Why fame often fails to make people happy
Is it truly lonely at the top?
Fame oftentimes promises a sure ticket to happiness and contentment. The elite status and the significant benefits that come along with it are appealing to many.
Living in a fame-obsessed era, being a celebrity is not the only way to become eminent. “My face says I’m happy, but inside I want to cry. No one knows when I am breaking down or falling apart,” says Chris Daymon, a Dubai-based writer, fashion influencer awardee and Covid-19 head nurse. “ I feel lost in a sea of people; Invisible like a specter,” he added.
Receiving recognition, respect, various opportunities and special treatments are ego boosters but having fame has a lot of disadvantages that the mob doesn’t even realize, not to mention the substantial role that social media plays. The internet has made everyone become known in a faster and easier way which leads them to be loved or hated in a faster way too. Famous people tend to constantly try to live up with the public’s high expectations of them, which are becoming more of a burden. Fame brings the public to be extra critical of who you are in their eyes, making you live in a bubble and abandon the ideas of personal privacy.
We would hear stories of famous people who would suddenly break down in front of the public or worse, commit something unimaginable simply because they have had too much, making you vulnerable to the ever judging nature of men.
Imagine going to a restaurant to enjoy the meal you have been craving for then all of a sudden, the group next to you starts talking and confirms if you are the person they think you are. A social butterfly would enjoy that for sure but imagine how your night will turn out if those feedbacks turn out to be negative.
Life before prominence
People who were made to feel insignificant in the past are most likely to want fame. Such as in the case of Daymon. He certainly has pondered on the thought of his social standing at one point of his life as it was hard to see beyond the glossy seats of the popular kids’ lunch table; wondering why he was bullied as a kid.
He grew up with a lack of self esteem and not even having a lot of friends. His struggle has been existential as he had to re-imagine himself over and over again to someone who matters. “Someone from the past told me that I won’t make it in life and that all of my dreams would just be nailed inside my coffin,” he said.
Tired of living in mediocrity, he pushed his way into achieving his goals because he wanted more. He clung to that idea because he thought he needed it to be happier. However, it was not really his dream to be famous. The ghosts of his past kept on haunting him so he needed to find a way to shoo them away and prove them wrong. Although lavished with material things from his family, his deprivation of acceptance by the society made him dream that one day the world would pay him attention and that he will be given a respected place in the society.
After watching a show in the Philippines of one of the world’s most famous fashion designers, Daymon told his friends that someday they will see him going to his atelier, eating dinner with him and being a close friend. It was wishful thinking for him then. But with his skills, he found himself as the fashion designer’s writer with his works released not only in Dubai but also in Italy, Canada, USA and South America to name a few. Soon enough, he found himself collaborating with other local and world renowned designers as well as beauty queens and international models.
His talent paved his way to become a columnist in the Philippines as well, with his names written on different tabloids. His strong commentaries and expressive opinions made him even more famous. More recently, he was adjudged Fashion Influencer Award by one of the Emirate’s leading television channels earlier this year.
Price of fame
But, fame comes with a price. It crept on him like a disease, slowly infiltrating his being. He marveled why he is still not at ease considering his life in the world of glitz and glam – the goal he wanted to achieve for so long.
His popularity is just a mask that keeps his true self away from the scrutiny of the public. Diagnosed with smiling depression, the need and want to be seen and heard was a constant struggle for him.
When asked about his thoughts of fame, he said “Achievements are not of joy; they are a necessity. When you are forced to achieve just to have value, you can’t stop because if you do, you stop being lovable. It’s a terrible burden”.
The constant want of having fame became essential for him as he wanted to stay in the feeling of being liked and loved. It was like a dangerous drug that makes anyone fall into addiction of having temporary happiness. “I lack the joy and excitement that I should have. I have felt lately that I’m floundering. I feel like I have no direction and I constantly wonder why I am doing what I’m doing,” Daymon thought. If time traveling is a thing, he would have traveled back to the years where his life was simple and with no one bashing him on social media because they don’t know him.
On the other hand, his total happiness lies in hearing his parents’ voices on the phone. One can never fathom the joy of seeing and hearing loved ones compared with the short term joy from the admiration of complete strangers. Our lives are merely just a puzzle. There might be missing pieces and we go through a lifelong journey to find those. At the end of the day, fame is no guarantee for happiness. Fame is superficial. It gives no guarantee for completion of the puzzle because finding real happiness lies more than just being famous.
“I won’t be happy till I’m as famous as God.”