Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I'm Probably Never Going to Be Famous - & That's Probably OK


I used to want to be famous. Actually, retract that. I used to know I would be famous. I had this feeling, deep in my bones, that some day mine was gonna be a name people knew. I wasn't going to be an actress or a singer or anything like, that, but maybe an author, or a journalist, someone who did something that caught the attention of someone & then of everyone. The Internet didn't exist yet, but I just knew that someday, somehow, I'd go viral.

And then I hit a wall of depression, one that swallowed me up for a great many years &, even when I was at my very lowest, told me that I would still be famous but for all the wrong reasons, that maybe I would die in some extravagant & newsworthy way, like in a blazing car wreck or under the weight of a falling toilet seat a la Dead Like Me. Yeah, I know, I was dark there for a little while.

I never became famous. Maybe you've realized that by now? You know me, after all. I am here. I have been here, blogging in this space, for nine years & 1,000+ blog posts. For years now, I have been talking about writing a book or getting my masters degree or looking for a magazine editing job or... or, or, or. Or something, anything. Something big, even if it's small. Something I can hold up as proof of my hard work. Something I can be proud of.

I look at women I've met, women I know, & I am blown away by the things they do. These are women I know in real life, like my college friend Jackie, who's a published author & successful journalist, or my other college friend, Tara, who's launched, like, three business & a subscription box of her own, or my ex-boyfriend's sister in law, Anne, who's an incredible illustrator picking up gigs all over the damn place. And then there are women I've met through blogging, like Carley & Akirah & Yetti & Moorea & Ashlee & Nicole & Jess & Almie & Simone & Tyece & the list goes on & on forever because I know some incredible women, seriously. (Check them out.)

When I look at them, I think, "Girl, you're doing amazing things," but then, next, I think, "I have not done enough. I am not doing enough. And I will never be enough." Because maybe that's just not the kind of person I am.

I am scared all the fucking time. I am scared of change, scared of growth, scared of hard truths & next steps. I have worked for the same organization for nearly nine years. At the end of each workday, I watch Game of Thrones or browse Facebook or spend an hour petting my cat. I don't wake up early to do yoga or to write "morning pages" or even to shower, which usually happens midday thanks to my work-from-home schedule. I don't really volunteer anymore, & I am more cynical than I am inspirational. I am a normal-looking, slightly overweight, thirtysomething woman who reads eight books a month & eats cheese & crackers for dinner & doesn't pitch her writing to websites because it seems like too damn much work.

I recently read #GIRLBOSS, written by NastyGal Founder & CEO Sophia Amoruso (more on this book later). My takeaway? I'm just not a girl-boss, & I'm probably not ever gonna be one. I just don't think that's my style. I'm not saying I'll never be the boss of anything - I think I'd be a great manager, actually - just that I'm not destined for entrepreneurship or ladder-climbing or mega-schmoozing or fame-having. It sounds exhausting.

And me? I am perfectly average, yes, but I've also never been so happy with my life.  I finally stopped working so hard, stopped holding myself to such high expectations, stopped being disappointed when I couldn't meet them. I stopped fighting battles with my personality, trying to be someone I'm not, trying to change myself. I accepted that I am a person who needs nine hours of sleep a night & who buckles under too much pressure & who would rather use my spare time to binge-watch Criminal Minds than start my own business or even freelance. I am quiet & small & unassuming. I have a boyfriend & a cat & an apartment that I love, in a city I love, near a mom who I love, & life is pretty damn good.

I don't say any of this - the "I'm so average" stuff to throw a pity party or get down on myself. My point, really, is that being average feels, well, better than average. I never thought I could be so happy being so damn normal. I thought I needed more. I thought I needed big. I thought I needed to do something in order to be someone. But the truth is that I'm still me even if I never write a book or get published in Glamour or become well-known by the Internet. I'm still me even if no one knows my name.

Some days, I still think I am destined for some sort of fame, even if it's the low-grade Internet kind. I still hope I might be discovered by a publisher or benefactor who sees my writing online someplace & decides to take a chance on me. I still hold out hope that I am special, that I am something, that the little voice inside me from when I was a child still rings true.

But I look at my life - my peaceful, calm, lovely, lovable life - & I think, "Maybe not." And finally, I think that maybe that's OK.

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