Monday, February 23, 2009

Blogging is Narcissistic

Today I left one of the few places I still felt accepted in tears. What the hay? My brain injury support group was discussing the web and social alternatives. I go to the group because I read that I need human contact. I feel alienated because I rarely see friends. At work, I am up on the fifth floor so no one seems to remember that I am there. Or they remember but what they remember is post-injury and it does not seem worth it. Who knows? I am on a new campaign to be me, to be what I'm like, to be like myself, and so I'm having a wonderful time. Ooops! They Might be Giants tangent. My former student Roman comes to visit me. He is awesome! He brings hilarious clips from Conan or Leno for me to watch.

So why did I walk across Central Park from the east side today with tears and snot running down my nose? Fatigue? Hunger? My assistant upon whom I depend a lot these days was out today? Also, last week my request for sensitivity training for my colleagues was denied and I was strongly encouraged not to remind anyone about my injury. So then today when someone requested that maybe my assistant just fill in for them when they have a doctor's appointment, I felt annoyed. Her aid enables me to do my job and still only about 1/2 as well as I used to do it. She is not a luxury or a floater. Whatevs. Dark, dark, dark! Back to the support group...

Facebook, text messaging, etc. were the topics. When blogging came up, I shared that I started mine to keep friends and family up to date on my medical status after my stroke and before my surgery. THE SUPPORT GROUP LEADER said that it seems kind of narcissistic to keep a blog. Like, what makes anyone think someone wants to read what they have to say? I reiterated that my purpose, expectations, etc. and she said so if you are talking to a guy in a bar and he says he blogs, you should walk in the other direction. I said, "Thanks a lot!" and she said but you know what I mean?

Yeah! I am a narcissist! I hope everyone reads my blog! Maybe I will win the Blog of the Year Award! Is there a Blog Pulitzer? Am I on the New York Times best read blog list?


misstrionics said...

I hope you told her about the stranger who read your blog whose husband had a brain injury and how affected he was by it. It may be somewhat narcissistic to keep a blog, but no more so than to write a novel or a song or express yourself in any way assuming that other people might be able to relate to you. We live in an age where we are constantly sharing, connecting and finding common ground through the Internet. There are a lot of people your age and older who don't really get that, so they might be surprised to think that anyone would want to hear their story. But it seems kind of sociopathic to assume that nobody could relate to you or would want to read what you have to say. Keep writing!

Insane said...

Few people escape the need to be understood, accepted, and appreciated and, if they can't find it within the close daily contacts, they will seek it elsewhere. For anyone who would eschew online connections and benefits thereof, they're sadly out of step with current society and will most likely fall further behind in the future.

Given any of them who might face a life-altering issue for which they're ill-prepared, they will find themselves seeking out those who can commiserate, give advice, and impart experience and knowledge...even if it means going online. It can only be hoped that they will, in turn, aid others by doing as you have done. It IS possible to reach out to others without having narcissistic intentions.

Unfortunately, the pace of living leaves us little time for one another and society suffers sadly because of it. Facebook and other online applications not only make the world a much smaller place, they also make it more convenient for close friends and new acquaintances to remain connected despite the pace we're immersed in. In only moments, you can have the world, and organized groups familiar with your issue, at your fingertips versus erergizing, dressing, driving, and all that it takes to get to a group who may or may not make you feel that you belong.

While I would not discourage you or anyone else from spending time with the people in your life…for we need the people in our lives who really mean something to us… I would tell you not to take to heart the discouragement of others. Beneath everything we reveal within a public setting are hidden thoughts and emotions which affect how and what we communicate. I would be curious as to why this “leader” considered online communication narcissistic and negative AND felt the need to pass that negativity on to you. Support groups are not there to simply support you in that immediate challenge but in all ways.

I would also be curious as to why your co-workers no longer sympathize with your need for an aide. Do they feel over-burdened and envious or think that you’re just playing the system and see you as being completely healed when you’re not? (I could be reading into your remarks incorrectly.) Either way, what they think or feel belongs to them and you should allow them to retain what is theirs and not take on the additional burden of it. Do what is best for you in all matters. Only you fully know what that “best” is.

Wendy Ooi, fsp said...

Hi Alyson,
Here’s a little joke for you:
When he received a bound journal as a gift, the eight-year old boy was mystified.
“Mom, what am I supposed to do with this? The pages are blank.”
“You write down interesting stuff that happens to you,” his mother replied.
“So it’s like a blog…..on paper.”

While “traditional journaling” has always been therapeutic, we can assume so is blogging today. Like you I post on my “blog” to keep family and friends updated on my life. Does that imply narcissism on my part? Perhaps a little but how can we love, respect and believe in others if we don’t first love, respect and believe in ourselves?

The lines of this great song remind me not to mind much what others say or do but to first believe in myself (and in a God of love):
But on those days when nobody wants to know you
And all your smiles keep falling on stony ground
Don't stop believin', don't stop believin'
Don't stop believin', you'll get by
Bad days, bad days will hurry by
(John Farrar)

Blessings from an occasional visitor and a fellow "blogger"!

Allison Guerriero said...

I love your blog posts, Al!

And S had a great point in her comment on this post citing the fact the woman whose husband had TBI and was affected by you when she read your blog.

And for the record, you are allowed to be somewhat narcissistic. Everyone in the entire world is. Whoever made that comment at your meeting was just plain wrong. And I am so sorry to learn that it actually made you cry.

You are making a contribution and the experiences with the angioma are probably helping many, many people who suffer the same ailment and come across your blog as the search the internet for information.

And on a personal note, as someone who loves and care about you, this blog was invaluable to me during the days before and after your surgery...I was very concerned, and I didn't want to bother Suz, Sachi or your mom calling them all the time to check on your progress so I read your blog instead.

I see it as entertaining, a public service for those who suffer TBI and angioma.

I wish you would blog MORE!! You are one of the best writers I know.

Calabresella said...

Screw that person! You deserve to have a blog. Hell, people have blogs about menial bullshit. At least you are SHARING something. I have an angioma, and I am loving the blogs I am coming across that pertain to this subject! Obviously, you have kept blogging. Good for you.