Like No One's Watching.
Have you ever stopped and pondered why it is you do certain things?
Why you turn your music down when someone rides up next to you on the road? Why you rarely go out to eat alone? Why you post that selfie but delete it if it doesn't acquire a certain amount of likes? I think about these things all the time. And for years, I was plagued by the idea that I was always being watched. No, not in a creepy-commit-me to the ward kind of way, but in a very self aware manner. Do other people notice the things we do? Or is this just a story in our own craniums? Are we the actual stars of our stories or do we allow other people to take the lead?
I am asking myself this question because it has been a theme in my life this year.
Well, more like a resolution.
I used to be very self conscious when I was in public. I had carried myself with confidence and I always had a sense of comfort in my own skin, but I was still aware when I noticed someone watching me eat or talking on the phone too loud. I could just feel it when a stranger's eyes would make contact with me. Again, not in a creepy-please-look away manner, but in a way that would often make me feel like I was naked on stage. Exposed. So I would heighten the way in which I appeared to the world by putting on a little show. I would exaggerate my actions and movements almost to attract the stranger's eyes. It became a small addiction. A fetish. How could I capture the attention of those around me? It's ironic, because many people think I am an extrovert. I know how to work a room, talk to any type of person, and have fun pretty much anywhere I go. But the irony lies in the fact that I find myself to be an introvert. I mean look at the way I write; it's as if I am talking to myself. This is how I have always been. The narrative that exists in my head has always placed me as both the star and the audience of my own show. I lived inside myself. I still do! I am just good at balancing that need to process and observe everything internally and the need to express and share these things. I'm telling you now...it's not fucking easy. It took years to balance these two aspects of myself. But I have. Which brings me to what happened today.
I was driving down Zoo drive, which is one of the most scenic and breathtaking cruises you can take east side of LA (in my humble opinion). A day like any other, filled with errands and plans, I hopped on my daily FaceTime phone call with my dear friend and I could tell instantly he had something heavy on his mind. A tad worried, I asked him what was going on. He asked me if I minded that he had shared the link for this website on his own profile, of course I said I didn't. Exposure is great in any way you can get it. (Mark my words.) After I assured him it was an appreciated gesture, he proceeded to inform me that a distant friend of his had noticed the shared link on his wall and clicked on it. The post she happened to stumble upon was my first post about my best friend that passed away. Here's the kicker: this distant friend, this stranger, this girl had lost her brother a mere few weeks ago.
I MEAN. I can't write this stuff. But I'll try...
My dear friend continued by sharing with me that this girl had been having such a difficult time dealing with brother's loss and wasn't sure what to do at this point. Then she came across this site and that post, and she felt something different. She was touched. She felt as close to happy as you can feel when you lose a sibling. Something in my writing has resonated with her experience, her pain, her heart that she thanked my dear friend for sharing the post and asked to relay her gratitude and praise for my writing, for my honesty. As you can imagine, a few inspiring tears fell from my eyes as my dear friend smiled and offered his praise towards me for this event. I mean sure, there are no words that can describe the feeling you get when you know you have inspired or reached another person with your actions or words. But in this case, I have a few.
It reminded me why I am doing this. Why this narrative exists online. Why my name is no where to be found on the site. I am doing this for me. I am writing and exposing myself as a means to stabilize my chaotic mind. A place to divulge what I believe to be universal truths. Things I see and feel and observe that I just can't contain anymore! There was a moment in it's execution that I realized; my name and my identity is not important on here. You don't need to see my face to know it's me talking. You don't need to know the author to feel the weight of the words. I write this everyday as if no one is reading. I don't expect to have a following, a fan base, or any avid readers! I don't expect likes, shares, or anything in between. This exists for me. I write as if no one is watching. I act like no one is watching. Every day. I don't turn down my music anymore even if the person next to me is staring at me like I am a fucking fool. I take myself out to lunch alone once a week just to enjoy my own company. I rarely post selfies anymore, but if I do, I am doing it because I want to remember that one day I happened to look on fire, I don't care about the likes. The validation. The approval. Because all these things are done for my happiness. My joy. My story. I am the star of my own story, and if I am lucky, sometimes I have some supporting roles that really fill the story with colors I couldn't manifest alone. But THIS. This thing exists because it has to.
I told my dear friend that if his distant friend ever wanted to contact me or talk, I will always be here. I also warned that my future posts revolving around matters of death and the heart may shock her, but that it is there for her taking anytime she wants it.
So my point is this: don't worry so much about how you look or how others are perceiving you. Do something because it feels good. Because you want to. Because you have to. Allowing any thoughts of the results or prizes you may receive is a distraction from the reason you're doing it in the first place.
We all know the saying 'dance like nobody's watching'.