Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fan or Firework?

"Baby you're FIREWORK/ Come on show em what you're worth/ make em go ah ah ah/ as you shoot across the sky...."

-Katy Perry

It's not often that I receive a piece of advice that resonates with me the way what I am about share did. In fact, ever since I heard it, I have been unable to get it out of my head. It was that powerful.

In an earlier post, I talked about a motivational workshop I went to where there were all these "big wig," celebrity motivational speakers. The purpose of the workshop was supposed to be to inspire the 50,000 attendees...but in the end it turned into a desperate attempt to the get poor people to spend what little money they had on more classes and more shit. #fail

But all was not lost and one of the speakers actually had something of substance to say!

The second to last speaker said something profound before he asked us to break our checkbooks. He started off by asking how many people in the audience were sports fans. He did the whole naming of all the popular teams and hyping up the crowd routine. But when he was done, to the surprise of many people I'm sure, he called all the people who clapped...FOOLS!

He asked the men why they were so proud to be a "fan?" He wanted to know why any grown man would put another grown man's name and number on his back, face, bumper and so on. (I secretly would like to know the same thing!) He eluded that this conduct was a kind of gay...but only for dramatic effect. His point was much more practical, and he really made me think about what it means to "BE a FAN"

I'll admit, I'm no sports fan, so I don't really get into the whole sit in front of the TV and watch physically fit millionaires play a game while I eat wings and drink beer thing, but I can def think of other areas of my life where I have been a fan. You don't even have to use sports as an example. Think about the way some people idolize singers, rappers of even spiritual leaders. As if each of us does not have the capacity to create (singers and rappers) or inspire and heal (spiritual leaders). That same beauty and spark that you see in other people is waiting within you as well. None of us were created to simply watch life, clapping when someone else scores, and pledging our undying allegiance to the "winners" of the world. Allowing our moods and money (in many cases) to be wrapped up in the whims of complete strangers.  

The speaker, whose name escapes me now, made me wonder...when did that change for us? As adults why are we so content with watching other people do things, watching other people move and shake, instead of getting in the game of life and actually playing?

My old pal Webster defines the word fan as:

Fan: (noun) an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator

Who among us aspired to be a fan? I don't think any as children sitting in front of our TV, watching our Saturday morning cartoons and eating our Fruit Loops, wanted to be a fan of the Power Rangers. No! We wanted to BE a Power Ranger. We wanted to BE Optimus Prime! Not his sidekick, his loyal and trusted friend. We wanted to be him. Which is more, we thought we COULD be him. So what's changed? When did we trade our Power Ranger costume in for a jersey and giant foam hand? When did we become spectators!??! The thought of living my whole life like that makes me want to slit my wrists with a butter knife. (Long and painful…yes, that’s the point!)

Katy Perry has a song that I absolutely love, its called FIREWORK. I thought this song and the concept of it created the best contrast for the idea of being a fan. When fireworks go off...everyone stops to look. They marvel, and take photos. It's beautiful display of heat and light. Something that lights up the whole sky and warms every heart. (Just like you and me!). Below, I posted a link to the video that has the lyrics.

We are all FIREWORKS...and it's time to Sparkle!!!!


  1. Awesome Post Kenya! The reality is in a capitalist system scarcity creates the "fan" syndrome. Most people believe that we can achieve whatever we want but the reality is few will. But fanfare allows everyone to be apart of the process/success. I'm not criticizing fanfare (because I'm a big fan of many things) but issues emerge when we become spectators in the basic parts of life that we really should be active participants (in fact leaders). I would recommend the book, Followership, by Barbara Kellerman - a book that discusses the role followers play in changing leaders (a very interesting and empowering concept given that the reality is we all can't be the star) - or can we :-)

  2. I love it…. “When did we trade our Power Ranger costume in for a jersey and giant foam hand? When did we become spectators!??!”I think Natasha is right…. A lot of it is capitalism (isn’t that the answer to almost everything?) but also as we become adults we become more afraid of failure and sometimes we settle for the safe background of watching someone else be great. That’s just not good enough though. I don’t want to stand by and watch, I want to be great too! Cheesy, I know… but it’s the truth. :-)

  3. Thanks for reading and for commenting guys! I think that the whole "fan" and "follower" thing is very interesting because when you think about it, people who are dependent on fans or followers for thier livelihood (think artists and politicians) may have to change up who they are just to suit the preferences of thier constituents. Even as a writer, I want to be mindful that I connect with people. So really, you have to ask...who needs who. Followers need leaders to be thier voice. But leaders need followers for validation and support. In the end, I guess we are all dependent on each other which is why we CAN all be be Fireworks in our own way....