“You can see that my city found me then put me on stages
To me that’s amazing
To you that’s a quick check with all disrespect let me say this”
— Kendrick Lamar, “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”, good kid, m.A.A.d. city
Thirsty. That’s the word I’d use to describe some of the social medialites I’ve come across in Toronto: “thirsty”. There’re more than enough people out there who’d love to piggyback off of the fame and reputation of the people who’ve “made it” to make a name for themselves — but when it comes to how long the fame will last from who you’re associated with, it takes real talent to get you to a point where you’ll matter — it’s just like the difference between a candle and a sparkler.
Ever since humankind started its journey to walk upright, we’ve been drawn to flames. That flicker in the night that gets noticed, bring hopes and unless it spirals out of control, benefits everyone around it with its warmth, heat to prepare sustenance and light.
Fame’s a lot like that. There’re certain people we’re automatically drawn to, who just seem to glow and stand out in a crowd. You don’t quite know what it is, but there’s something about them that just makes them different. Maybe they’re really good at telling jokes. Maybe people gravitate to them because they make them feel safe. Whatever it is, that’s stuff you can’t fake. Someone who has your best interests at heart — that’s part of who they are. How they operate. It’s coded into their DNA! To me, these people burn like candles, their glow lasting a long time, and might eventually burn out (especially if they overextend themselves — a candle can only illuminate so much of a room, after all), but the glow — albeit dull — lasts far longer than their contemporary: the sparkler.
The first time I’d gotten a birthday cake with a sparkler on it, I remember that my eyes grew wide in wonder at the sheer brightness I was seeing. The glow overwhelmed everything around it , and no matter where you were in the room, you knew it was there to get noticed!
But after a minute or so, the sparkler died out, and I was left with a charred stick and a bunch of smoke.
Thirsty for that Fame
Thirsty social medialites may have an endgame in mind, but more often they’re after fame for the sake of fame. They want to be seen. They want the world to know that they exist. They want a quick way to reach the top of the lists and recognized for being amazing.
Which is exactly how a fad works.
Sure, you might be popular for a moment and have people flocking to you because your name’s on the tip of everyone’s tongues, but if you’re not giving anything back to the world you live in, it’s only so long before you don’t matter anymore. You can only take from the world without giving back for so long before people tire of you. Before they abandon you. Be parasitic long enough, and the same people who once had your back will be feeding you to the wolves.
So what’s the lesson? The lesson here is to be as valuable as possible. Say nice things. Offer your seat on the subway. See how you can help others before you help yourself. Be generous. Let someone go ahead of you in traffic. Stand for something. Think before you speak. Genuinely care about the welfare of others. Help those who can’t help themselves. Make the world you want to live in. If you can live a life focused on giving positivity to the world, it’ll be contagious and you’ll be one of the candles, helping to keep the world bright, warm and hopeful.
However, if you read this post and thought that I’m too naïve, too optimistic and don’t have the chops I need to deal with the real world; if you read this and immediately thought that only the strong survive and that stomping on others is all in the name of the game; if taking care of numero uno is the only thing that matters to you, I only have two words for you: