Am I an Attention Whore? -
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Am I an Attention Whore?

This American Girl

 

My whole life I’ve wondered

if I’m an attention whore.

 

koh tao

 

I can recall many moments where my level of joy depended heavily on the level of attention I received.

 

koh lanta

 

As a child I passionately pursued theater. Perhaps because my mother encouraged it after watching me perform for our family daily. On stage I no longer thought, I would just act. I felt graceful and in control. I found myself swept up in the moment and in the energy of the audience who sat in silence anticipating my next word. I became free from my own clumsiness, my anxiety, and my moods. On stage I felt alive.

 

This American Girl

 

Like many thespians my theatrics permeated my life. I performed impressions for my friends, told elaborate stories at gatherings, and danced with enough enthusiasm to energize an auditorium. Being the center of attention felt fun. Not having attention felt lonely.

 

This American Girl

 

Even now in adulthood, on my journey to find contentment in solitude and empowerment in independence, at times I find myself longing for attention. Attention from men for dressing provocatively, dancing freely, or feigning confidence and cool. Attention from women for being strong, capable, and independent. Attention from my readers for sharing my struggles, for being “fearless”, and most of all for living out my dreams.

 

koh phagnan

 

But what happens when I don’t get the attention I want?

 

Where does my confidence stem from when the men around me have girlfriends, a one-track surf mind, or simply don’t find me attractive? What happens when the women are content with their companions or horror of horrors, don’t actually like me? What happens when my traffic dips into a lull, when my Facebook following doesn’t grow, or when no one comments on my blog posts?

 

koh phangan

 

While I previously found affirmation from the attention I received from men, being in Southeast Asia where I rarely even receive a glance, has my blog become my main source of validation?

 

koh phangan

 

It makes me check in and ask myself, “what is my motivation in being a blogger?” Does it come from a place of sharing and creative expression or from a wanting, needing ego? Away from family and friends and with no promise of a romantic relationship, have the likes, the comments, and the emails begun to replace human affection and even love?

 

tonsai bay

 

In today’s world where socializing happens online more often than offline, are we ALL actually bloggers whether we run a website or not?

 

koh tao

 

How many of us base our self worth on the number of likes from our latest status updates? How many of us take photos on our travels simply to elicit envy in our friends and coworkers? How many of us spend more time cultivating a world that someone wants to look at from behind our computers than being present in the real one?

 

koh tao

 

Recognizing these at times disturbing “attention whore” qualities in myself, I am working to sustain my level of worthiness from within.

 

koh rong

 

Away from the whistles and the machismo mindset, I’m learning to look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful. Because I am.

 

koh phangan

 

In groups of strangers I am allowing myself to step outside the spotlight and listen to other people instead. I don’t have to speak for someone to know that I’m there.

 

This American Girl

 

When I write articles that some people don’t like, or perhaps when I write something that no one responds to at all, I remember that the purpose of this blog is first and foremost to bring me joy through sharing my art. If I have fun, feel joy, or find release in the process I have already achieved my goal.

 

This American Girl

 

Perhaps I am still an attention whore. Perhaps most of us are. Especially bloggers. But every day I work to build my confidence and every day I work to humble myself by expanding my awareness of the world. In the process I hope that one day I will learn that I don’t need the attention of everyone because I am everything and at the same time not everything is about me.

 

 


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Comments

  1. Camille, this is probably one of my favorite posts yet. Props to you for bringing up an uncomfortable topic I think all of us wonder deep down about ourselves. This is all part of the journey and I’m glad you’ve been able to reconnect with the root of why this all started. For me, these posts are what makes your blog unique. Grateful for you sharing the ups, the owns and in betweens!

    Tori

  2. As much as we al think we have grown to be at peace within our own skin, we all still seem to be concerned with how many “likes” we get along the way.

    Your blog is a like

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 13, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      It’s so true. The need for attention and validation is very natural and human. Glad you “like” this :)

  3. Yeshi Dolma Says: March 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Considering you are an animal like the rest of us, being approved of by the group is part of survival instincts.

    Please consider refraining from calling yourself a ‘whore’ in any context, whether joking or not. You’re agreeing with the objectification of women as objects and how we allow ourselves to be demeaned. Words like ‘slut’ ‘whore’ ‘cunt’ ‘bitch’ spoken in jest but supporting some very harmful ideas…

    Just an idea.

