Attention

by amortentiaandpumpkins

I don’t like to think of myself as an attention-seeker. It has always had such negative connotations for me. The word suggests that without all eyes on you at all times, you can’t function; you’ll go beserk or some shit. I really like to think of myself who is independent: someone who doesn’t really need anyone’s compliments or encouragements to survive. Of course, they are much appreciated. I’ll feel wonderful if someone compliments my new hairstyle or my newest blog post. But I don’t need it to keep me going.

However, these few days, I’ve been realizing that perhaps I DO have some sort of attention problem. It hit me when two of my cousins visited. Now these two cousins are younger than me, but not so much that literally all the attention goes to them. Everyone in the house paid attention to them, but not in extreme doses. I was still noticed. But I just felt like I was noticed during the wrong times. Only when I was doing something “wrong.” I decided to take advantage of the fact that a large proportion of the attention was removed away from me during their stay and decided to stay out until close to 5 am with my friend. When I walked in home at this hour, I didn’t hear the end of it from my conservative parents. My mother told me I was a disappointment. My father called me irresponsible. I was home safe, sober and in one piece, so what was the big deal?

But I think what really got to me was the next day. As cousins who were closer to my age than my parents, I was expecting sympathy from them. I was hoping they’d come, stroke my head and tell me everything would be okay. Instead, they just ignored me all day, even though I looked like I was on the verge of tears all day. I realized it was more because I felt no one seemed to care about me rather than because my parents went ape shit on me earlier that morning. 

I used to think the reason I did not enjoy having so many people in my house for an extended period of time was because I liked my solitude. I liked having me time. But really, after this, I get the feeling it is because my spotlight gets more split up than it already is. The light only shines on me during the worst times, and never when I actually need it. 

This has translated into my use of social media. I noticed that the average number of days I change my profile picture on Facebook is only about 2 weeks, as compared to many more weeks or even months that others take to change theirs. I think that, as I dig deeper, it seems that I am constantly in need of some sort of attention. 

I guess attention is not always a terrible thing. In fact, it is a wonderful thing. But like most wonderful things, it is only good in small doses. I think more than an attention-seeker, I’ve turned into some sort of attention-junkie; I thrive on attention. The feeling of being noticed excites me more than most things. 

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