Why am I not famous yet?
Didn't everyone practice acceptance speeches in their bathroom mirrors? Walk down the hallways of their homes as if it were a red carpet, pretending to feign humility as you show off your gorgeous gown that showed off your body while also demanding reverence for your level of artistry.
When I was younger, I met Jack Canfield the author of the Chicken Soul for the Soul book series among many other accomplishments. When I met him, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told him matter-of-factly, I wanted to be famous. He scribbled down a few words and signed his autograph in a scrap of paper and placed it inside a book for me and smiled. Read it, he insisted. The paper read, "See you famous". Later I would find Canfield to be a devout believer in the law of attraction. I recalled our meeting and thought to myself, I wonder if this was his way of getting me to call fame to myself?
Thinking back now, I am not even sure where the idea came from. Why didn't I say wealthy? Or successful? Or Happy? If you asked me now what I wanted to be, I'd say something earthy and granola like "Fulfilled". When perhaps my truth came in its purest form there in the hallway of my elementary school, the truth was I wanted to be famous. Not just a little famous, and not a celebrity, but I want to be world reknown. So imagine my frustration when after a decade of pouring my heart and soul into introspective social commentary and public self discovery my world fame is limited to a very small circle.
A friend of mine asked me recently why I didn't have more Instagram followers or people commenting on my blogs. Sharing them with their social networks who would do the same on and on until I went viral and ended up on Ellen. This same friend has never shared or commented publicly on any of my blog posts. I told them the same thing I tell myself: it's not yet my time. I would be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn't disappointed. Frustrated. Hell, even angry when I see the pop culture icons we admire and know in my heart that my talent is on par with theirs. Perhaps it's arrogant, but it is also true. At least in my mind.
Recently, I find myself comforted in the story of Taraji P. Henson from her memoir Around the Way Girl where she describes how "late" acting success came to her. Now mid forties and just now hitting her stride. It helped sometimes, knowing that there were other artists plugging away at their craft, and willing a bigger stage. I also tell myself how horrible I would if I'd become famous in my twenties. I would only have been of service to my ego and that is neither healthy nor sustainable.
I remind myself of the elusiveness of fame. That it cannot be chased down or captured. Watching old interviews with Kanye, he claimed to know his fame was coming; like a bad storm. He recounts walking through the mall thinking this was one of his last moments of anonymity. Savoring the moment before releasing it in exchange for international recognition. I considered what that would be like and my stomach churned. I would have to make the same sacrifice if I truly wanted fame. Could I?
Reflecting back, I notice my very intentional ways of combating my own becoming. Playing small was the easiest way to remain in the zone of comfort. Sure I shared my writing on my (not so well-known or highly publicized) blog or my (400 carefully curated) Facebook but other mediums? Sure some rejection came and others still, unfit platforms, but did I try as hard as I could? I knew I had not. I knew and so did my mentor when he told me over coffee how my level of vulnerability may surpass that of most so I can get away with being raw in that regard. But in comparison with my own capacity, I was barely scratching the surface. I winced at his words then just as I do now. I cringe at their truth. Other people may not see how much good I can bring, how much healing, how much beauty...but I do. So why hide it?
Its not the whole answer but it is part of it: elevation requires separation. It is not a better than less than thing, it is meant to suggest that as you raise your level of awareness and understanding and thus your vibration as a being, you distinguish yourself further from those who have not yet done so. Who may never do so. Who may even condemn your desire and proclivity. These people are not haters or bad people. They're family who want you to be safe, and cared for. And who fear they cannot protect you against the unknown. They are friends who are afraid the chasm will be a divide too wide to sustain your friendship. And here's the thing, those fears are valid. You may be more succespitble to pain; pain that no one can ease or help you to endure. You may lose friends, for no reason or for many reasons. You may grow lonely at times and unsure it was worth the so-called-maturation. But if the voice inside you tells you you must press on? Then you must.
I am in a place now where I despite my want, I know fame is coming. So I am working to make space for it. I am working to be spiritually grounded in who I am so much so that the monsters of excess and access cannot tempt me. I write words I am called to write. I take opportunities as they come and work to create the ones that feel more elusive. I try to align myself with thy will and keep the channels of communication open between my Self and myself. If the rumors that fame only serves to amplify a beings truest nature, then I am working on being a healing presence and a nurturing light. Because that is what I want radiating through my work and my brand.
I am not working for fame. I am not writing for likes or for shares or for comments. I talk about them because I would be painting an incomplete picture without their mention. I want those things but as a natural consequence from producing something that matters. I want to meet the moment, not the masses.
And when the time comes for me to accept the Academy Award for best screenplay, or the Grammy for best spoken word album, or the Tony for my stage production, or the Pulitzer or the Peabody or my first art exhibition...I will remember this moment where I willfully traded my anonymity and answered the call to be greater.