Some fame, too much coolness, and the kindness that makes everything okay.
I was hanging out with a PFP (Powerful Famous Person). If you’ve been around any PFP’s for a length of time you’ll notice (and yes this is an overgeneralization but, not really), that almost everybody wants something from them. An endorsement, a connection, tickets, a job, a tweet, validation for existing. It’s pretty gross, and completely understandable. (And it takes a good psychologist to help a PFP manage all that. Unless you actually grew up in show business as a PFP your whole life, in which case, therapy can’t touch that.)
So... I’m hanging with PFP. No wait, I need to give you more context. Quick behaviour profile on me in case we haven’t met: I’m an introvert so I almost never insert myself into conversation. I’m quick to laugh, affectionate, and I will always reach for the most encouraging thing to say to someone. I hang out on the edge, but once I’m in, I’m IN. I’ll give you all I’ve got for that fifteen minutes or for fifteen years of friendship. (And of course, what I’ve got to give may vary. But you get the idea. I aim to be present.)
So… I’m hanging with PFP. And I really adore and respect this human. But I decide to play it extra cool with them because if they perceive me to be a sycophant I’d like, die a thousand deaths. But what I really want to do is squeeze them tight and say, “You’re fucking awesome, and I see your soul, and I don’t want a thing from you. Just…hello, beautiful.” But instead, I play it cool. Stay on the edge. Tone it down.
And every time I hang out with PFP + posse (‘cause there's always a posse) I chose to be, like, cool and unobtrusive and “respectful”. And I start to feel … really uncool. Grey. Not myself. It’s awkward. I can feel my light dimming and that always makes me jittery inside.
You know that moment when you decide to step up to life? When you’re going to turn your “before” into an “after”?...
I couldn’t stand myself anymore. Cool was killing me.
PFP got off stage. I cozied up and put my arm around them. “That was a tough crowd tonight,” I said. "Wealthy, mostly white, and overly comfortable. They did NOT want to get out of their seats. You worked hard out there. You really lifted them UP. It’s incredible to witness. Really powerful.”
Then PFP, all sweaty and awesome says to me, "Man, that means a lot coming from you. They were tough. But we rocked it.”
The grey vanished. Some warm fuzzy light waves were exchanged. I was back.
It probably wouldn’t have mattered if PFP blew me off or thought I was kissing ass.
And a side note: It doesn’t matter who you are. Small stage or stadium. Rookie or pro. Mini or mega. At the end of the day, every one of us wants to hear, “Hey…good job out there."