On feeling underappreciated

Sometimes, I can’t help but feel bad about not being recognized. Maybe it’s narcissistic to say that; after all, I haven’t really developed anything, released anything, given an inspiring speech, or even danced all that well in a public setting.

What have I actually contributed to the world? Thinking on it, I find myself at a bit of a loss.

Aside from a minor role in a few different things, I’ve done approximately jack shit. Yet I google my own name incessantly, in the self-centered hope of being noticed. Because in truth, I feel painfully alone.

Yeah, I was the Community Manager for a fledgling open source decentralized social network for a while. It was cool. But let’s be honest, I didn’t really do anything that noteworthy or substantial. The platform itself has been relegated to a footnote in the dustbin of Silicon Valley history, and all I really did was act as a spokesperson and try to put out community dumpster fires. I probably fucked up plenty of good things simply by being there.

Yeah, I run a publication dedicated to the fediverse, but it’s small peanuts, and my burnout became so severe that I can barely write anything in it for months at a time. It has a following of some sort, but it’s no OMG! Ubuntu. I’m a terrible editor, and not that good of a writer. I’d like to think that I cover interesting subjects, but many things slip through my fingers. My negligence has probably contributed to other developers in the space feeling unnoticed, and maybe caused them to give up on their projects.

I’ve done crowdfunding. 1500 campaigns, in fact. No one cares. I’ve solved complex problems and even given self-developed training workshops to audiences of hundreds of engineers at top tech companies. No one cares. The end result is that, performatively speaking, it does not matter one iota.

A lot of times, it feels like all I do is talk about ideas I have, without ever following through on anything. A while back, my therapist explained to me that it seems that I rely on a type of “negative comfort”, where I rely on inaction because doing some creative project that actually leads to something ultimately forces me to face the discomfort of anticipating what other people will think of what I made.

It seems that I settle for being small and invisible, rather than trying to follow through on things that will inevitably get shit on by other people. The voice in my own head is harsh enough.

What I’d like, more than anything else, is to make something beautiful and affecting and true. Something that reflects what’s in my head and in my heart, something that positively affects other people. I’d love to be recognized for that, whatever it is. I just feel like I’m wasting my time otherwise, and it’s eating away at me.

All I can do is just try to pour my heart and soul into my endless stream of stupid ideas, and hope that someday, somebody appreciates it as much as I do.

Sean is a guy from the middle of nowhere in Illinois who passionately supports Free Software, Free Culture, and decentralized communication systems. He serves as the editor of We Distribute, a publication dedicated to the development of the fediverse. In his spare time, Sean is a budding indie game dev, writer, web developer, and a musician.

2 thoughts on “On feeling underappreciated

  1. hey there, dont feel bad. theres still time to be the superhero.

    our hub is working on something that will positively affect people.

    Listen to what that minorthreat album has to say and lets make it happen.

    get in touch!

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