    Yeshi

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Hi Yeshi, I appreciate your insightful response. Absolutely as animals it’s necessary for us to belong and feel wanted. I realize this word “whore” is controversial, in fact my mother even emailed me telling me how much she hates that expression. For me the word “whore” is not gender specific, it’s about losing your true self for something that you think you need. I do acknowledge that these terms are primarily used in a derogatory context towards women; I hope you know that was not the meaning I intended to express here. Thanks for sharing with us Yeshi :)

  4. Uncle Dave Says: March 13, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Such wisdom is rare at any age.

    Love ya!

    Dave Willemain

  5. Bill Dwyer Says: March 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Don’t confuse the need to be heard and acknowledged with something negatively narcissistic, Camille. If all you did was post pictures of your self on the beach, I’d say “Wow, what a pretty woman. Nice body,” and forget about it.
    What you’re doing is creating pictures and words that are always meaningful and frequently brilliant.
    You have both outer and inner beauty, Camille. The first will inevitably fade. The second just gets more beautiful.
    You’re no whore. Lose the word.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 13, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Bill. Thank you for your comment. I realize that it’s about more than attention, but it’s interesting how easily our egos can get in the way. Abandoning the ego and living for joy and giving instead is a daily practice :)

  6. Just keep being the beautiful, young, adventurous, fun filled person you are and stop worrying about what others think of you. You are unique in all the universe and therefore as perfect or imperfect as everyone. We all love you for that and thirst for your adventures and wisdom. Good post Camille. – Tom

  7. What about feeling beautiful without the mirror being involved? Beautiful just because.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Absolutely Danielle. Beauty is more than how we look, but I also know we all want to be beautiful in every facet including our exterior. How we look is what we show the world, so it’s natural to want it to shine. Our inner beauty makes that outer beauty shine even brighter.

  8. Carolina from Costa Rica Says: March 13, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Thought you might like this article: http://zenhabits.net/self-reliance/

    It’s a part of our culture to need validation, we just have to learn to look for it within ourselves, like you have described here :)

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 13, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Carolina, thank you for sharing this article. It’s amazing! I truly relate so much to it. In the past I certainly looked outside to fulfill what’s inside, and it was my yogi journey that taught me self fulfillment. However this can cause us to shut others out and become closed to relationships. Now I’m working on acknowledging that while I have everything inside of me that I need, connecting with other people is one of life’s greatest joys. Great article that I plan to read again and again :)

  9. Yes. Lose the whore word that has negatively been associated with attention. Keep being this honest with us and yourself. A very beautiful post, my brave daughter.
    All my love, Mom

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 13, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Hm, something for me to think about here. Considering what this word whore means to me and if it’s destructive or not…

  10. hey camille! thanks for sharing your pictures and stories of your travels. love your blog. are you in koh lanta in these pictures? please keep the posts coming :)

  11. What a great read! As always, your words and thoughts reside very closely with my own questions and musings. I often find myself in the same boat… feeling gratification through social media “attention”…however at the end of the day, its also an incredible outlet to express ourselves and our art. Keep sharing your wonderful photographs and words, you need a stage for your art, because there is a excited audience enjoying it !
    It is just a good reminder to check in with ourselves time to time, and remember that our value isn’t based on whether or not anyone “liked” what we posted!

  12. Your hair is so pretty!

  13. Amazing read!! Am a fan of your photography 😀

  14. Camille,

    why do you have to label (and perhaps judge) your need for attention? When you put the word “whore” together with attention, it implies that there’s something negative about your need. That you are exchanging attention for something else, that attention is something transactional in a negative way.

    It’s almost like saying that people who have needs are “needy” – which is a similarly negative laded word.

    There’s nothing wrong with needing or wanting – and even enjoying – attention! It’s very human and normal. :)

    Love,
    Marthe

  15. as a fellow travel blogger, i felt every ounce of your sentiments being an attention whore. I grapple with my ego all the time when it comes to publishing a new blog, but always divert back to the main motivation behind why I share my travels. it’s just to document and reflect, offer advice if someone is keen to taking it. Either way, all the best on your journey.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Thank you Ches! Glad you could relate to this post. I think no matter what we do in life ego can sneak in the way, so it’s always a balance of keeping ourselves in check.

  16. hey camille, maybe it is more searching for yourself and others to be understood , that everyone is different and should not be judged, a conversation , a photo , a touch, smell or taste …whoaa deep man , luv ya defs will find you somewhere soon :)

  17. Honest man Says: March 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Yes, you’re an attention whore. Sorry!

  18. Humans are social creatures, so I think we all need attention to some degree or other. So what you’re saying is that you think you might need more attention than some people. If that’s true I think it’s neither good or bad. It just is what it is. We’re all unique in our own ways, so there’s no need to worry if we’re slight more this or slightly less that. Wanting more attention most likely makes you a more interesting person to be around, so there’s always another side to balance these things out.

