Sometimes I think life would be simpler if attention were more straightforward. If attention were just attention, regardless of where it came from. And all attention were the same.
If when we were feeling lonely or unwanted, it were always a simple matter of having any human connection. If it could be fixed by someone — anyone — talking to us.
But as anyone who’s waiting for a text back from That Certain Person knows, it’s just not that simple.
Pervasive Loneliness Is Different Than Waiting on That Certain Person
Now, there are times when any old attention will do the trick. There is a feeling of pervasive loneliness we can fall into. If we feel ignored by everyone and everything. If we feel like no one wants to talk to us — ever.
And that’s certainly a thing. A state of mind I can remember actually. Being all alone and feeling like no one at all wanted to talk to me about anything. (It was a tough time.)
But there are other times when we really just want A Certain Person to pay attention to us. And for whatever reason, they are not. When this happens, it’s agony.
Other People’s Attention Doesn’t Help — And Can Even Hurt — When Waiting on That Certain Person
It’s interesting. I’ve been hung up on waiting for That Certain Person to contact me. And when I’m doing that, not only does other attention I receive not fill the void, it will actually annoy or even anger me. Particularly if it’s flirtation from a total stranger. “Oh for fuck’s sake,” I’ll feel myself thinking, not because this stranger has done something wrong by reaching out — but because it’s not them. It’s not That Certain Person calling me beautiful, asking me how I’m doing. They’re not texting me sweet little nothings.
Hell, sometimes even app notifications can do it to me. I’ll have some random game telling me my energy is refilled, and for a moment, I’ll think it’s That Certain Person sending me a text. In those moments, I’ll be disappointed, even angry, that it’s not them.
And when I get feeling that way, it’s a kind of personal Hell. Not just because I’ll find myself feeling pathetic and unwanted, becoming absolutely 100% certain That Certain Person is not obsessing about me and agonizing over when I contacted them last (otherwise, they’d have reached out already) — although that is a factor.
But also because I’m betraying the actually lonely person I once was. The one who thought no one at all wanted to talk to her (and that no one ever would). That past version of me would have been thrilled for any attention at all. And now this new bitch, current me, is crying her eyes out because That Certain Person isn’t talking to her. Oh, at moments like these, I hate the person I’ve become.
And I wish I could stop what happens next, but I can’t. When That Certain Person pays attention to me once again, I’ll spring to life. Drink it up, lavish attention on them in return, as though no time has passed. As though I hadn’t spent what felt like forever frozen in agony, awaiting for their next move.
Books by Page Turner: