What I didn’t learn in college (Alternatively, why fame doesn’t suit me)

Posted on October 18, 2012

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Behold, a selfie for literal/figurative mirror-introspection reenactment purposes. This time with a Coz sweater.

I had this thought yesterday.

I was pacing around my bedroom in my jammies at about 4:35 p.m., my unwashed hair in a sort of Annie Hall lounge-bun/Cast Away ravage-mop, when I stopped before my full-length mirror.

There, as I sucked my belly in, achieving no figure enhancement given my XXL T-Shirt serving as the aforementioned jammies, I had this thought. It has recurred as I’ve spent more time in New York City and as I’ve spent longer windows of unemployment-sloth deep in self-analysis.

I’m really glad I’m not trying to “get famous.”

As I stood in front of the mirror — and I don’t say this as some very literal metaphor for introspection; I’m simply a middle-tier narcissist — I chuckled to myself, “Man, I’m not hot enough to be unwaveringly intellecti-sexy, and I’m not overweight enough to be endearingly funny. So I’m really glad I’m not trying to get famous.”

Now, I don’t say *that* as a plea for your self-esteem-cushioning Facebook default photo “Likes” or your @WomensHumor nods. Rather, I think this very minor yet empirically pitiful occurrence (on both mine and the entertainment industry’s behalf) meant something greater within this journey of mine called adulthood. Because I got something out of it.

It’s one of those ongoing lessons I did not and could not have learned in college. It’s certainly an interdisciplinary one. It’s entirely DIY, but I believe it happens to us all in one way or another.

So here goes my rendition.

I, a privileged college graduate with an enormous safety net, no student loans to pay off, and, well, brains, have generated and been prepared for bountiful achievements. I’ve pageant-waved through a parade of horn-tooting my whole life. I was even — I was even — Milton High School Class of 2008’s Most Likely to Succeed Female. (My soaring regards to you again for that, fellow Eagles.)

Conversely, I grew up ill-prepared for rejection and stifled by inactivity. Yet, in five months without full-time employment, these, in addition to defeat, physical insecurity, emotional fatigue and ambivalence have become forces with which I reckon on a regular basis.

And through it all, I’ve realized self-doubt is easy to shed when distractions abound — at least for someone with my gusto. But when thrust into an unnerving state that creeps, then lingers, then festers, that self-doubt evolves into a new and more onerus beast.

If you let it, that is to say.

Yesterday, when I comfortably concluded that I would achieve neither Anna Kendrick- nor Melissa McCarthy-level adoration — and, moreover, that I never wanted to — I recognized that I’m conquering the self-doubt. And no, not just by being sEcUrE iN mAh SkIn or whatever.

I understood at that moment, with unprecedented lucidity, that this soul-and-income-searching process and its limboed tests of patience and confidence will erode the ego if your grip’s too tight.

So I’m loosening mine.

…And NO, not by abandoning my dignity for a muffin top and a greasy mane, either. My ego-loosening isn’t about pride; it’s about putting an end to a situationally crafted and emotionally beleaguering attempt to jam my eclectic personality into a bundt-shaped tin. (That kind of thing happens, you see, with constant attempts to prove you can fill ever-shifting shoes.)

Overall, this loosening of my ego is about acceptance — about drawing happiness from my well of self-worth. It involves letting my wayward persona find its due course, not taming it with delusions of either grandeur or obscurity. It’s scary and weird, and joblessness still hurts. But my new brand of satisfaction feels so strong I sense eau de adult wafting about.

***

Oh, if you’re curious, I did eventually exit my jammies yesterday. Even went for a run!

Other notable activities:
-Debated the ethics of torrenting Kendrick Lamar album leak
-Took a selfie w/ dog
-Also Jackson Browne jam session in my mom’s Prius

I will reiterate: This has not been easy.

*bonus dog selfie which, I care to note, was posed so due to squintage. Not an attempt at looking “hard”

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