Fame is Abnormal

Filed under: Pondering, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

This weekend I participated in another wonderful dance recital at the studio where I grew up. I watched four seniors have a magic moment–full of smiles and tears. And I saw the former seniors sitting in the audience–grappling with the mixed emotions that come with change. And I remember how, after I left for college, I didn’t come back for a long time. Mostly because I was far away–too far to get home–but a small piece of it was because I couldn’t. When I left, I didn’t have dance in my life the same way I always had. And I missed it. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to want it so much and then have to sit in the audience and watch what was no longer mine.

But now I’m “home” again and I understand myself better. Back then, the dance recital was just one more thing that reminded me that I was a coward–someone afraid to stretch her wings to get to the place where she wanted to be. For a long time I felt bad for missing my opportunity to be a dancer, but I’ve come to realized that the feeling that I longed for was never really just about dance for me. The painful truth is that I don’t love it that much. *wince* It has never been something I would have forsaken everything else for. I don’t want to eat, sleep and breath it–I never have. What dance really was, was a way I was able to creatively express myself. And I didn’t have many of those left by that point in my life–I’d shut them all down. So losing my biggest creative outlet left me wrapped up inside myself with no place to go emotionally. And that was painful because I’ve come to realize that I crave connection. I get off on making other people feel something. I love to gather people up in my emotion and I come alive when energy bounces back and forth between us. It happens when I dance. It happens when I share my writing. It happens when I have the right conversation with the right person. And I can’t get enough of it.

Some days I’m still suspicious–wondering if deep down it’s all about wanting something that’s crazy superficial–fame. I chastise myself for wanting something so big and bold. And then I remember that I’ve spent too long selling myself short–thinking negatively. Fame isn’t a four letter word (not the bad kind anyway) it’s a lot like the word abnormal. The connotation is that someone who is abnormal is less than normal, but the truth is that abnormal is simply the act of deviating from what is typical. Just because something is normally seen as negative doesn’t make it so. It is the same with fame. All kinds of people are famous, from serial killers to Gandhi. With a whole range of people in between. Fame doesn’t decide who you are, it isn’t a destination. It’s a vehicle. And I believe it can be used to make bigger and better connections. It can be a way to make more people feel something. Fame is an opportunity to be abnormal in the very best of ways. It lets you dance with the world–and I love to dance–so baby remember my name.

What motivates you to put yourself out there in the limelight? Are you abnormal? What’s your creative outlet? Does fear of fame–having it or not having it scare you?


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  1. I’ve been thinking about this very issue lately. After a gazillion years of writing and dreaming of having a book published, I’m about to have a book published. It’s very cool but kind of weird too. Suddenly, the book is out of my hands and already being read and talked about people I don’t know. I confess that I have been following you (since you’re ahead of me in the process) to see how you’ve been handling it!

    • I hear you loud and clear. Some days I handle it beautifully. Others–not so much. My agent and my editor (about 2 months out) got to witness me in a full out panic. I’ve been told that’s normal and I didn’t need to purchase a private straight jacket. *head thunk* But I just woke up one day, feeling like it would be easier to stand naked in front of a crowd of people, holding Sharpie markers to circle all my physical flaws. I was having crazy nightmares of people snapping my picture while I was going to the bathroom and posting it on the internet. As you can guess, I was feeling a little exposed at the time. The good news is that with their support I got through the crazy and really settled in and enjoyed the launch of my book. I’ve come to realized that I’m ALWAYS going to be a work in progress. ((((hugs)))

  2. I think dance is to you what theater is (was?) to me. It was my creative outlet for a long time, but while I enjoyed it, I didn’t have the passion to make a life in it. I do have that passion for writing. 🙂

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