Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My fan club

Short one today.

Recently someone repeated to me what someone said about me (a grapevine situation--friend of a friend of a family member, something like that):

"I'm afraid to talk to her. She's, like, famous."

This person did not, in fact, talk to me. I don't know if it's because he didn't have a chance or because he was too intimidated. This came up while I was visiting with my family, and my sister started telling a story about how she was shopping with me in the grocery store once and someone recognized me from the movie I was in. My family was kidding me about how "famous" I am and how it's only going to happen more frequently now that I'm publishing a book and will probably be in the media even more this year.

To be honest, the idea of me being intimidating intimidates me.

Pretending to be a movie star
When I was a tiny child

Sometimes you hear about famous people giving autographs or attending events and their fans who meet them say stuff like "he was so nice!" and "they were so down-to-earth!" And they always seem really surprised about that. Maybe it's partly because I've never been an autograph fan or a "collect items by famous people" type, but I never looked at celebrities as more than people (though of course when someone's work impresses me, I'm very excited to talk to them about it and want to compliment them). So when people report back that famous people are super sweet or seem surprised that they're just another human, it confuses me. And also makes me very edgy, because despite the fact that I am not "famous" as such, some people feel that way about me.

I don't want people to be afraid to talk to me. Especially if they're worried about saying the wrong thing and ending up on the wrong side of one of my rants. I mean, you really have to go out of your way to be a jackass to me before I'll rant about you on the Internet. I want people to enjoy my content and spread it around, but I don't want people to put me into some alternate category of human who's scary to talk to.

I once had someone recognize my voice from across the room at a coffee shop, come over to me in my group of friends, identify herself as a fan of my videos, and give me a big hug. I once had someone pull up next to me in a car while I was riding my bike and call out the window at a stop light that he had seen me in the documentary. I once had two different people at a party come up to me and say they'd seen me on television, and one of them launched into telling me his own details about sexual orientation. And that's a thing, too--sometimes it's the opposite of intimidation, and people feel they know me and can speak frankly--those folks seem to feel comfortable e-mailing me explicit details of their sexual history hoping I can help "diagnose" them as asexual or not. And then there are people who seem extraordinarily excited that I paid attention to them. It's a little weird because I am well aware that I am no big deal. I joke about being "famous" sometimes, but actually being treated like someone thinks I am is super weird.

But I guess that reaction from other people is a side effect of writing and saying things that people can consume without knowing me personally. It creates distance between me and the person hearing my message and makes them think they wouldn't be welcome to talk to me like we're on the same "level."

Anyone who's reading this who has entertained any notions of my being unapproachable or unwilling to entertain your contact . . . tales of my famousness and associated expected attitudes are greatly exaggerated. Talk to me if you want. You may be pleasantly surprised.

1 comment:

  1. That's the thing: people should just talk to famous people or celebrities normally.
    I think a lot of celebrities do like the whole 'omg omg it's so and so, ahhhhhh' kinda thing sometimes but i wonder what they'd get out of just a regular conversation with a fan, surely they could relate better to the fan if there was a level of calm rather than obsessive fascination or awe. I used to be very apprehensive, nervous and unbelieving of being in the presence of a celebrity and not know what to say to them, feeling lesser of a person than them; the last time i met a celebrity i just talked like i would any other person and they were like the human being that they are, someone who had achieved something good but still, a human, no more or less than anyone else, on the same level, though we're all different. And it was nice to not have those butterflies and take it calmly, it felt like it always should have, to me. Maybe some people like all that 'ahhhhhhh can't believe it can't believe it' moments; I found comfort in being happy to see a celebrity but not feel as nervous as standing on a stage in front of a crowd of thousands and able to just talk about normal things, about their work, but just a back and forth convo like anyone would in the street. Sure, it's exciting to meet a celebrity, wonderful in fact, but to have it feel normal is something rare and special, it finally feels like it should and you go away feeling happy, excited, but also NORMAL.
    Anyway, these people who are scared to talk to you are missing out on a lovely person. It is nice that people do come up to you and recognize you from your videos etc and i wish the ones who are scared, they could realize how good it is to think of famous people as on the same level and treat them like you would a friend or even just pretending it's a new non-famous person you're meeting, it's liberating i tells ya!