Attention: My Perspective

Summer 2018.

The warm summer air touching our bare skin as we walked hand in hand.

The bustle of the crowded streets seemingly comforting, even homely.

My new skin-tight Zara jeans hugging every angular every bend, every subtle definition—a body I worked hard to achieve, a body I work hard to maintain.

My dyed blonde hair caressing my petite shoulders.

The red velvet crop top I selected exposing my tight midriff.

Madison, Wisconsin. State Street. Walking North.

My best friend’s warm hand pressed softly against mine—a tender, supportive force.

Our intoxicated bodies seemingly eager for the adventures yet to unfold.

Excited and animated we continue to dizzily walk.

 

Hours later.

We lay in bed. The sun is beginning to slowly rise and the construction site immediately outside the tall window proceeds to rumble with noise and activity.

5:30 AM.

“How many times did I have to yell she’s got a boyfriend? Or she’s not interested?,” Ashley laughs wildly into the faint light—the alcohol exacerbating her animated demeanor.

“Shut up,” I retort dismissively, giggling softly into the darkness.

“So, how many numbers did we actually get?,” she presses on teasingly.

“Ashley,” I quietly scold.

“Is it always like that? Everywhere?,” she gently inquires.

Silence momentarily fills the small perimeters of the room.

“Doesn’t matter, it’s all bullshit anyhow,” I answer.

“Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have those problems,” she gently counters.

 

Hours Later.

We sit, our legs dangling off the side of the hardwood deck, our feet submerged in the warm, soothing water of Lake Mendota, reflectively gazing at the scenographic image before us and momentarily—here and there—laughing about last night’s occurrences.

My stomach twists and turns with every slight movement—we’re both a slightly ill.

But, nevertheless, the word attention remains prominent, infiltrating the fibers of my psyche, penetrating my every thought.

I’m fixating, I guess.

So, here's my interpretation:  

We’re all human being and therefore, social entities. So, undoubtedly, a healthy amount of attention from the ones we care for is both necessary and pivotal, a crucial component of our mental health and well-being. With that being said, it also remains of the upmost importance, I reaffirm that as women—women of the future—attention is not something we should aspire for nor require. We are indeed capable of establishing ourselves without the supportive and protective arms of a partner. Unfortunately, throughout our college years, an idealistic and healthy romantic relationship is something that does not exactly manifest itself in the way we ourselves envision nor hope for. Most importantly, thirsty attention, being the most common type, is something that does not directly translates into a supportive relationship characterized by love, intimacy, and vulnerability. Therefore, this particular sort of attention—the sort my best friend was referring to above—is both fleeting and momentary, quick to become a bore and annoyance.

To continue, women, we are more than how we outwardly appear. Although cliché—a generalized platitude we use far too frequently—beauty does indeed lie in the eye of the beholder. I can surely attest to that. At the end of the day, attention in its most common and superficial presentation becomes entirely irrelevant. And, therefore, excessive scrutiny surrounding one’s physical appearance also becomes unwarranted and unnecessary. Of course, I love to dress up, put makeup on, and take attractive pictures, and we should surely continue these activities. Within the same gesture, however, I do my best not to nitpick every superficial and subjective ‘flaw,’ nor do I diminish myself because I do not fit into the stereotypical beauty mold society subtly presents. Thus, if you don’t receive excessive attention—attention that is most frequently tied to how we outwardly appear—please don’t worry. It is an unneeded concern on top of what I’m sure is already many.

Love the person you are, and love yourself in a way that does not require superficial validation.

                                                                                                                                                  (Courtesy of Pinterest)