Feeding the need for attention

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Guest Commentary
by John Lasiter

Why do we need attention?

Is it to show everyone just how good we feel about ourselves or is it simply to trick ourselves into thinking we feel good about ourselves? Did we not get enough attention when we were little or are we compensating for some deep rooted, sub conscience issue that we’ve yet to discover? Truth be told I have no freaking clue…

My story of needing to be the center of attention goes way, way back to when I was a little flamboyant brat with a bowl cut.

My parents were going through a tumultuous divorce and the last thing on their mind was validating me. Getting on everyone’s nerves was just part of my act and jumping in front of them and flailing my arms about was just another way of saying, “Hey, I’m not invisible.” I think we are all afraid of being invisible.

My attention-getting tactics have mellowed considerably, but the need is still very much there. I even stooped so low as to write about myself in the anonymous “She Said What” column in Inside OUT Nashville just so I could see my name in print as though that would quench my thirst for notoriety.

I’m not embarrassed by that at all as it has been many years and it’s actually quite liberating to admit it. Admitting that we need attention is the best way to discover just why we demand it.

Oh the scene of a gay bar — quite possibly the best place to witness the attention getter in the wild. At 19 years old and covered in body glitter, skin tight pants and a bedazzled shirt, he bursts through the door, nose up high, and with his oh so subtle body language and lips curled as if he just smelt dog crap announces his arrival into your world.

You see, he has convinced himself that as soon as he walks through that door, your life is complete. I used to think this was narcissism at its finest, but I know now that it’s not a display of how wonderful he thinks he is, it’s an elaborate disguise to hide just how little he thinks of himself. It’s a bit dramatic yes, but we all know that boy… it may even be you. I know it was me.

I think the gay community has quite possibly the biggest “need for attention.”

We don’t want to be ignored, feel as though we are invisible or simply be written off as a bunch of weirdos with an agenda. In this case, we need attention because we have something to say and we want to be heard. So are there still those same insecurities as a community? Of course there are. But it sure feels better to be part of a community.

You may even say that being together and standing up for ourselves makes us feel better as individuals thus lessening the need for other, possibly negative attention.

All in all, we are on our own individual journeys and we all need attention of some sort. I’ve discovered something great as I have aged. As my hairline recedes and my waistline grows, my wrinkles become more prominent than my ranking in the twink elite and people look at me less, and less, and less, I’m forced to confront my own issues and it feels great! I’ve discovered the best way to get positive attention is simply to give positive attention to others.