Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Popular opinion

I have always struggled with a deep wish to be well liked and to be recognized as worthy. It sounds silly, but it is something I have always wanted. From the time I was a young girl until well into my college years, I acted in a way to try and make people like me.

Both at church camp and at school, I wanted the cool people to accept me. I tagged along after them much to their chagrin. I would abandon people I thought would drop my status down and would try and cling to someone I thought would increase my value to other people. I was repeatedly shot down and pushed aside by the people I so desperately wanted to be liked by.

I do not blame them in the least. I was irritating. I tried too hard. To be funny, to be clever, to be insightful, to be rude, to be nice, to be mean, to be kind. And I chose the wrong people time and time again. Those I pushed aside or stepped on ended up being more popular than I did or being fantastic people whom I later came to love and respect. And they always accepted me back as a friend once I pulled my head out of my own posterior.

Once I accepted myself for me and learned to mellow out a bit, people started to like me. The same people who were irritated by my presence actually said things like, "Were you always this fun? I remember you being really annoying". People to whom I had been cruel (if not blatantly, then just by omission) treated me like gold and actually liked me. It was a revelation.

Sometimes, the haunting need to be popular and to receive acclamation creeps back to me. The shadow of jealousy for others acceptance nips at my mind. Or, the incredible insecurity comes back, climbing up my leg like a vine of self-doubt and loathing. There are two things that cause me both feelings on a regular basis. Facebook and blogging.

With Facebook, I see a person I went to high school with on someone else's friend list and I realize they have not added me. And I feel hurt. And then I think of how I was in high school and realize they might not even know me or remember me or like me. It may have been they were such a presence that I only remember them. So, I don't add them. I don't want to inconvenience them.

With this blog, I envy other's success. The recognition and the readership and the stats (oh, the stats) that show people like them. They really like them. They like what they have to say and they follow them. And then the little green monster says "You're just as good as them. You're funny and interesting and you write ALL. THE. TIME. Why aren't you popular? What's wrong with you?" And then I pout.

Sometimes I have to kick myself in the butt or slap myself in the head and remind myself that I am a different person now. I write for my own benefit (and because I am really interesting and funny. If only to myself.) and like having a creative outlet. More publicity means more people knowing about me. And that's not always a good thing. I am content to write my useless things for people I have trapped. People who have to read this because they know me.

But sometimes, I think it is sad that I stand pressed against the wall in the virtual world hoping to be noticed much like I did in the real world.


  1. Dude, my stats will make you feel better! You're like 4xs more famous than me.

  2. I feel the same way about the blog world sometimes... it's hard to remember that it's not about having a huge readership or anything. And you're right that more publicity isn't always a good thing.

    Anyway... I notice you, and I think you're cool. :)

  3. Just when you think you might have these feelings under control (at least part of the time) you have kids and then it starts all over worrying about your kids being popular! It never ends. Comforting thought hey!!

  4. Roger: If you take away the visits from my sisters checking, then I am not quite as high as I look.

    Seven: Thanks for your support. I think you're cool too. Mostly, I think you're cool for thinking I am cool. It's a circle.

    L.S.: Oh great. Something else to look forward to!

  5. Yuu can take the girl out of high school, but you can take the high school out of the girl! We all want to be recognized, it's not just high school it's human. I'm totally with you on all of it - and I'm not even related to you, so you can count me :-)


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