by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
January 19, 2008
YOU TOO ARE SOMEBODY
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- What part, if any, have we, the people, played in the ongoing craziness of one Britney Spears?
What effect do screaming, adoring fans have on the "Look Ma! I'm famous!" mentality of an Elvis Presley, an Elizabeth Taylor, a Wesley Snipes, a Julie Roberts?
Can "stars" get to be stars without goggle-eyed fans, willing star-makers and star-polishers?
No, but suggesting to the party of the second part that they be a little more particular in what they are screaming at, or for, is like trying to get a 6-year-old child to believe there is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy. Something in us, long after childhood, wants to believe in the glitz of Hollywood, the glamor of a real princess, the magnetic heroism of a Rambo.
An avid young reader of every book of fairy tales I could get my hands on, moving on up to romance magazines in my teens, and finally becoming a sad, young housewife with a crush on Captain Kirk, I am in no position to smirk at fans' foolishness. I am, however, dedicated to the "why" of all human behavior - and that includes what is lacking in ourselves that we contribute to the psychological unraveling of a young woman like Britney Spears at such a seemingly successful time in her young life.
Am I suggesting we all play a part in each other's foolishness? Yes. We are not islands isolated in a sea of selfishness. We are married to the mainland and, for better or worse, all our actions affect others.
There cannot be a play without an audience to determine its worth. No song is a success until it is loved and/or purchased by a lot of somebodies, and no "star" becomes a star until we, the people, say he or she is a star. People are the other half of any success story.
Is there something missing in the individual who is starving to touch the hem of the garment of somebody they have elevated to god-hood? Something lacking, when their best moment in life is in getting to shake the hand of their god-star or scream and climb over other people for a closer look?
I'm certain there is, and I am also certain that "something missing" is not missing at all but simply resides unrecognized in all of us.
No, we don't all have the good looks of a Britney; the winsome charm of a Bill Clinton; or the evil, hypnotic personality power of a Hitler. But what we do have is the zing of wonder that plays up and down our nerves, spine and mind when we discover there is no-one-like-us in the entire universe.
That discovery is not an exercise in narcissism. We are truly one-of-a-kind, and even if Hollywood is not knocking on our door, I can assure you there is some talent you have, some way of improving on old tangibles and intangibles - or inventing new ones. Something you have to offer - that can only be offered by you. Said offering can be constructive or destructive. The choice is yours.
Such is the value of our Selfhood. Once claimed, we have all we can do to dance to the beat of our own drum, and we waste a lot of time in believing everybody else has a better, bigger, newer drum than ours.
Is it the type of "star" we go panting and scrambling after that determines our psychological maturity, or lack of it?
I'd walk barefoot down a long, hot road to shake the hand of a Gandhi or a Mother Teresa. And I'd go, if asked, into a psychiatric ward to see if I could help a Britney Spears, a Paris Hilton, or any other of the pathetic souls we have elevated to god-hood primarily because of their looks or their sick need to show reporters they are not wearing underwear. But don't ask me to stand in line in sunshine or rain for a glimpse of a puppet President who can't speak simple English or a jeweled queen waving from the balcony of a grand palace within a stone's throw of half-starved children.
Hollywood-wise, we worship at the feet of a Britney; politically, we want to adore Big Daddy, and we despair when we find he has as many faults as we do; and spiritually, we run after a Rev. Billy Graham or a Benny Hine, utterly convinced they are god-like and we are not.
I have some good news and some better news. A line from the prose of "Desiderata" says "Always there will be greater and lesser persons than ourselves." Take it from this poet, the author was not speaking of inner worth.
Therein hangs the hollow lack of a life well-lived: Emphasis on externals, ignorance of the kingdom within. Uniqueness ignored, talents and ideas unused, contributions dormant, and our very own, incredible spirit devalued at a glitzy marketplace that would have us believe happiness lies just ahead at a concert, identity lies in our new car and in wearing the latest fashion, and our importance lies in who we know, not in what we are.
Personal uniqueness? Sacred individuality? Why, don't be silly. I have nothing to offer. I am just a plumber, a housewife, a cashier at a supermarket. Wrong. There is no "just a" in our birthright of spiritual equality.
It seems a hundred years ago but the first rather serious poem I ever wrote was called "Struggle for Identity." It was profoundly child-like and simple but it was mine. I leave it for you with love and my unshakable conviction that you have within you your divine right to live life as a Somebody. Whole, full of wonder and endowed with an ability to contribute something to a world in great need of your offerings. I promise you, once you acknowledge the Somebody within, you will never again applaud glitz, glamor or gross-out contributions of "stars" who can't shine without your applause.
We are often not what we seem at all. This I have come to believe. Sometimes the way up, and often a fall, begins with our need to deceive. Often the best we have to give is put into these roles we play. But how can the soul continue to live, if the true self is hidden away, smothered by society's unwritten laws, concealed by a life that's a lie?
One day, its faint, protesting call will be stilled and the soul will die. Our shell will remain, performing its part, contributing its bit to the play, while a soul adrift will lift its cry as it fades away.
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is based in Cartersville, Ga. Her Website features her columns and poetry. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.