Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Neither Inferior Nor Superior

My mother was star-struck.  She grew up on a farm in Nebraska and fell in love with celebrities.  When she was older, she moved to Hollywood and was still in awe of them.  But then she met and married my father, and his mother was a founding member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  Almost every weekend, my mother, who became a writer, and my grandmother, who was a British correspondent, would go together to the Beverly Hills Hotel to interview a star.  They along with the other foreign correspondents would send off their articles along with photos to be included in journals around the world.

Though she remained at least a little star struck for the rest of her life, my mother soon realized that actors and actresses are just people too.  And so did I.  In my teens, I was commissioned to be the driver for my mom, my aunt and my grandmother, all of whom were active members of "The Club."  I also accompanied them to the Golden Globes, 'the club's' annual award's show.

Over the years, while just showing up for work, I met Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Jessica Lange, Colin Farrell and a host of others.  They'd speak of their latest films, their lives, their scandals and their hopes and dreams.  The photographer would snap a few shots, while I sat in the back sipping tea, and off the articles would go. 

To me, it was just a job, like any other job, I was simply the family chauffeur.  In truth, it was just another working day for all of us.  Though the job was mildly interesting, I must confess that often I was bored, because early on I realized that under the glitz, the stars were all just ordinary people.  More like you and me, than you would think.

A similar thing happened to a friend of mine, an actress who landed a part as the second female lead in Phantom of the Opera.  During the years that she was performing in it, there were eight performances a week on top of rehearsals.  And when she wasn't "on," she'd be behind the scenes, yawning with a crossword somewhere back stage.

Too often in life, we get the idea that someone else is special or better than us.  But really they are just people too.  The even harder obstacle arises when we get the idea that we are better than others.  This almost always rises up as a protective mechanism covering some deep hidden inferiority issue.  And that's where the work lies there.  But in the meanwhile, if we can just remember that we all have a role to play.  We all have challenges and dreams, it can help us to see that though we are all different, we are also just the same.  People are people, and no one, no matter how special they may seem, is either superior or inferior to little old you and me. 

© Josephine Laing 2016