Thursday, July 13, 2017

What's in it to be famous? (Fame don't trouble me)

In case you're a new reader here, let me introduce myself.



Hi. My name is Chaun. I am a recovering cheese consumer, an Olvatine binger, and I clean my bathroom every Saturday.

Also, I'm not famous. Shocker, I know.

I've been chewing on the thought of fame for a while now. What if in some future day I become famous? Whatever would it be for? What would living famously be like? Some say it's shallow - is that true? Does it merit a glory of life or of self? What is being famous?

(Fun fact: My original typo was "glory of lime or of self." An angle not originally considered but absolutely worth the debate.)
As a kid I wanted to be famous, although not for any real reason other than that's what I thought I should want it. See also: Hannah Montana. 

Also as a kid, I observed that fame didn't guarantee that every person would know the name. I once asked my parents for an Avril Lavigne CD for my birthday, and at the time, they didn't know who she was.

Interesting. I guess fame carries an expiration date.

They say it's the little people


This is a book of my family. It's heavy duty.




It's one thing to see death certificates and family trees. It's altogether another to read the journal entries of my great grandparents, read their personal letters, and then see the death certificate. The hardest was reading my own grandpa's history as he became sicker. Here are a few lines from that (middle paragraph).



He passed away a year-ish later. I was 8 years old.



My grandpa's mom was a talented musician.  Really talented. She had caught the attention of radio hosts in her area, and was promised some big bucks if she pursued a touring professional performer's career.

Have you ever heard of Lois Prince Jones? I didn't think so.

Lois also had three little ones at home with her husband. I don't know if she couldn't travel at the time, or maybe just didn't want the pressure of a traveling career on her family, but having those little kids were part of the equation in figuring out if the job was worth it right then.

Her husband wanted it. Real bad. He wanted to her to go for the fame and the money. He wanted it so much that he attempted to put up the kids for adoption, to "free" Lois to pursue that lifestyle. Think of that! He gave up his own babies to chase paper and empty affections. It's frightening what the love of fame can do to some people.

That marriage dissolved soon after, and my great-grandma eventually remarried another man. He adopted those three kids, who were older now. The entire family took on the new husband's last name of McKeeth. My grandpa was one of those kids, and he adopted his stepdad as his own father.

To me, that means I run with the blood of the Prince and Jones family, but I wholeheartedly embrace my McKeeth maiden name.

It's sad to me that the name of my blood ancestor has been memorialized by his immoral grounding. Even generations later, his name has been banished from the family.

Love of fame seems so backwards to me. How can a vast audience of people love me, every whole bit of me, when I don't even know who they are? I don't know Lois' opinion on this, but I wonder if she felt similarly. Fame didn't define her any more of a musician than what she already was. She never stopped playing or teaching music. I think she knew that if she still ended up on the radio (maybe in a different time or a different situation) that would have been fabulous. She didn't, and she still was fabulous.

Is it bad to want fame?

I don't think it's any different to work for fame than choosing to work hard for a comfortable, secure lifestyle. (And let's point out how relative are wealth and fame.) Neither desire of wanting fame or want wealth are inherently wrong, as long as correct priorities are in place. 

As I've paid more attention to why people would want to be famous, the general gist I've interpreted is that people want to be loved. They want to feel loved. They need to feel loved.

I get that.

It feels good to have my work appreciated, but not so good as when my husband puts a cup of water at my bedside when I'm sleeping because he knows I get thirsty at night.

It feels good to feel popular, but not so good as when an old college buddy brings over a cat home decoration piece, because he knew I'd like it.

It feels good to have extra spending money, but not so good as when my sister writes me a lovely letter.

Maybe one day I'll be famous. That would be okay. I would try to use that for good use. It is, after all, just a tool. Maybe I'll never be famous. That would also be okay. Not many would would know me, I mean really know me, like my family, anyway.



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