough time in a courtroom. I’m good on that.
Then there’s also things like crazy hours, interviews (which, if you’ve listened to any podcasts I’ve been on, you know I’m terrible at), mandatory charity obligations lest you want to be thought of as a jerk, and let’s not even go into what happens if you have kids. There’s no way I’d want my daughter treated the way the media treats celebrity kids.
Of course, there are celebrities who manage to avoid all of this. I’d like to know how they do it. Because if fame ever happened for me, that’s the behavior I’d like to model.
Based on this, I think it’s a good thing that my tiny amount of talent lies not in front of a camera or playing guitar or telling joke on a stage, but writing words on a page. Writers almost never have to deal with the stuff on my list. So maybe it might be okay to be famous as long as I can go remain unrecognizable by anything other than name.