Hello, my name is Catie…and I’m average. Some people think that being confronted with one’s own mortality is difficult- for me, this isn’t the problem. The problem I face is realizing that in the grand scheme of things I am completely average—and in our culture, average is not good enough.
There are billions of people on this planet, and only a hundredth of a percent of them get any sort of recognition. Think about it–how many people do you know who are famous, (and no, your roommate’s cousin’s friend’s sister’s neighbor who knows Justin Timberlake does not count.) It’s irritating, really—the fact that for most of us, we will never get that chance to win an Academy Award (or present one, for that matter).
But why is this? It’s certainly not the fact that we are without talent—there are dozens of incredibly talented people I know personally, but none of them will ever be famous—and I want to know why. It seems that anyone these days can have a bad reality TV show on MTV, so there must be something else that I’m just not seeing. Are my parents not important enough? Is my butt too big or my house too small? Do I need to dye my hair blonde? Wear contacts? Do I need shorter skirts and tighter tops or something? Who do I see about this? Who’s the guy that sits in his office and dictates to us what ‘celebrity’ means?
I’m tired of being told that I am not good enough, not pretty enough and not rich enough to truly be the epitome of success in America. Why can’t I just be a good person with many friends and be considered successful? Why does the size of my bank account and the numbers of cars I own determine the level of success I have reached?
The 80,000 or so people who tried out for American Idol this year thought that they deserved a chance to become rich and famous—and as of now, only three people have been chosen to become the next “American Idol”…and they get more press each day than do the millions of people who are dying of starvation, AIDS and genocide in Africa.
The most ironic thing about all of this is that the people we consider to be successful are people that we, as average Americans have nothing in common with. Recently, the Disney Channel started an advertising campaign that stated “Disney Channel stars are just like you!” While this is a cute sentiment, I don’t believe that I will be recognized the next time I walk down the street and asked for an autograph. People won’t be creating websites about my early childhood any time soon, and I’d like to think no less of a person because of it.
When do we, as American citizens (and as citizens of the world, for that matter) start stepping up and declaring that the size of our pants and the brands we wear will not dictate our worth? When do we start to look at our neighbors and outstanding community leaders as the people we want to emulate, instead of the air-brushed and photo-shopped people in magazines?
When do we finally stop living vicariously though others on televisions and start embracing our own potentiality for change?
When do we start turning off our televisions and start turning the pages of books? When do we stop relying on magazines to show us what beautiful is and start going out into the world and creating that beauty in ourselves?
When do we finally look into the mirror and see not our average-ness, but the possibility we have for changing the world—one small, tiny, average step at a time?