The Fear Of Attention

Let’s cut the bullshit.

You are a social fucking animal. You care what the tribe thinks of you, you care what the family unit thinks of you, and you care what that fucker a million miles away on the internet thinks of you because we were born to connect to each other- it fucking sucks.

As a kid and throughout most of my life I hated being anywhere near the center of attention. I didn’t want to be seen. It literally felt safer behind my mothers leg than getting praise or adoration- I was a cute kid. Believe it or not, that continued and it got worse the more I realized I sucked at everything. If there was a spotlight, point it away from me, I couldn’t stand to see my flaws yet alone have someone else see it too. I actually considered myself an introvert because of it.

The thing is, I like people. I am not afraid of them, I am not quiet if I have something to say, I will say it. I don’t back down from an argument. And most of the time I really enjoy learning about others lives and try not to offer unsolicited advice when learning. Because I thought I was an introvert it took me a longer time to accept how I am; A people person. And because I hate the center of attention, I make myself experience the spotlight, so I can overcome that fear.

The spotlight is an uncomfortable place for me. Over the last year I have gone there more times than I have in the last two decades. It really wasn’t much. What I did was tell the world; fuck what you think, I’m gonna be me and do what I want. That is bold as shit, not because I think I did something daring, but because I felt fear the whole time I did it. Most people put on a cultural uniform and act like they are being different. Everyone has their suits and conform to the dictates of what is cool, sexy, or respected in their culture. When I was a punk skater kid, I thought I was being different. I stood out from the culture I was in. Like all punks and goths, and businessmen, we act like we are being different, but when in a different culture, but we know where we are accepted. And that doesn’t make us unique or individuals, it just means we experience a moment of discomfort, but we are safe knowing we fit in somewhere.

Why are we like this?

Because survival in life is community with others.

We do everything to spread the burden and get on with trying to enjoy life. And enjoying life has to do with engaging with others, it is play, it is work, it is love, it is challenging each other, and just sitting and relaxing. And to do that we need to fit in. We don’t need to stand out, be the best, or be a leader, we just need to do our part and make nice with those we are next to. Most business books, leadership books, religious books, will tell you the truth that that is the simplest path to a happy and satisfying life. If they did, they would have nothing to sell you, and there would be no money made on their part. Your welcome, life is easier than you think.

Back to me- I do shit that makes me uncomfortable and to others it seems brave or stupid. My first reason for doing anything is it is funny- it only has to be funny to me to do, but if others smile, it makes me smile too. The second reason is I don’t want to be afraid of the spotlight. I don’t want to fear attention- especially positive attention. The reason there is so much praise for it, is it builds momentum for other things in life. They get a chance to do things others only dream of. They get the promotions, the sales, the clout. But we can’t all dance in the spotlight. Most of us don’t want to. It takes bravery to do it. We all don’t want to face fear or failure in front of others. So, for those who dance in the spotlight, they get to enjoy the music of life out loud and proud; the greatest dancers get other’s feet moving too. Everyone is free to enjoy the music of life. Attention isn’t the enemy, the fear of others doesn’t have to hold back. You don’t have to wait for someone to pick you to play in the game of life, you just have to start playing. Life is a mixed metaphor and a funny story, you will die and most of the things you fretted about will be gone with you.

Later Gator 🐊

For fun, I will give you an example of defiance: my wife hates my mustache, but it is Mustache March for me; because it is funny. Her and my kids find me appalling. I endure their barrage of insults for two reasons, I can’t see it and when I do I look like a biker badass from the 80’s, a real fucking macho man.

It’s a me Mario!