    Great photography.

  19. Southeast Asia can really make you wonder about these things. Kudos to you for sharing your thoughts out loud. Keepin’ it real.

  20. Alex James D'Andrea Says: March 16, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Where in Costa Rica are you residing as maybe a Coconut on the Rocks : > I will start with Puerto Viejo–What is the most direct way to get there from San Jose or Panama?

    Thanks!

    Bodichitta

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 16, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Hi there! I’m actually now in Southeast Asia, but have typically “lived” in Puerto Viejo. Best place on earth :) San Jose is probably more direct even though it’s technically further. I take the bus which takes about 4 hours, but you can also rent a car and make it in 3!

  21. Camille its a good post and aided by the over use of attention seeking pictures your argument rings true and rather than being arrogance, it’s self belief and self pride. Of course there is a need to seek attention and be noticed. I believe in it too. We are only here once to enjoy this planet and we should enjoy it. I dont want to be anonymous, I want to be noticed. I dont want to be the forgotten man or a wannabe or an also ran. So I make sure I’m not. There’s an element of self belief, confidence and inspiration involved in being an “attention whore” hopefully it rubs off on others too. First time on your site – looks good. Safe travels. Jonny

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 16, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Thanks for your compliments and your wise insights Jonny :) You raise an interesting point: perhaps the need for attention is also in a sense a way of seeking immortality based on our fear of death. Of course I know my desire for recognition is natural, but it’s always interesting for me to dig deeper and ask what my motivation truly is on every level. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you here again! ~Camille

  22. I have just been searching online about how to get more hits on my blog post and i stumbled across this. i love your honesty,its exactly what im thinking,just what im afraid too say. An inspiration. keep on writing. Sarah @ coffeewithasliceoflife.com

  23. LillyBug Says: March 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    When I was young, I thought . . . . . if just one thing I said or one thing I did changed someone’s life in a positive way, MY life would be worth living.

    My brother is following your footsteps in Costa Rica. He is much younger than me. Now . . . . the older sister (the careful one), afraid of leaving my safety zone and because of you, I may follow him on one of these adventures that you so poetically write about.

    Your site, your verse, your photos, and your courage to make the trek . . . . are inspiration to everyone.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 17, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      You just made my day with this. Kudos for sharing with us, for supporting your brother, and for having the bravery to chase your dreams! <3 <3 <3

  24. Hey Camille, I met you in siem riep just a few days ago. The Colombian guy, remember? Well, I just read this post and only with this post I can tell that it is amazing the level of sincerity and humbleness you have. We all have things in our life with which we have to struggle with. But the most important thing is to recognize those things and to learn to handle them. And I’m pretty sure you have sincerely recognized those things and bravely struggled with them. This post just remembers me that I should not give up in the same search. Thanks!! I always say that truth always heal and never damage. This post is a very good example. I’m sure life has amazing things for you. Take care 😉

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 23, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Si, Felipe, claro yo recuerdo! Espero estas bien en Phnom Penh. Muchas gracias para tu muy especiale palabras de tu corazon. Espero nos vemos un dia… tal vez en Colombia :) Un abrazo. x

  25. I ran across your blog looking for info about Playa Viejo (which was awesome by the way) and my eye was caught by the title of this particular post. I’ve asked myself the same question so was intrigued about what you had to say. I was so moved by your vulnerability and sincerity that I just had to write you and let you know. I feel your struggle but can see throughout your blog and in this post, what a full and loving heart you have. Your authentic self shines through fully. I’m also a photographer and you can see your creativity and passion in your images too. You are not received as egotistical at all. You are received as inspirational. Let your light continue to shine. Namaste.

  26. Well, it turns out Im an attention Pimp.
    How you doin’n ? HA.
    Keep hav’n fun you Rock.

  27. I don’t know if I’d say I’m an attention whore. That said, there are times I’m uncomfortable with being the centre of attention. But, I wish I got more attention because it would be easier for me to make friends (It’s often very difficult for me to make friends).

    I have a blog but it’s nowhere near the best travel blogs. That doesn’t bother me but I receive a tremendous ego boost when I get a good number of views. Likewise, if I get a nice number of Facebook likes, that’s a good ego boost. So I am comfortable with a certain amount of attention. How much? I don’t know.

