Everyone wants attention. I don’t care what you say. You may not want the spotlight on the daily but you definitely crave some sort of light. Humans actually fall into a funk when withdrawn from light for long periods of time. It’s called seasonal depression and it’s a very real thing. As much as I miss and love the midwest, I do not miss that. Winters were rough. Not seeing the sun for months at a time does a real number to your psyche. Just add bourbon and you’ve got an entire town of depressed drunk sports fanatics with winter bods. So when you feel like you’ve been cast in a shadow for too long or aren’t being seen, it’s no surprise that you begin to feel restless because life requires light.
Welcome to the digital age we live in. Social media was created for attention…and for all of us to be publicly spied on and facial recognition – I’ll get into that later. No one posts something thinking ‘god, I hope no one likes this.’ And if you don’t have a social media account, you’re either running from the government or working for it. We post on social media for others to see. Look at me on an island! Look at how many beers I drank! Look at this view! Look how attractive I turned out in this picture! Look at this bendy thing I did! Honestly, how did I get through my childhood without it? Did it even happen? I will say, I am forever grateful it’s not on the line for all to see because I went through some very serious phases of awful in the 90s. Talk about a comeback kid. Phew! Back to the point, we get so transfixed on letting everyone else know what we are up to we forget to appreciate the people and the life right in front of us.
I see it happen all of the time. People are hanging out but they’re really just having conversations with other people while sitting next to one another. It’s very strange if you think about it. It’s quite a thing that you can be sitting at the same table with other people and not even say a word to one another. We are all in a state of constant distraction. My hand is up – guilty as charged. We are bodies living lives beyond our scope of sight side by side. Couples lying in the same bed are often in two very different places. The click of a few buttons and you’ve vanished from the room. It can make a person wonder if they’re ever really seen or truly heard which, at least as far as I’ve discovered, is all anyone truly wants.
There’s an older man who works at the grocery by my apartment. He’s a bagger and I’ve yet to see him without a smile on his face. Even at 3am when the there’s only one register open and all the drunks and drug-filled drones of Hollywood are in an endless line being less than cordial, he’s smiling away. He can’t be broken. He always tells me that it’s so good to see me and to get home safe. It breaks my heart every single time. He’s just so damn nice. He seems so incredibly happy and content with doing what he’s doing and he does it wish such grace and care. While everyone is preoccupied with this, that and the other, he stands out in the crowd every single time. I’ve never told him any of this in fear of sounding like such a psycho creep or making him uncomfortable but then I thought – if I made someone smile, wouldn’t I want to know?
Case in point: I was sitting at the bar the other night with my friend when a voice came from behind me “You’re hilarious”. I turned around and this guy was looking directly at me. My facial expressions are not for the weak at heart, so I’m sure he got the “You talking to me? Why you looking at me?-but I’m kinda flattered you were, but for real, how long you been looking at me!?” look. I can’t fix this face okay? She cannot be tamed and she has a lot to say. The fact is, he didn’t have to say anything to me. He could have appreciated from afar and went on his merry way, but he didn’t. In a world where we walk around entranced in our own little portion of it, it was a breath of fresh air to feel noticed – especially when I least expected it.
Each of us has our own way of finding our light. We crave it and need it in order to survive. It has become all too easy to feel invisible, to feel lost in the crowd, to feel insignificant or forgotten. When we feel these things, we need to be mindful of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Being aware of this will give you more power than you can imagine. Be bold, be grand, be decadent and be yourself – the right kind of people will notice. Too often we seek the approval and eyes of the wrong people and in this great big world of awesome, people feel unheard, unloved and unseen because of it. Beauty cannot be defined, your worth cannot be based on trends and your life is not measured in likes. We all need the light. We all need love. We all deserve to be seen. Blaze and crackle and burn. Find your light and shine so bright the darkness fears your fire.