So, I go to therapy. At first, the plan was to go to couple’s counseling. When that seemed to be more talk than action, I started going by myself to see what I could figure out. We attended one session as a couple, then I went back to going it alone. Turns out I like things better this way.
Last time I was there, I was talking to her about my thought slut tendencies. As well as sporadically babbling here, I also spam various unfortunate friends with texts and selfies throughout the day. I know I’m an adult, but I’m completely obsessed with selfies. The weirder and more unflattering, the better. As I was telling her about this, I got self-conscious, lowered my eyes and muttered, “I do it because I want attention.” and waited for her scathing judgement. She nodded and said, “sure!”. Then she waited for me to continue my story. (There is actually never judgement of any magnitude delivered from her oversize chair, it’s my insecurities that assume it’s coming.)
Wanting attention isn’t bad. It’s not crazy, it’s not weak, it’s not pathetic. It’s human. We all have a need to connect with others, and sometimes it comes in the form of tiny bursts of attention. I don’t always want to have a deep, meaningful conversation. Sometimes, I just want someone to tell me that my ridiculous face made them laugh. I don’t want to discuss my new journey with everyone, but I do want to be seen by people. There isn’t anything wrong with that.
It does make a person vulnerable, though. That part is rough, and in my case can lead to some serious self-doubt and overly critical thinking. It’s hard to put yourself out there, and then just patiently wait. That time between the text about my bathroom habits leaving my phone (Not even kidding. Sometimes I even have to tell someone that.) until the moment I hear the comforting notification signaling a reply, I’m filled with anxiety. What if it’s a bad time, or they don’t find me funny today? What if they’ve hated my random texts since the beginning, and I’ve finally pushed them too far? What if they never speak to me again? WHAT IF I JUST SENT A TEXT ABOUT THE END RESULT OF MY TACO BELL FOOD BABY TO A DUDE INSTEAD OF MY BEST FRIEND??? Alright, that last one is a bit more rational, and luckily I have yet to cross that particular line. But part of being vulnerable is having compassion and empathy for yourself. A constant theme in my therapy homework is to find ways to be kinder to myself. Allowing room for error. Saying nice about myself instead of rushing to point out all my flaws before everyone else does. (I always think it will hurt less that way, but it doesn’t.) Finding joy and even a little pride in the ridiculous facial expressions I make, rather than being ashamed that I don’t look like the world’s standard model for beauty. Admitting that I just need someone to pay a little attention to me.
Another part of my homework from this last session was to post my silly selfies here. I’m still working up to that one, and that’s perfectly fine. The world isn’t ready for my special brand of cartoony, Muppety goodness just yet. But you best get yo’self prepared, because it will happen.