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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Hello beautiful soul,
In August 2018 I stopped blogging as This American Girl. You can now find me at Camillewillemain.com where I'm sharing my retreats and courses.
Love, Camille