People think I live like I don’t care what other people think. That’s a lie. Am I traditional?No. Do I sometimes act like a 13 year old? Yes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care what other people think. Probably, it’s more the opposite.
I find that to be the case in almost any instance where someone is shouting about how they “don’t care what anyone thinks.” It’s, in fact, like they are saying that not caring is their badge. Their identifier. Behind it we almost always find someone lost and searching. It’s like pretend not caring is their brand. And I’m not buying it.
I get it, my whole life I’ve been a show off of sorts. Not necessarily loud, but always visible. I grew up having half siblings I really didn’t know as they lived 1000 miles away. I was my parents only child and as such I spent a lot of time wishing to spend more time trying to understand the dynamic of the other side of my family. Being an only-ish child fueled my need to be recognized.
In school as a new second grader I entered a dance contest. Yes. A dance contest. It was at a school Halloween fair and I won a cake of sometime because clearly, I had the dancing thing licked at 7. What with my disco moves and honest interpretations, how could I lose. What’s bigger is I did this of my own accord. Dunking booth, check, haunted house, check, dance contest. In.
It’s said that people are motivated by a few different things. Money, power and recognition being the big three. I believe that those of us screaming that they don’t care what anybody thinks are highly motivated to be recognized. I know that’s one of my big motivators and it’s okay. Trying to be the center of attention isn’t the end of the world.
I think it’s a big ass lie to say “we don’t care” what others think. We all want to be loved in some way shape or form. We all need it. Those of us saying we don’t likely need it more than the rest, or at the least we are telling you that’s what we need.
Know that the “I don’t care,” person is really just more willing to blur traditional lines to be noticed. To be a little louder. To build their brand on visibility. The risk/fear of what others think doesn’t outweigh the internal needs to be cared for and loved by damn near everyone they encounter. They (we) can’t help that.
Most of the time the “I don’t care,” guy or girl is also the person that’s willing to help beyond what’s necessary. To be there for others just as they crave others to be there for them. Oh the dichotomies.
Whether I have been playing in a band, running a half marathon in a literal pair of underwear or racing around town in a speedo, swimming long distances, or doing Ironman, know that I was essentially saying “notice me, I matter and it’s important.” Know that a lack of embarrassment doesn’t equal a lack of care and intent. A willingness to risk and be “on stage” doesn’t preclude anxiety and second guessing.
It’s just the way 2nd grade me wins dance contests.