They have everything your bones ache for. You want to consume them. You want them to be your friend. Your mother. Your father. Your lover. You want them to see brillance in you, because their approval is the validation of your entire identity as an artist, writer, human being.
You think it'd be something to eventually grow out of. But as an artist, or someone with an artistic pursuit, I find myself falling into idol worship all the damn time. I can fall in love in a sentence. Fuck that, I can fall in love over a word so perfectly chosen it feels like it's grabbing me by the spine.
Then, if you're lucky enough, you get to meet your idols. If you're luckier still, you get to talk to them, take classes with them, learn from them -- the lighthouses of your dreams.
It is a humbling weakness. I want to be confident in my abilities, in my talent, in the results of the hard work I've put into my reading and writing, without needing the affirmation. I'm terrified people will think I'm a hack, a shitty, talentless writer, or worse yet, a dilettante. I don't want them to see the insecure, approval-seeking wannabe hiding behind my ambition. It is a painful reminder of my immaturity as a writer, as a person.
Approval seeking is a big part of that fear and the high you get from it is fleeting. It lasts as long as the moment lasts if not just a moment longer before you're aching for the next fix. More affirmation, more approval, special treatment.
I know enough to understand that gaining approval shouldn't be important. Having something to say is what is important. Putting in the hard work to say it in a way only I could is what is important. But it's still there, sitting in my chest, my pilot light of hope, waiting for you to love me.