Seriously. I hate to have to be the one to break it to you. I know it’s disappointing, but Brad endures standard human toilet sessions and even Jennifer Lawrence has personal insecurities and wonders what people think about her.
How do I know this? Because they’re human!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big Brad fan. The guy is cool as hell. (Watch Snatch and dare to disagree with me!) But recently I have had a bit of a revelation about fame. First of all, fame is not real. That’s not the revelation. That’s old hat. Fame is an idea in the minds of the beholders. Brad Pitt doesn’t sit around being famous, because that’s not an activity. He sits around reading or playing with his kids or arguing with his wife (what’s her name again?) or building model planes or wiping his ass, when need be. As the tabloids love to so ironically point out–Celebs! They’re just like us! We don’t buy it though, do we? Otherwise we wouldn’t buy the tabloids! There’s just too much mystery there, too much success and good looks to ignore.
My revelation was an introduction to a whole new interpretation of the idea of fame or renown. For those who know me personally, you know that I’ve actually experienced a little taste of that type of fame. I even had this (numbers seem to be down, haha!). But it still left me wanting. I could feel the shallowness of it, the fact that thousands of people who didn’t know me on any sort of personal level had put me on a pedestal simply because of that idea in their mind, that I was somehow different, special, more important or just more something. But I knew that that wasn’t reality. If someone hadn’t decided to put me on the radio, I wouldn’t mean a thing to these people.
Now, as a father of one son going on two, the renown that I desire has morphed like a power ranger (nailed it!). I’ve been able to observe a few men close to me and watch the way that they have conducted themselves. I’ve seen what they mean to the people around them. Take my Uncle Brian, for example: he has worked hard, had success in his work, his marriage, his friendships and relationships, as a jazz musician (total badass pianist!) and so on. He has grown to be a leader in his direct circle of influence. He is a pillar of strength and solidarity to his family and his friends, and that is the type of renown I now desire. So call it fame, call it renown, call it respect, call it whatever you’d like; rather than being idolized and fawned over by twenty thousand people who don’t actually know anything about me, I want twenty or thirty people around me to have a deep and abiding respect for me because of how I’ve lived my life: my character, my leadership and strength, and my impeccable personal style (just kidding… sort of). I want this circle of direct influence to admire what I’ve done and to trust unquestioningly that they can rely on me any time that they need to. I wanna be old faithful to those close to me.
That is what true fame is. That is what true renown is.
To clarify, I don’t believe that fame or success is inherently evil, by any means. I had a blast with Love and Theft–touring, recording, playing on Jimmy Fallon–and I’d love to have a similar experience again if it unfolds in the right way. But that is no longer the end goal or the sole source of fulfillment. The renown that I personally desire has now changed drastically. I am more excited about my two sons idolizing me, feeling excited and proud that I’m their dad, and wanting to be like me, than I am about one million people seeing me on a screen or hearing me from a radio and deciding I’m important because everyone else says so too.
What does it look like to have truly lasting and valuable renown? We’d love to hear your take on it! Please comment and share with your friends!