So I’m not famous

I’ve been debating on whether or not to blog about this incident that’s been nagging at me. My decision is partly therapeutic: I need to purge the negative emotion/anxiety and move forward. That probably makes it sound worse than it really is… sorry for that. I’m interested in your unbiased opinion so please let me know what you think.

Anyway, here’s what happened… I attended a class recently at a smaller venue and it wasn’t the first time I had taken a class from this particular artist. A couple weeks after the class, I ran into this person and made a point of greeting them. It was very obvious that they did not have a clue who I was. Their response was cool and I was a little taken aback. I know these instructors meet a LOT of people but considering it had only been two weeks prior, don’t you think there’d be some inkling of recollection? Don’t you think they could have faked it? Okay, so they weren’t necessarily rude but still… I was kind of embarrassed. Maybe the reason it stung so bad was I had déjà vu of the quiet, shy girl (aka me) being shunned by the snobby, popular kid in high school.

Contrast that with Sherri Haab. I’ve taken two of her classes too; her true self shines through in a very positive way. She ALWAYS has a warm word and a smile. I bumped into Sally Jean Alexander a while ago and she too was so sweet and thanked me for a charm that I gave her at A&S in Hampton. These two women exude intelligence, talent, and graciousness. I may never be a well-known on the artist circuit. I may never be famous anywhere… but I’ll always try to treat people the way I wish to be treated.

6 Responses

  1. Oh Denise, I’m so sorry this happened to you! We should all learn to say, “I’m sorry, can you remind me where we met before?” Maybe “she” was caught off guard, and just didn’t know what to say.
    I can tell you there is very well known artist I know, that runs “hot & cold”. When you see, her you never know what you’ll get. Many people have experienced the same with her. It’s the oddest thing, but I remind myself she’s only human, faults and all. We all have issues, and just because someone makes great art, or teaches they aren’t exempt from that. Remember those are her issues, not yours.

  2. I think I would look at this one of two ways. I could brush it off as, “okay – she’s just having a bad day”. But more likely, I too would be left feeling badly. You have certainly hit upon what makes a good teacher versus someone who just has a skill that they can show others. We all want to be acknowledged and I think expecting a teacher to recognize you two weeks after you have taken her class in a small venue is perfectly appropriate. Those who are good teachers also have some social skills. Even if they have no memory of you they should have the ability to ask “do I know you from one of my classes?” But having no memory of you, to me means they were not very engaged in their classroom. They should make you feel good as an artist and as a person, whether you are famous or not. They should be encouraging and thankful that you are interested enough in their work to have paid good money to learn what they have to offer. In a small venue, they should somehow connect with each and every student during that class time. Any artist can choose the path to teach. Those who have longevity and success are those that not only teach their students, but make sure the entire experience is a postive one. Proof that just because someone is a good artist, they are not always a good teacher. I think it is good to talk (or blog) about it. We all have different expectations and it is an interesting subject. It sounds to me like this person should be on a different path.

  3. Oh Denise, how unfortunate. But if misery loves company let me tell you that the same thing has happened to me and perhaps fortunately or unfortunately, the person was neither well known, nor such a good teacher, which may very well explain her insecurity about focusing on anyone or anything outside herself and what she is doing.

    By contrast Robert Dancik greeted me with a hug and when I had to leave the last class earlier, he stopped what he was doing to once again hug me and kiss me on both cheeks the way we do it at home. As I said, I suspect that her behaviour has much more to do with her own insecurities than with her ability to remember who took classes from her. Sadly, good teachers are invaluable, mediocre ones are a disconnect between us and what we are trying to learn.

    The next time you see her – if you do – just bring yourself to say, “I took a couple of classes from you. I want to thank you again, even if you don’t remember me” A lesson in grace is never quite truly lost even if the recipient doesn’t react immediately. I can almost assure you that she would not forget you. Fair trade in my book.

    Hugs and I hope you are enjoying our gorgeous weather, and getting that scooter around for a spin.


  4. Thank you for such supportive comments. I really feel much better and can let go of the anxiety.

  5. Gosh, you’ve gotten such wonderful feedback here that I can’t think of a thing to add. I am walking away feeling better too!

    I hope you are enjoying your new wheels!

  6. hi denise- yeah, that kind of stuff is awkward at best. i live in a tiny neighborhood (11 houses), so we pretty much know each other – but one day at the grocery store i saw one of my neighbors (and i’ll add that she’s kind of bizarre), so i said, Hi so and so, how are you? i was with my son, so at least she should have recognized him. she just sort of looked at me blankly so i added, “oh,you don’t know who i am” – then she played it off saying she didn’t recognize me because i had a hat on (good recovery i guess!) but these things happen, I suppose. Considering though, that the venue you were at wasn’t all that big, i’m not sure what her excuse was. Maybe she was on overload by the time the whole thing was over and out went all pertinenant info from that venue. Regardless though, you matter to others and we love you!

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