I can basically be summarized as a walking contradiction. Blame it on my Gemini tendencies, or…you know, mental illness. Whatever. All I know is that I’m a walking contradiction 95% of the time. Especially when it comes to the constant battle I have with myself…the struggle to hide and be seen.
Yes, I want both. I hate attention, I truly do. Attention makes my palms sweaty and my heart race in a really lurching, unpleasant way. Attention makes my anxiety kick into gear and it makes those little cruel jabs rise to the surface. Everyone has those jabs, I think. Chronic pain disorder and mental illness aside, everyone has that voice of insecurity in their head that says things like: Everyone’s watching you because you’re weird/have a limp/have a booger in your noise. Everybody feels uncomfortable from time to time in certain situations, social and otherwise.
I dislike attention because the attention I was accustomed to receiving is “negative” attention, or rather – things that I perceived as negative. Remember, perception is a funny thing. What I perceive as negative, someone else may not. Any time I wore shorts, people would stare and ask questions about my legs. My greatest insecurity is my body, and thus – that is a perception of something negative for me, the commentary on my body. So any time I brave the outside world in shorts or a dress, I want to hide. Disappear among the crowd. But I stand out because I am different and that’s not always a bad thing (or so, I am learning).
I am used to feeling as if I should hide when attention is upon me. Which is hilarious, because I do take a lot of selfies…but they aren’t of the things I’m insecure about. I kind of like my face, I mean…as far as faces go, it’s alright. It’s the rest of me that I’m still learning to love…the bumps, the scars, the differences that set me apart from people and naturally draw attention when gazed upon by curious individuals.
But, I’m an author. I want to be seen and heard – or at least, I want my work to be seen and heard. So I’m at this constant crossroads, torn between wanting to hide and wanting to be seen.
I want people to know my name, to know that I write books and to read those books. I want to share my words with the world; I want to share my love for writing with everyone. Naturally, this means I need to be seen a little. The idea of doing a public book signing or going to an author event terrifies the living hell out of me – but I’ll do it if the opportunity arises, because my love for writing and my desire to share that love outweighs the insecurity I feel over being in the spotlight. Sort of. I mean, I’d probably break down and ugly cry all over the place if a stranger said something mean to me but I’m as sensitive as they come so…that would happen irregardless, I think. Especially if the mean thing had nothing to do with my writing.
As an author, not everyone is going to like everything you write and I get that. But when someone walks up to you and says mean things that really don’t pertain to your books at all…that’s tough and I dread it. I dread it because it happened even before I was an author, any time I stepped foot outside in “revealing” clothes. When I was a summer student at a recreational group, when I was taking my kids to the beach on a hot summer day…it happens a hell of a lot and I’m trying to get over that and embrace all the good.
Because I know, that for every shitty, backhanded comment someone makes about my physical differences, there are a hundred beautiful comments that encompass me as a person and not just my body as a vessel.
I wonder if this is something that other authors struggle with? The desire to hide and yet…to also be seen and known?