Crying for Attention

abcxyzAre you driven by the unquenchable thirst to be the center of everyone’s attention. Or, would you be more content to live out your life appreciated by a small cadre of friends?

A woman in South America recently displayed an extreme case of the former impulse. She had grown tired of her name because it was too mundane. Apparently she garnered insufficient attention as Ladyzunga Cyborg.

So now her name, legally changed, is ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ.

My first thought when reading this was not that I didn’t believe it. In our foolish world, where people use symbols that aren’t even words for their names, I just shook my head. And . . . I thought “how fortunate for her that she’s not Chinese,” with its 46,964 characters as recorded in the Kangxi Dictionary.

This is not the sort of publicity Columbia needs. She’s acting bizarrely enough to be a mistaken for a Californian.

Of course, people at the opposite extreme—those who cannot bear the presence of other human beings—are also troubled. As with so many aspects of the human personality, people at either of the extreme poles are frequently deemed mentally ill.

This fetish for exhibitionism is alien to me. I would much prefer downing a pint with friends at the Eagle and Child to standing on some stage in front of “adoring crowds.”

My “introvert” quotient appears to be eclipsing my “extravert” qualities.

C.S. Lewis never sought the limelight either. He did not find his experience with notoriety pleasant. And yet, he accepted its burden graciously.

It is commonly known that some days he would spends hours (literally) corresponding with some of the thousands of readers who wrote to him as the creator of Narnia.

It was exhausting.

I assume people like Ms. Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz seek attention because they feel insignificant or unnoticed.

I find that tragic. Tragic because their name, their true name, is known by the most important and amazing person in the universe. The God who created them.

Each and every person, including you, is unique, precious and loved.

Knowing this provides profound peace. It also delivers us from the constant compulsion to seek attention.

Jesus described the profound value of each person by contrasting God’s love for us with the attention he devotes even to a single sparrow . . . “Not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”

And you, that’s you, are far more precious than these.

11 thoughts on “Crying for Attention

    1. Funny! Actually, I wanted something better suited to some content I added from some very, very old websites I had created. (On the Odes of Solomon, American Civil War, etc.)

  1. If I remember rightly, he did complain about the letters sometimes, poor man. That is one thing that rather terrifies me about trying to publish. One fear, of course, is rejection… but I wonder if I fear popularity more. I doubt I would be as graceful under pressure as CSL.

    1. You’re absolutely right about Lewis sometimes moaning under the weight of his correspondence. But I’m unaware of that pressure ever finding its way into the letters themselves.

      As for being as charitable as him in writing to a legion of fans… I’m sure that I wouldn’t come close. And I’m certain that’s one of the reasons God will spare me from ever becoming a bestselling author!

      Don’t allow the fear of it to hinder your writing though!

      1. It won’t hinder my writing, but it might make me a recluse later in life! Lol! One problem is how involved authors are expected to be with their fans nowadays. It’s a bit scary.

      2. That’s true. With so many people today thinking over-familiarization with celebrities (read “stalking”) is okay… it is a little frightening.

    1. Yes he was. And, due to that, we have many wonderful pieces of correspondence that have survived and offer us added insights into the author… and into what it means to live a Christian life.

  2. Nomenclature.
    Just when you think you’ve heard all the crazy names…(Love that 4th and 5th paragraph)
    I think it would help if the elementary schools went back to having those Christmas and Spring productions where each child had some role and a line to say on stage. A time in the spotlight all to themselves – a memory for a lifetime. Might help some of the selfie seeking and the one desperate for attention and a way to stand out (Tats are just so ordinary now…)
    But as you say the introverts will never understand what drives the extroverts and exhibitionists. Life would be far too easy if we did?
    Witty and thoughtful post ( always liked that sparrow verse. A real comfort many times in situations that cannot be understood by man)

    1. You’re on to something there. It seems that we had healthier opportunities to get good attention in school years ago. Now, with this “everyone is exceptional and no one is average” era, it’s more painful to grow up knowing that you really are simply average. Better than some people at some things and not as skilled as them at others.

      I wish it were possible for us to provide every child in the world with the loving and protective home that each should have. That, more than anything else, would transform our world.

  3. Pingback: On Being Aptly Named « Mere Inkling

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