Our common ground of suffering (and why not to be star struck)
Something happens when someone moves into the public eye.
Other people think Spotlight Person has it all together.
They project all sorts of glorified stories on to Spotlight Person.
They imagine always-perfect skin, and financial liquidity, and doubt-free endurance.
They assume that Spotlight Person with the TV show, or big business, or prestigious position, somehow manages to generally suffer less than the common-folk.
Somewhat understandable. Our modern culture is so … Photoshopped. And there’s Spanx, and publicists, blog mastheads, and motivational media hype. And the spotlight accentuates one’s prettiest parts — because it’s supposed to.
When we compare our insides to someone else’s outsides, we’re concocting an illusion. That illusion inhibits our self-compassion, our creative power, and our connection with others.
I don’t know a single successful writer, performer, or heavy hitting entrepreneur who isn’t grappling with the intense, ugly, awesome stuff of life: health concerns, relationship questions, shame, birth-death-rebirth, doubt, body image, fatigue, betrayal, vulnerability, desiring love, and freedom-seeking. Real life.
In her documentary, Katy Perry lays in the dark minutes before showtime, full make-up and costumed … in the fetal position. She’s in the middle of a divorce that no one knows about and on a world tour.
“I’m just so tired”, she whispers. And she then … she gets on the stadium stage and hits it out of the park. It’s showtime. And showtime is actually just as real as the rest of it. I’m not talking about the perils of false persona or public lies, that’s a different thing altogether. We can take much value from the truth of performance and wisdom that’s shared from the podium.
We just need to assume our shared humanity, rather than individual superiority — for the sake of our mutual unfolding.
We all go home to ourselves, to our aches, our shadows — to our most tender and fierce longings — the same beating hearts in the dark.