A’right, this is a tricky one.
I guess it’s relevant to point out that I’m not really tumblr famous- more like… fandom famous, I guess, and only moderately so. On account of being a fairly private person with too reasonable an understanding of what fame actually entails, I honestly don’t think I would want to be tumblr famous; it’s all about scale. Everything in this can be applied to real-world fame, as well.
Regardless, whether or not you really want it- because thinking you want it and genuinely wanting it are very different things- depends on your personality. That’s a big fucking thing. The biggest fucking thing, in fact.
As some of you may have noticed, despite my flippancy, self-indulgent silliness and general penchant for theatrics, I am a person who thinks three dimensionally. And constantly.
I think about sides and angles, shades and colours, pitches and tones, depths and textures, precedence and novelty, morality and mitigating circumstances, contexts and outcomes.
I’m not just The Thinker, I am the fucking Overthinker. There is an obsession with unbiased truth scored so deep in my psyche that the first words of protest out of your mouth will always have come long after I finished tearing my own assertions apart. Even my worst knee-jerk reactions come with an internal commentary of scorn. When I do something unreasonable, I know.
Because of this, I have a very different perspective than a lot of people. I might get exasperated over the contents of my askbox, make a jab about the sexual grabby-hands and gyrating hips pointed in my direction, but those are honestly harmless.
There are certain things that come with any degree of fame, and you should know about them.
Once you reach a certain point,
People will make assumptions about you.
And they’re usually wrong. Congratulations, you’ve reached the disconcertingly meta floor: like the characters you fawn over, you will become subjected to headcanons. No matter how many times you try to correct them, people who do not know you personally will default back to their headcanons and treat you accordingly.
This is especially pronounced with cosplayers. People’s assumptions about you will become inextricably intertwined with their character headcanons.
On that note,
People will expect things of you.
Things they would never reasonably expect from someone they actually know or a stranger without a reputation. Because they have headcanons, they will define you by them. They will believe they know you. They will fail to recognize that you are a person whose entire existence cannot be encapsulated by your blog. As far as they know, your archive is your life story.
They will fail to take into account your comfort level about certain things if their headcanons about you don’t demand it. They will ask you probing questions. They will take you at your word. They will pick and choose what they see.
They will expect very specific things from you. They may become hurt or angry if you don’t fulfill them, or if you go too noticeably against the grain of their presumptions. You are lucky if their protests are angry and unreasonable. Your other option is hurt confusion, and it will make you feel like you’ve failed them; it will make you feel like the villain, not the victim.
People will judge you differently.
The simplest mistake may be held up to the light and scrutinized. For a time, you will become your own mistake. It will be held up as a representation of you in a way that a mid-conversation slip-up with a stranger never would.
You will be the comic relief protagonist of a sitcom, living life in a dysfunctional polyamourous relationship with a thousand overbearing partners, most of them faceless. Every misplaced letter or dubious piece of punctuation will be an open invitation to dish-throwing and the dragging up of things you’d thought you’d worked through.
If you’re lucky, you will get a single word in before your other, more doting bedmates start to throw dishes right the fuck back. They will proselytize about you and bond over your virtues, trading euphoric headcanons about that one time you saved a baby from drowning while stopping a speeding train with just your pinky finger. They will vilify those who criticize you. In the midst of this, you will speak and not be heard. Shh. Only white-knighting now.
Alternatively, your faults may be erased without comment. This may seem preferable, but the pedestal you’re standing on is one inscribed with adoring gibberish and incomprehensible keysmash bullshit. You will receive no criticism, be assigned no blame.
If you buy into your own press, you will become a stagnant, useless piece of shit. You will become toxic to anyone who may have been able to help you grow as a person, artistic or otherwise. You will never progress. If you once knew how to take criticism gracefully, you will forget.
If you do not buy into your own press, you will become prone to deep, world-weary sighing. You will shake your head at your followers in affectionate exasperation. You will wryly self-reference in full knowledge that the vast majority of your following isn’t going to get it. Because the vast majority of your following isn’t going to get it, you will break second-person and outright say yeah, I am self-referencing here.
The vast majority of your following still won’t get it, or will immediately forget having gotten it. Congratulations, every day is your coronation day.
You are the king and captain, fiercely beloved. Despite being borne out of awareness of your own imperfections, your attempts to institute a democracy will be treated as further reason to coo over how perfect and fair an absolute ruler you are. Taste the sacred monarchical wafer of bittersweet irony.
Any of these can change in an instant.
Yeah, that’s right.
You already knew this. You may not want to believe it applies to you, but you knew this.
Never assume you’re the exception to the rule.
Be prepared for the possibility. Don’t obsess about it, but don’t be unprepared.
Look at Cole Sprouse.
Not so long ago, he was tumblr’s darling.
It took one post to trigger some hellish fucking process of alchemy and turn that into a writhing ball of hatred and vitriol.
"So my goal for this website was accomplished."
There’s nothing inflammatory in that sentence. No malice. No cruel intentions. Just a statement of fact, put a little too factually.
I’m pretty sure he liked us. There was a lot of affection in that post. He had a good time with us, tipped his hat and went to go on with his life.
"You betrayed me by leaving."
"You never loved me."
"We were going to get married. Tumblr/Cole, 5ever ogm ajdkfsKHK waht do we name thi s shIP??!!1"
That’s right, tumblr. You’re the crazy ex. It’s you.
You don’t have to want to upset people.
All you have to do is misjudge them, and you only have to do this once.
Hell, this could be that post for me. Who fucking knows? Not this guy.
You want to know if you really want to be tumblr famous?
Are you comfortable with being constantly and willfully misunderstood?
Are you comfortable with being objectified?
Are you comfortable with the thought of never getting any better than you are? Do you just want to be validated?
Do you understand that your follower count is not just a meaningless number?
Do you understand that every time that counter grows, a living, breathing person somewhere has decided that you are worthy? Do you actually appreciate the fact that hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people have decided you are worthy?
Do you understand that they are not obligated to you? That you are not entitled to their attention?
Can you recognize that each and every ask- whether it’s a compliment, comment, question or insult- comes from a living, breathing human being with their own set of ideas and misconceptions?
Can you be a reasonable fucking human being and not shame people who unfollow you?
That is my one absolute corollary. Don’t fucking do that.
They owe you nothing.