Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I am not my parents

I grew up (and still live) in a small town.  Yo Momma moved to this small town with her parents when she was 6 or so.  Papa Bear moved to the small town when he was 28, started teaching and quickly became known.  I grew up being known as "Brittany, the daughter of...".  Though I was the first child, I was not the most popular child.  Soon I became known as "Brittany, the sister of...".  That's what happens when you are a shy person, not good at sports in this small town.

Growing up in this small town I never expected to be known for myself, except around my friends.  I told myself it didn't matter but it did.  I told myself that I was okay being known as the daughter or sister of...but there were times when it got old.  Really old.  Then, one day it changed. 

I remember the day that Papa Bear came home and looked at me and said "It happened.  I introduced myself to someone and they said 'You're Brittany's Dad!' ".  There was a poetic justice in that and freedom.  I was no longer just someones daughter or sister, I was me.  The best thing, was that I wasn't riding the coat tails of my family members, I had struck out on my own and was just me.

I was reading an blog post today about someone who is in the spotlight a lot because of their last name.  It's a famous last name because of this person's Dad.  The Dad is respected, well liked and when The Dad speaks, people listen.  The child has ridden The Dad's coat tails a bit to get where they are and is trying to emulate The Dad but it's not working.  The child is not The Dad and though the media keeps trying to make the child, The Dad, more and more it's clear, the child is really not The Dad.

That whole thing started me thinking about those in the media who have been thrown into the spotlight because of their famous parents.  In a way, it doesn't seem fair that we expect the child of the famous parents to be just as eloquent or charismatic or good as the parent.  In another way, it seems really awful when the child tries to work off of their famous name to become famous themselves.  Especially as time goes on and it becomes crystal clear that the child isn't as lovable as the parents, yet they continually try to work off that name or are given more opportunities to speak out because of their famous parents name.  The child is not the parents.

If people looked at Papa Bear, who was the sports guy and a PE teacher, and thought "gosh, his children will be extremely fit and athletic people", well they would be right with one of those children but not the other.  I am not my Dad.  If people looked at Yo Momma, the outgoing people person, and thought "gosh, her children must be outgoing people as well", well, again, they would be right with one of those children but not the other.  I am not my Mom. 

I am the introverted, curvy (ha!), non-athletic, perfectly me child of my parents but I am not my parents.  I don't always think like them, I don't always agree with them and I am most definitely not them.  I have their last name but I am me.  I don't want to be "famous in a small town" because of my last name but because of who I am, what I have accomplished and what I am good at.  Actually, I don't really want to be famous at all, that's a lot of pressure.  I just want to be me.  

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