Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Fear of Fame

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Ever since I lay on my bed as a little girl revelling in the misadventures of Enid Blyton's Katy, or wishing I was entering the magical world of the Faraway Tree, I have wanted to be an author. One day I want to write a bestseller, to have my words, and a world that is purely a figment of imagination, read by many others...to impart the same joy and wonder I felt as a child, and still now, as an adult, when I read a particularly good book.

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Sounds like a great dream, doesn't it? There is just one thing that could be subconsciously holding me back though....I don't want to be famous. I want to be well-read, and to be respected as a great author, but I don't want the fame and publicity that goes with it...am I a little crazy then? Surely that's what everyone seeks when they write a novel or book and send it off to the publisher for consideration. Maybe for many it is financial decision rather than a bid for fame, but in a lot of instances the two go hand in hand.

I think sometimes that it is this fear of fame (well not just fame I guess, but putting myself 'out there') that holds me back from finishing my flood memoirs. What if I say something someone doesn't like or I give the wrong piece of advice about flooding, or am seen to be an expert and someone does what I do with negative consequences? You can see the fear sitting on my shoulder nagging me can't you? I certainly feel it's weight at times.

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It took me a long time to start my blog, for fear of stuffing up (and opening up) really. I have seen the posts go viral that people make fun of, or are disgusted by...just one slip of the tongue, or pen, in this case and the world of social media is down on you like a ton of bricks. How about the lady who made sandwiches for her husband every day for years. A beautiful loving gesture and yet she was criticised worldwide. Fame, success and even just speaking out publicly attracts bullies, people with opinions that in their minds are the only opinions to have...the bullies attract followers who join the bandwagon like the Pied Piper's rats, and we end up with a cyber bullying attack.

These attacks don't always stem from a personal affront or an unfortunate choice of words. This became apparent to me last week with the very prominent social media postings by The Organised Housewife and Stay at Home Mum. A summary of the situation can be found here. I just want to say, first of all, that I love both of these websites and have promoted them on my site to others, so I am not judging the situation. Suffice to say, that what I read in our local paper today (Jody from SAHM is a Gympie local) indicates that the domain name in question is being transferred over in good faith, but the damage has been done...and all parties have been hurt by the situation....

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...including me, an observer. It is not just this incident that made me realise my fear of being 'too public' is once again lurking...it is the aftermath, the hate, the rage and the personal attacks I read on Facebook regarding the situation. I would curl up in a ball and roll away to a dark place to hide if ever I was the brunt of such hatred. By standing up and acknowledging that we are successful, we are opening the doors to being 'taken down' should we stuff up or do anything wrong, intentional or otherwise.

That is what scares me, my fear of fame is real, it is tangible and I will double and triple check my posts for accuracy and citations, and any sort of unintentional bias because of my fear. Cyberspace and the wonderful community of like-minded people it has introduced me too, can turn in an instant and the speed with which it turns is mind-boggling...I am sure we have all witnessed it.

I, for one, was shown the ugliest side of human nature last week via Facebook comments....and I don't ever want to see that again...especially not directed at me :)

Do you ever fear fame or being 'too public'? Have you had any bad experiences you'd like to share?

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