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Monday, January 21, 2013

Attention-Seeking-Missile

See the dude on the right? He has more bla bla bla's than the dude on the left. I can totally relate to that.

I have recently realized that I am an attention-seeking-missile when I write. Or okay, all the time, writing or not. I laugh and joke loudly, sometimes verging on obnoxiously. I can't resist inserting that perfect little zinger when someone else is talking (hopefully when they've paused for breath, not in the medias res of a sentence.) I make faces when I tell stories, and I can't imagine telling one without appropriately placed accents. I love drawing out a tale to the last possible second before dropping the bomb, or twist, or punchline, and watching people's faces morph from curious waiting/slow connecting, to the nearly audible click of understanding and the involuntary guffawing that follows. I. Heart. That.

Does that make me bad? I used to think so. Did NOT like how much I talked. Worried about my hyper brain making all these whackadoo connections that I was so dying to share with someone. Stressed that I cannot tell a tale without waving my arms about and tourettes-ing my face and voice beyond all recognition.

So I worked on it. Tried to pull back. Felt like I made progress. And then I started writing.

Ack. ACK. I can't write normal. I can't not be a spaz when I write. AND I can't not care if someone isn't reading it. Especially that. I care a lot if someone is reading. And enjoying. And possibly even commenting.

Oh. My. Gosh. It's clinical. I'M A WRITING NARCISSIST! I mean, pure writers don't do that, right? My Gnomies don't do that. Seriously. These two chickiewickies write for the pure joy of writing. They don't die if no one reads or comments. They don't feel all sad inside.  They just want to improve their craft. They're freaking healthy. I want to smack them.

Well, I was on the verge of checking myself into an Audienc-aholic Detox center, when my sister-in-law came over and had a chat with me. She asked how I feel when I don't get audience feedback. Is it important to me? Do I feel all woebegone if I don't know that people (or even person) are reading my words and maybe getting something out of them? Or am I happy to write just to be writing. 

Pretty sure you know the resounding answer to that.

"Well," she said, in a rough summation of what she actually said, because it was a few days ago and I can't really remember correctly because I've been super busy and have Hashimoto's and adrenal fatigue and isn't that a handy excuse? "Well then. You're a performer who writes. Not a writer who writes. You love audiences. You love the connection and the bonding you get with your audience. You love to know you've made them laugh and smile and think and feel better. When you write you want that too. It's just a different writing personality, that's all."

Oh.

OH!

So I'm not mentally and morally deficient? I'm not self-absorbed? (Well, not completely.) I'm not obnoxious? OKAY, OKAY, LETS NOT PUSH IT A'IGHT?

You know, sometimes, even though you can't really do anything to change a thing, it really helps to know what that thing is. Makes  it easier to deal with. You know, like that old saying: "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't." Or something like that.

So, dearest darlings. Know that I write because I love you. And I want to bring joy to you. Laced with spazziness. And I'll try not to weep if no one reads it. And I'll rejoice if even one person does, and hope that it made their life a little brighter. And I'll embrace that part of me. While totally recommending -- from this new and wondrous place of wisdom in which I now reside -- that you do the same thing with your own self. Figure out why you do things, and embrace it rather than reject it. Leverage it for good and happiness for yourself and others. Figure out how it brings joy and be cool with that. Not saying we can't change, but we can change from a place of positiveness. And maybe who we are is great enough, and it doesn't need to change at all. Just be accepted.

Right. That's my nugget for today. I'll try to chat at you again sometime this week, since it's my week and I'm the boss of it.

Have a great one, my friends!


(all artwork by hikingartist.com - allowed for public use)

9 comments:

Chrisy said...

I'm glad you turned this post around. I was worried you were being too hard on yourself. I think most writers/bloggers/entertainers move through the feelings you described. An audience, no matter how large or small, is the fruit. I don't believe anyone should feel badly about enjoying that.

You're doing great, "dearest darling." :)

Janiel Miller said...

Ah good! Thank you, my dear. And maybe writing after staying up all night hosting a bash for my kid is a bad idea. Don't want to stress people out. :) Great to see you yesterday!

Maegan Langer said...

I had a similar moment of self insight when I first read QUIET, Susan Cain's book about introverts. It was like reading my own biography. Until then, I was vaguely aware of the term introvert, but I'd never really applied it to myself.
Suddenly it was like, "OH! So that's why! Why couldn't I have read this 10 years ago??"

Finally I could understand why I always loathed group projects in school (also because, everyone else always did it "wrong" and I was the only one who knew how to do it "right," but I digress), why I would have much preferred sitting in a classroom by myself doing homework rather than being compelled to participate in P.E. class, why I begged my mom in junior high to let me be homeschooled because I was so overwhelmed by the crowds and the noise (yes, and the stupidity) of my classmates (the answer was 'no'), and why I struggled to keep up at my very first job - even though I knew I was smart and hard-working and conscientious (I was just cautious about jumping right in until I knew what it was all about), and why I still have to be selective about which group activities I participate in and I always have to make up for it by recharging in a quiet spot by myself afterwards.

It is a great relief to learn these things about ourselves. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, it's just what makes you you. And that's okay :-)

Maegan Langer said...

And when you think about it, writing is just another kind of performance, it's just not done on a literal stage: you disappear into characters who do and say things you wouldn't. I think Caleb even talked about this in class one time.

William Kendall said...

I have times when I'm very much introverted... and then extroverted if I happen to have a fellow conspirator close at hand. In which case, all sorts of silliness ensues.

Maegan Langer said...

That's common for most introverts. I too can get into trouble when I'm surrounded by the right influences *cough* Janiel and Russo *cough* *cough*

Janiel Miller said...

This is completely true. Maegan's a closet looney-tune. :)

And don't you just LOVE fellow conspirators?

William Kendall said...

Fellow conspirators are splendid! Even better than having a convenient patsy to pin the blame on when the mischief suddenly starts coming apart.

Russo said...

Fellow conspirators- I love that, you're right, Maegan. It all depends on the company.

I seriously loved this post, Janiel. I giggled when I read "I just wanna smack them." PS- I just pretend to be chill but sometimes I have my freakouts too (shh, don't tell anyone.)