Attention seeking behaviour attracts wide-spread condemnation, doesn’t it? As these memes show:
We often pride ourselves as being, in some way, better than these people: More adult, more secure, less pathetic, less Drama-addicted, superior morally, spiritually, socially and mentally. We label them as Drama Queens (if they are women – and it is truly weird how often they ARE women!), or neurotics or hysterics.
Coming out of the closet, as I am about to do, and admitting to Attention-seeking characteristics is terribly un-British, don’t you know? Bloody hell, chaps, we should all have buttoned-up stiff upper lips at all times. Didn’t fight in the bally war to let the ruddy country be overtaken by the self-pitying and spineless cretins who so clog up our social sites, what?! Horsewhip the lot of ’em, I say!
I am an attention seeker. I can be a Drama Queen. I have been known to scream and have hysterics – though, much to my chagrin, I have not, as yet, done the full Violet Elizabeth Bott (that’s next week!).
But I am a hell of a lot of other things as well! I am, as we all are, a bouillabaisse of traits.
And I have to ask, are all those people who post such self-righteous, holier than thou memes totally free from any tendency to desire, and occasionally seek in less-than-big-smile-inducing-ways, attention themselves? Do we actually believe their unstated belief that they are, of course, above such childish behaviour?
I am afraid I do not buy into this belief that, out there, we have a race of Supermen and Women who have, in some strange way, evolved beyond the realm of human emotions, manipulations, behaviours and polarities; who are so superior that they have no need to seek attention – and can, thus, heartily condemn every other poor bugger who does travel down that road.
My own view is that reaching such a sanctimonious plateau is, actually, a warning sign and a potential path in the road: The moment we think we are perfect and sorted is the precise moment at which the next dollop of shit hits the psychic fan – and, of course, given the human tendency to project the negative onto others, those who decry the attention-seeking behaviour in others may well be a festering, if unacknowledged, latrine of it themselves.
Strong words? Yes. deliberately so. Often people seek attention because they do not have the words to ask; because they do not feel they have any power or right; because there is something desperately wrong in their lives which elicits an outburst of so-called unacceptable behaviour.
As a teacher, I saw many children acting out, demanding attention, behaving oddly to attract an adult’s eye. One, condemned as an inveterate attention seeker by many, turned out to be a victim of serious and long term sexual abuse – and her behaviour was the only way she could scream out her dreadful message. A friend, labelled by too many as a hopeless Drama Queen, killed herself when her true problem was ignored one time too many.
We are not all neat sacks of restraint and biddable behaviour. We do not all show our emotions in the same way. Life is not tidy or controlled. It worries me that we come close to sanctifying those who keep it all inside, who are well-mannered at all times; who do not blurt and weep and yell and yodel. Such assumptions we make, don’t we? That excellent behaviour on the surface means mental and physical wellness on the inside. That those who do not seek attention are, in some cock-eyed way, more deserving of life’s plaudits.
Of course there are people who go too far on the attention seeking front. I am not saying there aren’t. I am more than capable of that myself! But also there are those whose want of compassion, whose utter certainty that they are a finished and perfect product and subsequent opting out of what it truly means to be human, is every bit as fucking scary as the loudest, most Oscar-winning Drama Queen.
When I hear, ‘Ooh, he/she’s such an attention seeker!’ said in that sneering and superior way, there’s a part of me that wants to say, ‘Yes – and you are such a self-satisfied prig, I am surprised you haven’t already floated up to Heaven/Valhalla on the wings of self-adoration!’
And of course, there is the final wondrous irony: The senders of such memes are, by the very act of bunging their turgid thoughts out into the public domain, seeking attention themselves – whether they want to admit to such a heinous ‘crime’ or not!
The day I am perfect will be the day I am – er, well, DEAD basically! Because perfection is inanimate, crafted from stone or bronze or gold. It never breathed. Living is messy and imperfect and attention-seeking and silly and bloody wonderful!