In my line of work, you’ve got to have what James O’brien calls the “look at me” gene. It’s basically the desire to be heard and appreciated just for being you. Not narcissistic at all.
I’ve definitely got this.
I love telling stories, speaking to people and generally showing off just how smart I think I am. (I’m not a prick, I swear). To be honest, there’s not much point getting into the world of media and journalism if you don’t think you’ve got something about you. Something that gives you a unique edge and a right to be heard.
The irony in this almost arrogant level of confidence in my own ability is that it stems from an even higher level of insecurity and anxiety. Why is it that my sole career aim is for people to hear my voice. Whether that be through the films I make, news pieces I create or articles I write; I need to be heard.
The answer is that I’m after validation from strangers. That’s a scary thing to admit. As much as I love my craft, the satisfaction of creating content is that at the end of the process people will watch/listen to it, and hopefully enjoy it. The validation doesn’t even come from the fact that people necessarily agree with everything i put out, just that they’ve engaged with it is enough for me to feel accomplished.
Now I’m begged with the question, is that at all healthy? I take some comfort in the fact that I am not at all unique in my industry. Comedians get kicks from making strangers laugh, actors are appreciated for NOT being themselves and singers literally share the deepest darkest parts of their person with their audience. However perhaps we’re all just a bit… empty?
This conflict is an odd one. Suffering from -at times- crippling social anxiety but yet working in perhaps the most people orientated industry possible is a contradiction I’m yet to properly reconcile.
I don’t yet have an answer for this conundrum, when I get there I’ll update you.