America (for a long time I didn’t know there was a difference between America and the U.S.) was utopia. America had Buffy and loads of chances to get famous. America was the cool uncle with no problems that told you to dream big.
Yeah, in my experience nothing can stay on a pedestal forever.
I never was a worshipper of the Great Eagle, but from a young age, it was clear that if you wanted to make a job out of writing, acting and/or directing, you had to go to America. Even princes went there to find happiness and every American I “knew” (television counts as contact, right?) told me it was the best place on earth. All this was music to my stuck-in-boring-suburbia ears. America probably didn’t even have boring suburbs.
I can’t precisely pinpoint when the great giant turned out to be nothing more than cardboard dÃ©cor pieces. Maybe it was 9/11 (the U.S. could be a victim?), maybe it was getting more information about daily society (it’s easier to get a gun than birth control?). Either way, I felt an ugly disappointment. If not even the States themselves could keep their American Dream upright, how could a foreigner keep faith? Which country would replace the States at the end of my yellow brick road?
A small period of distaste followed, easily fueled by all the news and (online) information provided daily. Stupid, loud mouthed, gun-loving cowboys. Phonies, with their bad social support and endless nepotism. The entire world realized they were going downhill, except the Americans themselves. I didn’t even want to be part of that place, pfah.
Of course you can always decide on what kind of news you decide to take in. How you adjust your view. A vacation to California sped things up for me. I could look at society without the lens of media and the ugly chatter of the people online. The epiphany was little more than an embarrassing “aha” moment during the evening at a supermarket: it was just a load of human beings, trying to make a life. Nothing to blame or to be inspired by.
If I wanted to change the world, I needed to start underneath my own skin, instead of expecting that simply being on foreign turf would bring me where I wanted to be.
To me, the U.S. is still the cool uncle with the insane stories and dream big mentality. And I appreciate that. But now, after a few years of zigzagging between the camp of America hate and America adoration, I simply know more about Uncle Sam to recognize the wrinkles, wounds and its humanity.