Seriously does anyone give you empathy? And by empathy I mean consider that you are capable of emotions and to actually care about which ones you are having. I am going to attempt to do that. I have never met anyone in your profession so this is all based on guesses and observations.
Do you feel hurt and irritated that you are often blamed for the entire phenomenon of celebrity obsession and worship? It is obvious that you play your role in providing the public with pictures and stories about celebrities; however the public who purchase your publications and peruse your posts also play a part perpetuating this prying into other people’s lives. There is a demand and you fulfill that demand. There is an obvious driving desire to know as much as humanly possible about these people we place on pedestals, sometimes to bow down to, other times to knock ‘em down. It is hard for me to hide the fact that I don’t think this behavior is really benefiting anyone, however I work hard at living out my intention to not condemn people for their actions, and like many others this one we inherited from our shared history. This silly situation has been going on for millennia! A few thousand years ago you may have been hiding in an olive tree peering into a lush courtyard to find out who went to the vomitorium at the latest roman general’s bash and who had the most slaves attending them. (supposedly binging and puking at parties was accepted and they accommodated back them) I think we have had this fascination with how the other “half” live for a long time and unfortunately we keep repeating it each new generation. I mean if we can’t actually enjoy all the luxuries and leverages they have in life, why not at least escape our own discontentment with a story about one of their fantastical lives. Or if we are feeling frustrated with our own level of achievement and don’t want to deal with it, why not find similar faults in a famous person to dissect and judge. I admit to doing both, I am not out to point fingers, I am out to spotlight what isn’t helping anyone actually achieve happiness. Which is like what this whole life on earth, the only proven planet that supports life for millions and millions of miles is all about, agree?
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You know what I would love to do, interview the 6 or maybe 10 year old you and find out what you dreamed about being or doing then? You obviously have devotion in your heart and the patience to persevere with all the casing you do while on the lookout. And many of you are incredibly creative with the catchy headlines and assumptions you concoct in your imagination. I wonder if you wanted to take pictures of rare birds in the amazon, professional portraits, or candid shots that capture humanity? Maybe you wanted to write dramas with charismatic characters and unbelievable plot lines that defy reality? I am going to go out on a limb here, I doubt any of you dreamed about becoming a member of the paparazzi. So if you feel sad, disappointed or maybe pissed that your original dream did not come true, I really do feel you. If you feel like the cards are stacked against you, given that being an artist can mean you have a better chance of starving than thriving, I hear ya. I think the societal situation of struggling artists has way less to do with talent and tenacity and more to do with business exploitation and idolization. Business’s want their photos, logos, news and stories as cheap as possible, so artists are rarely paid in a way that reciprocates respectfully for their contributions. And to me it seems we decide to only truly acknowledge artists who break into the top tier of the country, meaning they were recognized by a mass media outlet, when I’d bet all of our own local communities are filled to the brim with amazing artists of every persuasion. I cannot hide that I think idolization hurts both the idolized and idolizer. We are all humans and I believe we all have something incredibly unique inside of us to contribute to the world and when we decide someone else is so much better, we can become discouraged to even try to live up to our own potential.
I have thought about this issue for many years, I could sense how miserable it must be to not be able to go to the park with your child and have normal human interactions and be able stay connected to your community after you become well known. I am well aware how much more they all have than most us, and I have spent my fair share bitching about it, but maybe they would be more willing to share their bounty if we considered they are also humans with those feeling things too?
Actually my first idea to try and demonstrate why this was not helping anyone was to literally turn the tables and treat those in your profession the same way. Along with bodyguards have celebrities with their own arsenal of photographers and detectives to snap your spills, photo your fumbles, dig up your dirt and make it global gossip. I realize that the general public would not be as interested, although you likely wouldn’t want your friends and family knowing the contents of your private closet and the flashing lights would probably begin to burn your eyes. Fortunately I followed a dream to be a peace maker and decided against this approach of “feel the way I feel” by being a hypocrite. No one would want to be treated that way, so why treat anyone that way? We all value our privacy, it’s a shared human need to have parts of your life treated as sacred and special and up to you to decide whether you would like to share them.
So my new idea, which I don’t currently have funding for, is to offer anyone willing in your profession some valuable services. To start off I would love for you to experience what it is like to receive individual empathy from someone who has dedicated themselves to developing this innate human ability which I would describe as an incredibly validating and liberating experience, an epitome of love in action. Once you feel fully heard and had some healing I’d pair you up with either or both a life coach and career counselor to help you discover your true calling in life, the place where your highest happiness and the world’s greatest needs meet. I would offer this because I honestly care about your happiness; I also care about your readers’ happiness and the happiness of the humans behind your lens. It has been shown that happiness is contagious, the more happy people around you, the more likely you will be happy, so really my aim in writing this post and the other “leading with empathy” posts is to help us all be happy, it is that simple. My hope is to encourage a genuine desire in us all to contribute to our collective happiness.