I am attention hungry — but it’s not always about getting likes on selfies or private messages in my inbox. It’s not always about getting complimented on new haircuts and receiving encouragement about my work.
I am slowly discovering the real reason why I have been starved for attention. Because I feel invisible. I have been questioning my worth, my meaning, and how much value I hold in my loved ones lives.
Even though there are people who claim to care about me, there are days when my phone remains blank, when my voice box goes unused, when I am trapped in the silence of my bedroom far away from family and friends.
Then there are other days when I am surrounded by people, when I am busy at work or mingling at a party, but I still feel alone. I feel unseen. I worry the small talk between us is not helping them get to know me better. It is only creating the illusion we know each other while keeping us at an arm’s length.
I wonder how many people on this planet know the me hidden beneath the pretend version I present to the public. I can probably count the amount on one hand. That is partially my fault but I cannot shoulder all of the blame.
I am slowly learning the thing I want more than anything is to be seen. I want someone to look passed the artificial layers and see further beneath, to the real, raw me pinned down with baggage. I want them to accept my imperfections. I want them to be unbothered by the darkness lodged inside me. I want a reminder it is okay to be this broken thing.
I am slowly learning the reason why likes and comments can seem so important is because it means someone sees me. When they pay attention to my posts, they are acknowledging my existence. In a roundabout way, they are admitting I matter enough to be given attention. They are admitting they care about me — at least a little.
Sometimes, the only thing I need to regain lost confidence is a smile thrown in my direction by a stranger, a comment scribbled beneath a post, or a hello appearing on my phone screen in the middle of the evening.
It is easy for me to slip into sadness because I have made a bad habit out of isolating myself. I spend most of my time alone because I am an introvert, an old soul. But when other people acknowledge my existence, it reminds me of the place I hold inside this world. It reminds me my heart is beating and pulse is thrumming. It reminds me I am alive.
I am slowly learning, for me, being attention hungry is the same as being hungry for social interaction, being hungry for deep-set friendships, being hungry for meaningful connections.
I do not want to continue walking through this world by my lonesome. I want others to enjoy the journey alongside.