When the world was black and white, we all wanted Technicolor, and dreamed of the 15 minutes of fame that might come with it – now everything is an enhancement, in sound, photo and color. It wasn’t that we were dissatisfied with our lives back then or now; we simply wanted to see and feel how brilliant we might be. I don’t think there is a child alive who hasn’t tried on adult clothing, to see the sparkle, or try and fill the shoes; it is who we all are. If there was no desire to be more than the sum total of our parts, nothing would ever be accomplished, and forget black and white, we would be sitting in the dirt with rocks, eating apples, not blazing new frontiers with them.
In the last year of my mother’s long and very lived life, she could no longer bake pie. This might make you laugh and say so what – go buy one. Well, because she was black and white. Having been born in 1917, a woman was judged on her marriage, children and how she could bake, cook and sew. By the time she was 90, she was a widow, daughters grown, she couldn’t see to sew, didn’t cook much for herself and then couldn’t bake. To quote my father, she felt as useless as “tits on a bull.”
The thing is, she took it in stride, she didn’t buy a pie and slip it into her own dish to pretend she made it, or take sleeping pills to dream about how wonderful she once baked. Yes, she was sad, but she held close the memories of how wonderful things had been for her, and if she couldn’t bake them, she wanted to share her recipes with anyone who wanted them. Her funeral card even carried one for her famous sugar cookies. She said, after I am gone, maybe I can make someone smile over coffee, if they bake some and maybe they will think of me too.
Just because there are not a million eyes watching you succeed, doesn’t mean you don’t. And likewise, when you begin to slip or fail, those same million eyes may look away or condemn you, but it is no different, than feeling you have failed to the few eyes you truly love. Superstardom is just that, “super” life on a grander scale, and the same emotions we all share, are taken out of proportion. All any of us want is acceptance, but we are afraid to accept who we aren’t, who we once were, and look for ways to hide.
Today, in particular when yet again another enormously talented person has passed from life, we need to take a moment, and well – just be sad. We are the same creation of life, our needs and desires, not that different in the long run, but what is different, is what we are able to do with the special gifts we have and how they are received. The world of sports and entertainment is a Technicolor wizard for making things happen, appear larger than life (yes, just as frightening as the dinosaur in the rear view mirror) and memorable. When one of us attains status, it comes with great power and even greater disappointment, which I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t handle it.
We all have something that we feel is special about us, that we do well and most likely, it will never be elevated to superstar status. However, when it is gone or begins to fade with age, a part of us does as well, and there is no getting around the emotional pain, depression or loss we feel. We are emotional creatures of comfort and love – Be honest, when you have made someone you care for happy, there are no words for how you feel, and likewise when you let them down, the low you experience is bottomless. So why are celebrities that we elevate treated differently when it happens to them, just because we are all watching, making it worse.
At some point we creatures who love to be accepted, wanted and loved on every positive level, will discover we can’t make pie anymore, and it is tragic that society has pushed us into believing we are only what we can accomplish, and not the soul inside that has a vision. All that matters are the results, for those who cannot; the proof for them is indeed only in the pudding. So anti-anxiety pills, plastic surgery, lip sync performance, steroids, alcohol and every other thing you can imagine, which will numb the reality of our decline, will always be an easy way not to face our own music.
How idealistic it would be if when the moment starts to appear, when we forget an ingredient, burn a crust or completely fail, that we stand back and see not the waterfront, where we could have been a contender – but the watershed, where for one brief shining moment, there was a place called Camelot and it was wonderful. So when the day comes and someone says, hey didn’t you used to be…… we can laugh and say, sure was, and I still am!
Today, accept who you are, the talent and ability you have and have shared, and don’t condemn yourself when it is gone or if you fail. Change direction, be more than the sum of your parts, and find a new way to celebrate life, because just as life is not one dimensional neither are we.
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
|2 cups flour||1 Teaspoon baking powder|
|1/2 Teaspoon salt||1 1/2 sticks soft butter|
|1 cup sugar||1 egg|
|1 Teaspoon vanilla
Mix together either roll out thin or into balls to roll in sugar. Flatten balls down and bake 375 until golden 8-10 minutes