Perfect word for today while tears are streaming down my face.
Last night I noticed that I was searching for attention from others, many others. Then, when I searched for attention from someone I really care about, and I didn’t get it, I was angry at him, at first. Then I quickly remembered how I had been planning to read my books in bed, and go to sleep early, and instead of giving myself the attention I needed, I looked elsewhere. And when I didn’t get the attention I wanted, I felt angry, then sad, then lonely, then, a-ha! I recognized that I was really angry at myself for not paying attention to me. The little girl inside me, the one who didn’t get the attention she needed as a child, was screaming and fucking pissed off, and I was choosing to direct the anger outwards at others. Sometimes I’m not sure I have what it takes to give myself the attention I need.
The person I really care about that I mentioned above, well, we are theoretically in an open relationship. Theoretical because neither of us has really done more than have crushes, or in my case, met for tea. This morning, as I was contemplating this whole subject of attention, I found out from him that a woman he’s interested in has asked for his phone number. Now the hard shit begins, and the feelings – there are so many feelings. I am scared of not getting attention from him anymore. But why? I know he can’t give me attention all the time, and I certainly wouldn’t want that (I had a relationship with a man who doted on me, and it was rather unbearable). I also know that when I’m with others, that I haven’t lost my feelings for him.
I know some people would question my decision (well, at this point it is more experimentation) to be in an open relationship then. Hell, I even questioned it today, and I’m sure that won’t be the last time. But the fact is, I WANT TO FEEL. And yes, I have some feelings that seem difficult, but those are the ones I’ve been avoiding my whole life. Sometimes the feelings seem so crushing and dense, that I just might die. And this whole idea of not receiving attention – I think it’s really a universal fear of being alone. But I still want it.
This seems like a good place to end, but there’s more, and it is also related to attention. My amazing artist friend is having her solo art show tonight. I am happy for her, but I also feel some envy around the attention she is receiving – not just for her art, but the support of her community. It feeds right into the story of my little girl self who feels a lack of attention. Nobody signed up for my last two studio events, so I also register that as a lack of attention.
I see how I try to get attention, through self-portraits, through writing, through art, through Facebook. Part of me is ashamed (oh goodie, another thing to feel!) of this need in myself, this desire to be seen.
I see that I have a need.
How will I fill this need?
Do I need others for this?
Primarily, I want to fill this need myself, but I recognize that I often go to the extreme conclusion that I need no one, and I am sure that won’t work.
I still need support.
I still need some attention from others.
I want to be OK with that, to accept it, and not use others as a crutch.
This is really hard.
Post-script: I attended my friend’s opening and had a great time, and no envy showed up for me while I was there. I was able to really revel in the magnificence of her work and enjoy myself. Yay!
Also, the writing that I did here was a way for me to give myself attention. The painting that I did afterwards was, too.
And here’s a haiku I wrote today:
Attention I seek
Comes not from others but is
Only from me now
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