It might surprise you to read this, but I looooove attention. I know, I know...color you shocked. Now I’m not saying I wear crazy clothes, or do stupid/eccentric things just for the sake of being looked at, because I like my attention like I like my post-workout doughnut: HARD EARNED. I’m not about the shortcuts or the cheap shots, people. So, like, I enjoy finding myself in the middle of telling a great story and seeing a bunch of eyes set squarely, and eagerly, on me. I WORK for that attention, and then it pays off. That reward system is my drug of choice. Even when I do something stupid, I’ll revel in the aftermath of people around talking about that one time I [fill in the blanks of your favorite Pharon malfunction] like a pig in slop (as long as I’m in on the joke too). I’ve spent my life being just crazy enough to be talked about, but not too crazy so I’m just a caricature of a real person. It’s all about makin’ people smile and earning their undivided attention.
Being PRESSURED to be the center of attention is quite a different beast. I don’t like to PERFORM for attention. I got a B+ in my public speaking class, when everyone knew that it was an “easy A” type of class. I got a C+ in an acting class that was ALSO of the “easy A” variety. I get nervous when speaking one-on-one with anyone who has read my blog and, unbelievably, actually enjoys it. I blush aggressively when receiving praise for a job well done at work, and don’t even TRY to get me on stage alone to karaoke. Even if it’s a Nelly Furtado song and I'm three beers into the night, even if I AM totally awesome at it.
So you probably think this is all a crazy ruse, seeing as how I DO, in fact, write this daily blog. And I write it all about me, myself, and I. Every night. I just talk, talk, talk, about myself. But here’s a very key difference: I love writing a blog, and the only subject I’m pretty much an expert at is MYSELF. And depending on the day, I can convince myself that either EVERYone reads this, or NO one reads this. So when I know I've worked hard on a particular blog, I can just imagine it pays off. I don't need to deal with face-to-face discussion. Imaginary attention is just as good to me.
Here’s a clearer explanation. When Geo and I started dating, I promised him that “I’m not the kind of girl who needs a lot of attention all the time” (no, I don’t NEED it, I just REVEL in it). I like to come and go as I please, I am quite independent, I like having my own life and group of friends, and I like the little treats of attention. Little surprise dinners were always lovely. And I LIKED the rarity with which he went overboard in describing how wonderful I am. To me, a compliment is so much more sincere when you aren't really expecting and/or begging for it. There’s something so satisfying to me about doing something naturally that is well-received. But like any good girlfriend, I spontaneously changed the rules and decided to demand his attention and doting at all times. Now it’s all “Why don’t you take me on dates anymore?” or “So, what, you’re not going to say ANYthing about how awesome my new shoes are?!” or more recently, “You NEVER want to play Kinect with me. Why do you hate spending time with me?!”
Oddly, Geo was confused with this sudden development. But the attention is getting harder to earn, as it typically does after you’ve shared a bathroom with someone for over 3 years. And between work and writing and working my butt off to get attention in other facets of life, I didn’t WANT to try so hard all the time with him. To be fair, I had convinced him early on that going a day or so without hearing how wonderful I am is not only okay, but PREFERABLE. Turns out, I shot myself in the foot the day I brazenly declared myself “not the average, high-maintenance girl”. I was really only talking about “high maintenance” as it relates to hygiene, or alcohol preferences, or restaurants, or personal fitness. I guess I should have clarified.
I know this is not a new phenomenon. I talked to Sanna about some of our friends tonight who are feeling this same level of, um, lower than desirable levels of attention from our significant others, so I know I'm not alone. But I don't want the cheap, generic attention that comes with the DEMANDING of it. Unfortunately, I am sorely lacking the energy to work as hard at being naturally charming these days. Beyotchiness just comes easier to me right now.
But Geo had a huge test today in school, and I'm sure he aced that beast. So, instead of heading to bed at 10 p.m., I'm indulging him in a late night outing to a movie. I'll be cranky and miserable tomorrow, to be sure, but something's gotta give. And I am craving a compliment on my shoes more than being able to warp-speed my way through a spreadsheet at this point.