    • Camille Willemain Says: June 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Isn’t it interesting how we get that good feeling or boost when we get validation from our readers? Though I’ve certainly noticed the flip side receiving negative feedback from readers as well. What I’ve learned through these experiences is that, good or bad, we need to receive our validation from within because we can’t rely on the positive praise and we can’t allow the negative words to bring us down.

  28. […] as the months passed without male attention, I began to see that whether I thought I looked fat in a photograph or ugly in the mirror reflected […]

  29. “If I have fun, feel joy, or find release in the process I have already achieved my goal.”

    I have just recently found your blog as I have done the same twice (selling everything and hitting the road with enthusiasm). it attracted me out of similar life goals. I have now lived at least ⅔ of my life and I love the fact, that young people like you, are discovering life’s simple secrets, which took me so long to do. There is hope for humanity yet :-).

    Much love and blessings,

  30. I think as long as you can remain self-aware enough to pause, observe your behavior and your thoughts from an objective perspective and consciously determine if what you’re doing is working for you, then you’re on the right track.

    I’m always impressed with your use of questions in your pieces, Camille, especially voicing the questions that often don’t have an answer. I think it shows how introspective and mindful and eager to grow you are, which are lovely qualities. Keep keepin’ on :)

  31. Interesting perspective…I think the label is a bit extreme, most every “normal person” seeks some type of validation of their worth, it is why social media is such a giant trend. You have wonderful insightful stories of your travels and thoughts, beautiful photography and provide an educational element in your blog and FB page.

  32. Thank you for your honesty in these posts, its truely amazing! I have spent the last hour reading through them, captivated the entire time. I realize the irony of complimenting you on this post knowing that your trying to express yourself first and foremost, therefore at least attempting to take my validation as only the “icing on the cake” if that expression isn’t even too grandiose. How much time do we spend behind a computer attempting to fabricate the world we travel in, instead of experiencing it. So true! That one really resonated with me, amongst countless other entries about self imposed social isolation, happiness. For whatever its worth I truely apreciate this blog and you are not alone!!!! As Im sure you know.
    Thank you again
    Sincerely
    Loren Ross

    • Camille Willemain Says: November 13, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Thank you so much Loren :) It’s always nice to hear. Good luck to you in your journey of self discovery <3

  33. And ur photos are great! I spent a month in Dominical, and hiked the same trail to see the view of koh phangan, not teying to be creepy, but these photos are nostalgic!!!

  34. Woman of Béotie, woman of america… this country and his states, UK, Germany, Spania, and for my regrets France now is worst creation of humanity ! Stupidity, whore, war, and soon third world war, american can’t imagine feelings that many people have about them and all in the world. That’s not angry or hate, that’s like not to be in contact with ebola !

    Your country with his inside et outside political is dead in 50 years, dollar ? almost dead (that’s why third worl war is coming), Israel directed US and since Woodrow Wilson and more, no past, no tradition exept decline… So when only question that a girl ask is your question… that’s an answer… Your country need to be free of financial power and israelite power, 50 millions of american are without job…. no education…. come on wake up Obama or another that’s same result, make your revolution, the true revolution and not like the fake french revolution en 1789, it was a revolution of bank and not people, stop to have only consommation for purpose and stop to live in order to show your asshole !

    Do you know what’s a atom ? a star ? who build pyramids in Egypt ? come on wake up to you and all women because that’s by you that men will can revive because at the moment, men are dead and transform in bitch with tatoo !

    Message from a french who prepare revolution in France with many other of my people, wait until 2017 and see what’s is going on in France after 2017 and follow us. Many people in US have already understand, look for Alain Soral in France, Dieudonné, in my country that’s very soon for the big day, your fucking president is at 1% and all the politician are hate, after 2017 and election… civil war will start… i’m not a crazy, actually government take decision to stop thats but that’s too late…

    So stop think about stupidity and read more, and not Twilight !

    • That is too funny! Alain Soral is THE attention whore. Just have a look at his biography. The man craved for celebrity and attention all his life. Dieudonné is another one.

  35. Sounds like another female oppressed by patriarchy oppressing other women for wearing sexy clothing and liking to be seen and appreciated . Mans lack of evolution to respect the feminine is not Her problem . You sound like a brainwashed victim slut / rape victim shamer .

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 15, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Why shame another woman for her expression? The only way to transform oppression is with kindness and compassion <3