From a very young age I’ve been writing about things personal to me, mainly because I needed to talk about them and nobody was willing to listen.
So, I wrote. It didn’t matter if anybody read them or not.
I didn’t know I was being vulnerable back then. I didn’t know how important a trait vulnerability really was for artists all around the world, to be good at their art and more importantly, to be noticed. I didn’t think it was hard to keep doing it once you had people paying attention to your work. I didn’t know it was something I would soon turn out to become afraid of as I kept writing more.
They say being vulnerable is hard.
They sure knew what they were talking about.
We’ve all heard of attention seekers haven’t we? You know, the people who constantly keep doing things to attract attention to themselves? I know I didn’t have to explain that, but whatever.
Anyway, my point is every time we hear the words “attention seeker” there’s always at least three names of the people we know that pop up in our head. And we don’t necessarily like these people. Who does? Why would anybody like someone who grabs all the attention in a circle of people? Even the attention that you might’ve got if it wasn’t for these people doing something far more interesting than you can ever possibly imagine to do.
Oh, no, don’t get offended. I didn’t mean you only hated them because they had something you didn’t.
Or did I?
We’re all told bringing attention to ourselves is a bad thing. It’s a selfish thing and no nice person should be doing it. Almost as if stating your presence in the world was a sin. Almost as if walking around the planet pretending you don’t take up any space was the right thing to do.
Now I don’t know what the solution to this is when it comes to living out there in the real world as an attention seeker or around an attention seeker. As much as bringing attention to oneself I believe is not a crime, I don’t think that it’s not annoying either.
It is annoying but who are we to ask somebody to not do something that simply states the fact that they exist, maybe in a little exaggerated way.
It’s complicated. But what I’m getting to is how this transforms itself into a weird manifestation in the world of writers. In artists of all kinds definitely, but more specifically in writers. The people who are attention seekers but on paper.
Isn’t that what we all are?
For we do nothing but ask people to pay attention to our words.
We don’t scream out in the real world, so we scream on paper. Quietly but just as passionately. And fiercely. And intensely. And any other adverb you can think of.
You might say that that’s not true. That writers are not attention seekers. Maybe ’cause you’re a writer yourself and you’ve never heard anyone calling you such names before. If you haven’t come across such people, trust me, you eventually will.
I’ve always writren about my story in one way or the other. Sometimes hidden in fiction and sometimes pretty direct, like on my blogs. I’ve always thought of it as charity, you know. Weird I should think that. Actually it’s not that weird. I thought telling your stories to someone was helping that someone more than it was helping me because that’s how stories of other people always affected me.
I might’ve survived on food and water all my life. But stories are what that kept me alive. Stories of people I didn’t know. Stories of people I didn’t have any personal interest towards. Stories I didn’t have the necessity to care about.
But I cared. Simply because they were stories and that it mattered. It mattered enough to change somebody’s life. And somehow, that changed mine.
To give an example, there are times when I come across one of those YouTube videos with people just crying and talking about what they went through. I don’t know about you, but not once have I ever thought that they were only asking for attention. Not once.
That should explain why I was so proud of telling my stories when I first started doing so.
What followed was – a bunch of people who didn’t think so. Not just any people. People who claimed they loved me. People who were always there for me. People who were my own.
Apparently, according to them, I was cheap. I was cheap for selling my stories just to make money out of it.
Apparently I didn’t have any dignity.
Apparently I had to be ashamed of the writer I am.
Apparently I didn’t deserve to be read by people.
Apparently I would stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Apparently people would shun me.
Apparently I was being an idiot.
Apparently I was only naive, and had no idea how big the consequences to sharing personal stories were.
Well, I didn’t know this side existed. So, maybe I was naive.
I was broken at the end of this conversation, of course. I was broken for at least a week before I stumbled upon another YouTube video of somebody crying and realized again, that there was no part of me that thought they were only asking for attention. Most of me was just grateful how they saved me life by telling their stories that day.
But the effects of that conversation never ceased to take a toll on me. Everything that I wrote ever since, I stopped putting my heart out there. As much as I had assurance that it wasn’t a sin to tell your story, I was always haunted by somebody out there telling me it was. I became afraid of what they might say. From hoping that telling these stories would save lives, I started to fear that telling them will only bring down their value to me and to the people it mattered to.
And maybe that’s why I’m writing this today. Not to tell you that vulnerability took guts and was something you shouldn’t be ashamed of, but to tell myself that vulnerability took guts and was something I shouldn’t be ashamed of. That it makes me not a lesser writer but a better one to share the stories that mattered to me and touch more lives out there by doing so consistently. That no matter how many lives I touch, there will always be people who try to pull me down with them. That the value of my story doesn’t lie in their hands but in my own. That they shouldn’t be the reason I didn’t do what I wanted to do. That it really did take courage and a lot of guts to go through such a process and all the after effects it will continue have. That being a writer, or like some may call it – an attention seeker, is what I am and I don’t see any wrong in it. That it is in fact something I should be proud of doing. Every day. No matter what anybody says.
You can stick all the labels you want on my head. But I will continue to do what saved my life, in the hopes of saving many others out there. I will continue to tell my stories. I will continue to be who I am. I will continue to fight for what I can be.
Hopefully another writer really needed this in their life right now. And hopefully that in itself proves how sharing your stories matter.