A Confession

July 2, 2010


They say confession is good for the soul.  I guess that’s true, although. sometimes, I wonder how.  When my brother and I were growing up, my parent’s favorite response to every complaint was “It builds character”.  Yard work in the dead of a North Carolina summer (90+ degrees, 90+ humidity.  “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” ought to replace “First in Flight” on the license plate)?  It builds character.  Keeping the thermostat at a steady 68 degrees in winter?  It builds character.  Stacking firewood, washing dishes (no dishwasher, it was the olden days)?  You got it, they build character.  Maybe confession, as sucky as it is, builds character and as Paul said in Romans And not only that, but we* also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”  Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.  But, it did give me a chance to relate my “builds character” story and I like telling it.  Now, that I’ve stalled long enough (and, possibly lost a few readers due to blatant obfuscation), I’ll make my confession: I’m an attention whore.

I will say, however, I’m not your garden variety attention whore.  You know what I’m talking about (if not, here’s Urban Dictionary’s take), and we all know one.  That person that always has a story to top the one you’ve been telling.  Or, the woman who dresses completely inappropriately for a given occasion.  Or, just that loud ass moron that drives you up the wall.   That’s not me, though.  No, my whorishness manifests in a different form. I am a tad bit obsessive about my blog stats.  I use WordPress and on the Dashboard page, there’s a graph that shows how many views you’ve had each day.  And, I… can’t… stop… looking at it.  When it’s up, I’m ecstatic.  Let it drop, though, and I’m ready for suicide watch.  It’s vanity, pure and simple, and I even own up to it in the last line of the first blog I ever wrote.  I write a blog, supposedly, for myself, about things that are probably only important to me.  I do this to help me get my thoughts in order.  Then,I put it on the world-wide web for all to see and when my readership isn’t where I want it to be, I get upset.  Where’s the logic in that?

Recently, I was talking with someone who wondered why blogs, in their words, “suck”.  They had read one whose author was obviously experimenting and it was a bit hard to read.  I responded “To be honest, we’re not really writing for you, the reader; we’re writing for ourselves. I realize that’s arrogant, but art itself is arrogant. The artist (writer, painter, composer, etc.) puts whatever they’re feeling out there for the public to see, as if you, the public, give a crap what we’re feeling. As a rule, writers can’t help but write. Even if no one likes it, we’re still driven to record and reveal our thoughts. That’s why I’m not disputing your assertion that “everyone who has one (is) a nutso”. A normal person wouldn’t be obsessed with public approval, yet produce things which repulse the very public whose approval they crave.”  I’d say that sums up the twisted thinking of a writer pretty well.  Well, at least it sums my twisted thinking. 

It’s not just bloggers (okay, me) who suffer from this insane need for attention.  Commercially published writers do, too.  Rachel Held Evans, author of “Evolving in Monkey Town” writes about her obsession with Amazon sales rankings in “How do you measure yourself“.  Now, you might say that’s not so bad because she’s looking at sales, which involves money, which is different from the “You really like me!” syndrome I’ve been talking about.  But, that’s not it at all.  She has the perverse need for approval I do, she’s just using a different yardstick.  Which, in a weird way, kinda makes me feel better.  Even if I’m not a published writer, at least I have a neurosis in common with one. 

What’s the takeaway from all this?  I’m not sure.  Maybe it’s that I’m strange (been said numerous times before); that I’m obsessive (I do have a touch of OCD); or that I’m overly concerned with what others think about me (most would never suspect, but it’s true).  Or, maybe, it’s something I’ve said before: I’m a screwed-up, broken mess.  And, God loves me anyway.  Just the way I am.

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