On Performance and Seeking Attention

Dear P,

Today I watched the music video for Lana Del Ray’s “Video Games” for the first time. This catalyst to the cultural phenomenon that is Lana Del Ray sparked an epiphany in me. My first response to this video was “Dadgum. What an attention seeker.”

And then reality struck. That was what made the video awesome.

We live in a society that generally condemns attention seekers. Have you noticed that cool people don’t post on Facebook anymore? The only people who update their Facebook statuses are:

  1. Promoting a charitable/political cause
  2. Selling something
  3. 30+ years old
  4. All of the above

I have one friend who posts real Facebook statuses. They are reflections of her doings and whereabouts, which is what Facebook statuses were designed to be, except that they just happen to also be beautiful. She’s not here right now, so I can’t ask her to use them, but just trust me on this one. They are vaguely reminiscent of David Foster Wallace or the best of Jeffrey Eugenides (and by the best of Eugenides I mean “Middlesex”). Imagine the best prose that I’ve written and multiply the greatness by about thirty and you have the level of these statuses.

If my friend had listened to the masses of cool people of our generation say, in a superior tone, “Oh, I haven’t posted a Facebook status in over a year”, and decided to hide her brilliance under the dull veil of conformity, the world would be a less majestic place.

The same is true for the bright girl who always whispers interesting questions in my ear during biology class. “Ask the professor!” I urge. Alas, I am the only person who usually benefits from her musings. I mostly blame this on the fact that we regularly make fun of the kids who ask the most questions in class i.e. THE ATTENTION SEEKERS.

My best friends who are called “attention seekers” the most often are also the most enthusiastic, outgoing, and people-pleasing. One of my friends (who shall remain anonymous) was stressing the other day about this. She admits she loves attention, and so seeks it by being generally charming and beautiful. I don’t see anything wrong with this.

Art was meant to be noticed. Talent was meant to be given to the public. I personally hate to be looked at by more than one person at a time, so I am unlikely to seek attention in the usual sense, but I am quite vain about my writing and pictures. I therefore post pictures on Facebook and words to you on this blog, so I can show them off.

(A picture I uploaded onto Facebook a couple of minutes ago)

So, if you excel, as you, P, do at many things, I urge you to parade your arts to the world. Charm, converse, express, excel and create, then revel in the praise and attention that spawns from doing the things you love. It’s what the best people have always done:

(Just a brief sampling of awesome people who weren’t afraid to attract attention from their greatness.)

Love, Kisses and Courage,

E

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