“Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.” – Mary Baker Eddy
Attention is a hell of a drug for some people. I’m one of those people. The realization came in college when I found myself going through a bit of an ugly duck phase. I went to a typical Middle America public high school, graduated with 370 fellow students and would consider myself about middle of the road in terms of looks. I was kind of scrawny; I dressed a little gothic in hopes of fading into the background. The daughter of a teacher in the district – I wanted to hide away.
I picked a college that happened to have a 1:5 female to male ratio. Attention is a hell of a drug. Do you remember the first time you drank; you didn’t know how your body or mind would react. Do you remember the first time you got drunk? Eventually you learn how to handle it the alcohol, you even think you can pass for sober on occasion. I had a high school boyfriend but it was nothing like the guys at college. The attention I learned I could manipulate. Do you know how fantastic my tips were when I put my shoulder length hair up into pigtails? I had a guy tip $20 on a medium latte. Who does that?? And why would I stop? The cute laugh, the playful attention – the attention was a new high I had never had. It felt good – and I wanted more.
The attention went to my head, and fast. I thought I was pretty cool. And then I met my husband. The first words my husband ever said to me were “Wow, you’re the most annoying girl I’ve ever met. Do you shut up?!” And yup – Hooked, totally and utterly hooked to this guy. Who was he? And why was he not enamored by me? I followed this guy around like a puppy for months. In that time I grew, as a person, because his expectations were high. I can’t tell you the first time my now husband told me he loved me – but I can remember almost every time he told me he was proud of me. Proud of me for a decision I made. Proud of me for how I handled a situation. Proud of me for the effort I put into our relationship. His approval was something I would drive for and seek constantly.
Then came the twist I was too naïve to be on guard for – some men are easier to please then others. And some men aren’t my husband. A few years into the relationship I found myself getting high off the attention of other men because it was easy, and it really disrupted my relationship. My boyfriend had high expectations, and that’s a really good thing. Other boys did not – they were just happy getting attention from me as I was getting attention from them. The thing is – I had no guard up I just went along with it. I didn’t think I was hurting anyone “it’s only attention”.
“Only attention” almost cost me my relationship because I couldn’t handle the power of that drug. I realized I couldn’t remember the last time my boyfriend was proud of me. When was the last time he said that – “I’m Proud” EEK! Something had gone wrong. Something had taken me off my course. I had to backtrack and fast. I needed to fix this, not him. The biggest leap in my maturity was recognizing that I was addicted to the attention. What do they say – the first step is admitting you have a problem. Well HI! I have a problem. But it’s fixable.
This is my focus now:
- Focus on myself, finding a calm peacefulness. Being someone I can be proud of. Accepting that it’s easy to get sucked in and stand porter at the door of thought.
- Ensuring my faithfulness and loyalty to my husband. Creating an environment and home he can be proud of me for creating.
- Never allowing another man’s respect or attention cloud the first two. There are men in my life who are proud of me, they watch me grow and mature in my relationship and marriage just as my husband does – but they are not Him. If I’m making another man proud at the expense of my husband I’m not doing my duty to myself, or my husband.