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Taylor Negron and the Average Person

Character actor, Taylor Negron, died over the weekend, and his final article on XOJane has been making the rounds through social media.  In case you haven’t encountered it yet, or didn’t click over to read it when it floated by, you have a chance now.  It is a very good article.

It begins:

After 30 years in show business I’ve given up on the idea that people will know my first and last name together, and I’ve accepted that I will never, ever be actually famous.

Instead, I am fame-ish.

And therein lies the reality for the vast majority of us.  Many of us will achieve fame within a small circle such as within our community.  And a few more will achieve fame on a wider circle such as within our chosen profession.  But very few will achieve fame in the larger world, and that is the point of Negron’s article: why you should keep doing what makes you happy, even if you will never receive the figurative trophies and accolades you probably deserve.  Even if you don’t achieve whatever your equivalent to fame is in your chosen career or hobby.

He calls himself That Guy; you know what I’m talking about.  The Human-nequins of this world.  The people who create the foundation to hoist other people up so to stand in the spotlight.  You can look at that work as lesser or you can look at that work as equally important.  And I’m with Negron — I see my role in the world just as valid and important and interesting as the lives of the people documented in People magazine.

The demographic that is most the stunning is the number of fans I have in the homeless population. One friendly guy who lives near me in a cluster of garbage cans always high-fives me because I was in “The River’s Edge.”

I love that guy. Because we are both That Guys.

The article is just as much a rallying cry for the work of That Guys as it is about finding peace and value in a life very different from the one you thought you’d be living.  He thought he’d be a big movie star.  That isn’t what happened.  He had to find his happiness in a different situation.  It’s, of course, applicable to all of our lives.  Something will not turn out the way you thought it would turn out.  And then… what?  What do you do with that?  What do you do beyond that?

I look at my alternative everyman predicament this way. By letting go of what you thought was going to happen in your life, you can enjoy what is actually happening.

That is what I do.

I’m That Guy.

He doesn’t say how he got to this place of peace, though he hints that the mindset didn’t come easily.  That it was something that took him time to reach.  It sounds as if it may have not been a linear process but rather something he spiraled toward until he one day found that sweet spot of seeing his place in the world as just as important as the next person.  That we all contribute in our own unique way, and none of those contributions are actually heavier than any others, even if we mistakenly think so before we learn that.

This is an article for all the people who plug away, even when the road isn’t easy.

Thanks, Taylor Negron, for leaving us with these words.  It was a selfless gift at the end of a life.  Rest easy.


1 Tiara { 01.13.15 at 10:09 am }

I like this: “finding peace and value in a life very different from the one you thought you’d be living” That’s finally where I am now & it feels good. I really like this perspective

2 Sharon { 01.13.15 at 12:38 pm }

It’s taken me a long time to realize that failed expectations are the root of a lot of unhappiness in life. Mine are still something that I struggle to accept from time to time.

Like Negron, the life I have is one that many would covet and admire. . . even though it is not the one I planned or thought I wanted. Like him, I hope to find peace and value in it.

Thanks for sharing this.

3 earthandink { 01.13.15 at 1:58 pm }

I grew up with not just good things expected of me, but great things, especially in the legal and political arena. But I was more artsy and not so much political and so that wasn’t the path for me.

Once, I thought I’d be a musician. Now, knowing a great deal about the inner workings of that industry, I think that success in that path would have killed me.

Now, I write, as I have my whole life. My first love is poetry. And pretty much, no one gets famous in the US on poetry. (My second love is fantasy, and that, again is a field where you may be famish, but you’re probably not going to be a rock star.) All of that feels pretty perfect to me.

This was a wonderful read. Godspeed, Taylor Negron. And thanks.

4 Mali { 01.13.15 at 6:41 pm }

I love that. He reminds us that life rarely delivers what we want or expect, but opens up other opportunities and perspectives. It’s another version of the Joseph Campbell quote, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

That is very much my philosophy – and that of those of us who are embracing our lives with no kids, even though we might always have expected to have children and go on to parents.

5 deathstar { 01.14.15 at 11:14 am }

Having sacrificed and dedicated my life to show business, I totally get his article. Occasionally I get recognized by acquaintances from roles I’ve done on cheesy TV movies. People get really excited to see people they know on TV. I even like it unless the person got the role I wanted. It has not merited me any special treatment however. Honestly, deep down I think I wanted to be an actor so I could feel special and adored. It took me years to realize that no matter what I did, acting was not going to make me feel special or adored. I had to do that for myself, while BEING myself.

6 Jamie { 01.15.15 at 11:35 pm }

Thank you for sharing his legacy and words of wisdom. Could not be better timed for me.

7 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.15.15 at 11:57 pm }

Thanks for this. Coming to terms stories are helpful because I think most of us have to do it from time to time.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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