Here’s the thing. I’m from a small town in rural Minnesota. Small towns have a connotation of people being small-minded and limited in their worldview. Furthermore, Minnesota as a state is treated like the small town of the rest of the country. And what’s worse is people here buy into it. Well you know how you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover? Likewise, don’t judge a professional by their home town or their home state!
I had a conversation with a guy the other day who was trying to impress me with his once-quasi-fringe-celebrity status. That was a mistake. I really, firmly believe that I don’t have the ability to be star struck. I worked at a place in Los Angeles where I crossed paths with Orlando Bloom, Carrie Ann Moss, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis (sometimes on the same day). And what I was more in awe of was how little I cared. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of all of them. But I don’t have the ability to think of them as more than just another person.
Anyway, so this guy was trying to impress me and I don’t have a problem with that. It’s a natural compusion, and an industry standard (though I decline my involvement in false representation). It was when he started to patronize me, to treat me like some sort of small town, star-struck girl, that’s when I got annoyed. Especially when he was trying to act like he knew more about the subject than me – the thing I’ve actively researched and lived for the past nearly ten years of my life. So I calmly, but firmly, informed him in quick, rapid-fire diction exactly what I know, who I knew, and why he was not impressing me in the slightest. Then he changed his tune.
The attitude of the conversation had been that I was just some young girl from a small Minnesotan town. What he failed to consider is that I’m a self-educating, self-sufficient young professional who has travel around the world and back again – twice. I spent five years in college earning two bachelor of arts degrees (Film Production and English Lit.) and am proficient in Japanese language (having lived in Japan, twice, for about seven months). I’ve taken three internships and held numerous informational meetings with industry professionals. I’ve walked the halls of CBS studios been on the set of Torchwood (twice). All in the way of self-educating and networking. These are the simple facts. I’m not saying this to brag or impress (it’s not actually that impressive anyway).
And the further insult committed during this conversation was how shocked he was by these accomplishments (as marginal as they are). I told him, “I don’t know the big shots but I know the people who know them. I’m not friends with them, but I know how to work in the system and how to work with it to my advantage.” And this is true. It is also honest. I am not a big-shot. In the slightest. Well, not yet anyway. Ha!
I want you to understand that I’m not writing all this to bash him as some sort of passive aggressive lashing out. Because, in all honesty, this conversation is only meant to illustrate the real problem I am addressing.
And that’s the attitude people take – even with themselves – to demean and belittle their own knowledge and professional skill level based on the national perspective (and a wrong and skewed one at that) on their home state/town. Just as I won’t falsely represent myself by trying to imply that meeting Zarchary Quinto once somehow means I’m the real deal, I also won’t falsely represent myself by diminiting my actual accomplishments. I’ve worked hard. And I’m going to keep working hard. So it bothers me to have my home address somehow negate all that hard work.
Yes. I’m from a small town. I even currently live in that small town. And it is limited by its size in access to all the things a city like Los Angeles has. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never pursued my education, to further culture myself through learning about the world that I live in. I mean, there’s no excuse. With the internet you can do anything, learn anything, even meet anyone – and you can do this anywhere in the world at any time. I’ve made friends in Scotland, England, Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina – all from my living room. In small town, rural Minnesota.
I will not limit myself by a negative, small-mind attitude some people take on. But it saddens me when people do it to themselves. Listen to me. You can do anything. Your age, gender, nationality, or current place of employment or mailing address has nothing whatsoever to do with it. If you want it, there is a way. If there isn’t a way, make one. As for me. I’ve become so determined that not even I can stop me.
So don’t judge a professional by their home address. The world has changed in the wake of the world-wide web. And we, subsequently, have been changed by it. Unfortunately for a few, some attitudes are a little late to the party. I think In Real Time. And I believe, I know, that in this new changed world I can achieve all my dreams, even while “alone” in a small town in Minnesota-USA-Western Hemisphere-Planet Earth.