Fame Itself Is A Cancer And Ego Its Seed

No matter what I do, it seems that it seldom works out. On the rare occasion when it does, my triumph and success results in the jealousy of others who then seek to undermine and destroy that which I have accomplished.

Model Trains On The Living Room Shelf

When I was a child, I was told that being different in some ways was a gift; I however, was different in every single way. I had my own unique way of doing things, especially when it came to writing. I was influenced by Allen Ginsberg, who mentored me, and inspired me to write in such a way that combined poetry and prose. Decades later, this is how I still write to this day, notwithstanding modern education with its’ own bland academia style of written nomenclature.

The years of my childhood went by, as I dealt with the emotional trauma of numerous teachers who tried to convince me to lower my intellect to the level of my peers. When I refused, I was met with ultimatums such as being expelled from school. I am an auto-didactic learner whose experience with education was a traumatic one; at this point in my life, going back to college would be an enormous waste of time and resources.

Being expelled from school would arguably have been the best possible outcome for me when I was a child. Instead, my parents decided to bounce me between different schools, citing my teachers’ ridiculous accusations of arrogance, as if I needed to take personal responsibility for the crime of simply being intelligent.

Thomas Slatin, July 1993.

My depression came when my father ultimately decided to send me to an all male boarding school, and for the very first time in my life, I had to live full-time as a boy. Playing this role for the greater part of my childhood and early adult life became an exhausting act that left me in pain; the end product of my father’s narcissism, toxic masculinity, and abuse.

Morning arrived slowly today, as after several futile attempts to stay sleep, I elected to read The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Sagan was known to my father, and my father was once presented with an opportunity for me to meet Sagan in person when I was a small child, though my father ultimately decided against it.

This morning, as I lay awake in bed, I again resorted to thinking about my life; a common habit and past time of mine when day dreaming has lost its luster. I keep a pen and a notebook at my bedside, opening it up to a fresh new page any time an irreplaceable and priceless thought floats into my mind. In the morning when I wake, I am gifted with the promise of a brand new day in which to dream and to create.

All my life, I have believed in things unseen, rejecting a lot of the teachings that were presented to me under the guise of elitism, while those around me would foolishly hold onto every single world they said. While we, as humans, use science to explain everyday phenomena, there exists a schism between the scientific method and things that are metaphysical. Humans often use religion to explain the things that cannot be repeatedly proven scientifically. And while I have never claimed modern religion, if I had to classify my beliefs, I would ultimately gravitate towards Paganism.

As I progressed into adulthood, my parents feared that I would never be successful because I never finished college. Like most parents, mine were convinced that because I was ill-equipped to succeed in modern academia, that I would be a failure in life and would never get the opportunity to attain fame or success. My father, especially, who had become famous, albeit unintentionally, through his work, and as such, he held the same expectation for me.

Wherever I lived, I always had my own special tree that would be my happy place to run to when the world became overwhelming or unbearable. All my life, I have been inexplicably drawn to water, and I have always loved the rain. In 2020, I risked it all to disappear, meet Amelia in person for the very first time, buy a retired farm in Vermont, and start a brand new life.

The emotional weight and the exuberance of desire of one day becoming so much more than anyone could have anticipated, or imagined, which ultimately manifested as the catalyst of my unwavering desire to succeed at life. Although I was wildly successful in life, my achievements are often viewed as insignificant. While I was never considered famous, through my work, I was known and respected by many.

Fame is something I will never understand; it is the slaughter of the meek and the godlike technique, raising our leaders and putting them on a pedestal, only to pick them apart, as if there is a fault in their stars for simply being human. Fame itself is a cancer, and ego its seed, and the cancer of my intellect is the constant visceral feeling that I am mostly surrounded by idiots in popular parlance that shuns genius, and celebrates ignorance.

Part of me wants to write down every random thought that I have, but it is the better part of me that censors everything and stops me from writing down all but the most poignant of ideas. In my life, I have learned that it is as important to write down one’s ideas, even the ones that fall short of one’s expectations.

I have a bad habit of self-censoring myself, especially thorough my words and photos, my most common means of self expression. In doing so, I missed miles and miles of roads I should have seen, and have lost so many memories and written narratives of past days’ events. There are so many things I wish I had said, many more that I wished I had written down, and I am forever haunted by the ghosts of lost opportunities.

The header image is titled My Unmade Bed, which I felt was an appropriate image due, in part that this is where I dream, and some nights, stay up late thinking about what I wish to write about in the coming days. Other images include Model Trains On The Living Room Shelf, Thomas Slatin, taken at Camp Chateaugay in 1993, and Nowhere.

The quote, which was later adapted and became a part of this piece was sourced from the original.

This piece was inspired by recent events in which I have received a lot of complains pertaining to the pretentious nature of my work, with requests to lower the exceptionally high standards which I have set for my writing.

The date I wrote this was Monday, January 31, 2022. The date I first contacted Amelia (via Twitter) was Saturday, July 11, 2020. The first article I sent her was A Little Ghost For The Offering.

Thomas Slatin Quotes | Not Taking Enough Pictures Is Something I Regret | A Little Ghost For The Offering | Lyrics That Influenced A Generation | Generation Gap | Summer Comes For Everyone | Nightly Misadventures of the Unconscious Mind | How To Love | A Letter Of Love | The Frustration Of Writing | Only The Moon Understands The Beauty Of Love | In Another Set Of Chances I’d Take The Ones I’ve Missed | I’m Going Through Changes | The Fear I Cannot Hide


  • Larry Hoke

    Very good post, Thomas. Society seems to be hardwired to want each and every creature on Earth tucked neatly into their proper “life box” rather than allow for the freedom to explore and grow as we desire. We’ve probably lost many great inventions and cures for diseases by simply not allowing people to break the stereotypical path of college, degree, job, marriage, accumulation of wealth.

    Be you, ignore the naysayers.

  • Laura

    Beautiful post, Thomas, I see a gift in your writing skills that isn’t common, which always connects me to your content, you have the ability of transparency and putting your feelings into words that give your writing life and a big dose of realism that I think helps people to feel how your situation was for you, and also helps them to understand that they aren’t alone in going through painful situations because of their individuality. I went through a lot of difficult situations because of my uniqueness, I was bullied throughout my school years for a variety of reasons, and yes there was pain and tears, your journey helps me to reconcile that I wasn’t alone.

    I know your path to freedom is filled with joy but still carrying the weight of the challenges you’ve been through and are going through now. Keep writing, no matter what anyone else thinks, you are a talented and gifted person, I enjoy every post.

    • Thomas Slatin

      Thank you for your support, Laura! It was known to my parents that I was born intersex since around age 6. I was later made formally aware of it around age 12, though I vaguely remember my pediatrician discussing this fact with my mother when I was very young.

      This fact caused me to be treated differently than everyone else, especially when it came to education; intersex people are wrongfully categorized as having mental delays by the medical community, which obviously is not true.

      I have adapted to this adversity by living my life my way. When I was working, I dismissed the modern teachings, which were devised to prepare students for industrial vocation, yet their messages were delivered with elitism. I was told by my teachers that non-conformity would result in me not being successful, which also turned out to be completely false. All my life, I have rejected the common narrative, lived on my own terms, had original free mentation, and, in the end, was wildly successful, happy, and free.

  • Marla

    All humans have their limitations. One of the biggest is not seeing other people’s limits but only our own. You’re beautiful and doing well. That’s all anyone can truly hope for. You’ve done better than you could ever hoped for back then, and continue to. Keep rocking girl!!

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