The first seed of wanting fame was planted into my head about half a year ago when I realised how badly I fucked up my first year of college. It wasn’t academic probation bad, it was even above average…but it was mediocre. There are lots of excuses as to why they were mediocre, and I probably used them, because I so badly wanted my prosaic performance to not be the fault of my inherent inability, but of my circumstances. I drank too much, I was too depressed, I had to worry about other things, etc.
What does this have to do with desiring fame? Well, my lifetime of almost excellencies, slightly-above-averages, and in-general mediocrity hit me so deeply, and so profoundly, that I felt I needed a fresh way to validate myself as someone of worth. I felt unfulfilled because I found that in almost two decades of living, I had nothing to show and nothing to call mine.
Happiness resides on an abstract world that crumbles easily unless self-worth and tangible fulfilment make up it’s core. You have to feel somewhat established. I thought about how easily this core is also destroyed if it is not strong enough. I thought about how at the time, I felt that if I couldn’t be established in my own self, I wanted to be abstractly established in the minds of others….a sort of free pass for my inadequacy to be socially established in more traditional ways.
I considered where this feeling of inadequacy stemmed from. As Mark Twain once said, “Comparison is the death of joy,” and constant comparison is exactly the world in which we live in. It endangers any sense of accomplishment and fulfilment that we may feel, and entices us to sometimes act for all the wrong reasons. I believe that my core is stronger than most my age, but only through sheer willpower. I’ve lived my whole life in comparison: racing times that don’t lie, GPA’s, college acceptances, my younger sister’s premature intellect, my best friend’s charm and popularity. Even in cases where the comparative light was shown in my favour, I felt unhappy and unsettled. I didn’t want to be their measuring stick, and I didn’t want them to be mine…..especially if it was someone I cared for. It made me deeply unhappy when I thought about the ways our society would dictate their worth, and consequently mine. Early on, I fought to suppress the toxicity of comparison within myself, and to shun the daily contrasts I would hear and see everyday. Some months, I believe that the inability to do so lead me to try to shut it out with substances and self-induced apathy.
It’s a vicious cycle. You are doing well in your own right, but then your feelings of insufficiency kick in, having you making poor life choices that leave you more inadequate than before.
I though, maybe if I achieved fame, maybe if I got into a great college, maybe then there would be something behind me, no matter where I found myself, that I could look back at and point to as a sign that I was capable of something. A little bit, maybe. But we are always trying to climb, never satisfied with where we are….it is engraved within us to constantly grow, to evolve, relentlessly. It is the archetype for the human race as a whole, and so it is impossible to ever hope to feel adequate at anything if we only make comparisons. We can only find it within us to express benevolence and kindness towards others, and to do the same for ourselves. It is important that we are not so foolish that we do not set standards, but that we are lenient and holistic in our approach of where we set the bar.
In life, you are only in control of two things: your mind-set, and how hard you work. It is a double-edged sword that strikes first with crushing trepidation, and then lifts with unspeakable relief.