Sometimes, I am an attention-seeking whore. There, I said it, because I know it still happens. I used to use this technique an awful lot more in my younger years, and there are parts of my memory I would dearly like to erase but which often come to haunt me during sleep. Those are the moments when I realise that I’m to blame for the vast majority of my own failings. Craving attention is a terrible thing, and often for some there are legitimate and acceptable psychological reasons for it happening. However, a lot of the time?
Everybody feels lonely. That’s part of being alive.
The whole ‘Selfie’ thing brings this phenomena full circle, that a photo of yourself shared on your own space is probably as narcissistic as it is possible to get… except that’s not true, at least in my case. I took a picture of myself yesterday, for instance, wrapped up to go walk around in temperatures that I thought were cold, but would be a Summer day for someone in Norway or Sweden. The concept of difficulty is relative to begin with, and then there’s the actual reasoning behind WHY I took it. So, I decided to do the exercise in my head: explain the rationale behind any picture you share in public. Why do you want people to see you? Is it to draw attention to yourself, or is it demonstrate in your own mind you’re confident enough to take the picture?
In my case, most of the time, I’m not here to show how lovely I look, because I’m not, and never have been in my head, anything close to attractive. Once you get the obvious out of the way, you’re then left with the deeper psychological reasoning. I take pictures to show I’m happy. There’s a damn good reason why there’s virtually no pictures of me in either pregnancy, because I was miserable as fuck and looked like a house. I didn’t take pictures when I was stuck in depression, and I don’t want to be reminded of the time when I was. There’s some ‘formal’ pictures of me with the kids and my parents that I was forced to take part in one holiday a few years back and I know I acted my way through a lot of the session, and that still irks me, because I can look at the smile I used then and when I compare it to the picture above? I know it was a lie. Holding a mirror up to myself is one of the hardest things I ever do, and even writing about this now brings a squirm of discomfort.
Having the courage to be pictured is, for me, exactly that on most occasions. It is very rarely you ever catch me off guard and comfortable when someone else is taking pictures, and those ones, as a result, are particularly precious.
Then there’s the days when you just need to be loved, when all the reassurance in the World just won’t cut it, and this happens to us all. Most people, quite sensibly, don’t take to social media as their first port of call. That’s always the mistake, because when you start talking into a one-way mirror and you can’t see all the responses? Asking for trouble. I will, it must be said, ask for hugs on Twitter only as a last resort, because the default must always be reality in these situations. Best mate will tell you I’m awful at asking for help as a rule, because I sort of stopped doing that a while back and haven’t yet managed to rearrange the pieces to correct the oversight. However, things are improving. Mostly it is this constantly altering set of variables that includes not overdoing the pain and suffering when I hurt, and bordering on obsessive when I think I have a problem. In conclusion: overthinking. That’s why writing daily’s actually proving to be a surprising source of therapy, because it allows my brain to take the shit that’s bogging me down and give it a place where it can separate from my body and allow me to function correctly. So, learning to communicate, at least for me, is as an important a part of my process as it would be for other people to stick on make-up or trim their beard. I am nowhere near Fallon levels of Zen here, but it works for me.
My daughter’s got a throat and sinus infection right now. She’s struggling a bit but I know deep down she’s fine, so I send her off to school with a dose of Paracetamol syrup and a cuddle. She asks me how she’ll say her name for the register with a croaky voice and I suggest a sign with YES and NO on it that she could design, and she hugs me. I realise that my parents never really did this: when I was ill, I was wrapped up and kept away from school and never forced to toughen up , and in essence this contributed to my failings as I got older. I could spend a fortune in therapy bills trying to reconcile of this, or I could shut the fuck up and just get on with life. As it transpires, the latter works quite well. It’s not perfect, but having found my answers myself is, in essence, far more satisfying than having someone else give me a reason. I know not everything works in reality like this. However, at this point?
Finding my own way is what I need to move forward.