Advancing on Now
Known and unknown

Enough about me...what do YOU think of me?

The other day I was chatting with some friends, and the subject of blogs came up (I didn’t bring it up, I promise. Everyone there already knows about my blog, and I rarely mention it in real life anyhow). One of the women, when asked if she has a blog (she is a writer), replied,

“Oh no. I find blogs to be narcissistic.”

Now, before you go all sharp-intake-of-breath on me, let me say that I wasn’t offended. I’m NOT offended. I don’t think she meant, “Kira, good gracious are you self-centered, shut up already.” She’s a very straightforward and logical person, and I took her statement to be a commentary on the phenomenon of blogging.

And then again, maybe she did mean me. If she does, it doesn’t stand in the way of us being friends…and her opinions of me are none of my business anyhow. (Note: I am posing as a far more self-assured person here. In this case, it’s exactly how I feel. However, MOST OF THE TIME, an offhand comment like this would cause me to churn endlessly about WHY and WHAT DID SHE MEAN and SHOULD I CALL HER? and WAS IT BECAUSE OF THE TIME I SAID THAT ONE STUPID THING? But this time I’m not doing that, and I’m a bit proud of my bad self. Gah. Was that ever narcissistic OR WHAT?)

Ahem.

Anyhow.

It got me to thinking about the nature of blogging. Most nights I sit here, composing thoughts to share with you because…why?

Because I think you need to hear what I have to say?

Or because I need to say it?

Is either reason NOT narcissistic?

I write because I like it, because playing with words and thoughts is a satisfying diversion for me. I write here because I enjoy the feedback, and because the dailiness of it causes me to capture moments of my kids’ lives that would have escaped me otherwise. I write because of how it feels when it comes together.

I write to hear what I have to say.

After a day of puzzling, I’m no closer to an answer, so I’d like to hear what you think. Yes, YOU. Is this a narcissistic pursuit? And is that bad? If you blog, why? If you don’t, why not? Does this font make me look fat? Are some blogs better at keeping the focus off the author than others?

What do you think?

Comments

Patricia

Oh, I get to go first -- yippie.

Ok, I didn't blog for too long because I thought I wasn't good enough to blog. I mean after all who would really care about me or my life and what I might want to say. And while I'm at it, I'll add that I had major case of blank screen issues -- was what I writing going to really be worth bandwidth and all.

However, today I blog. I blog for all the reasons above. In an effort to prove to myself that I'm better than I thought I was, that I do have something to say (even if it is just important to me); and that I can overcome my little fears. So, yes, I'd say my blog is really all about me. I'm ok with that, because I don't announce to the world that you should read me because I blog. I will mention it if someone asks; but I've got a small readership and while I'd love to grow to have more -- I'm ok with my little corner of the world.

In some way my blog has both empowered me and humbled me. It empowers me, because I realized (the first time I got a comment from someone who I didn't personally know) that I may be writing something worth reading. So it will never be War and Peace (or even a good book by this awesome writer in GA); but it is a piece of myself I put out there. It humbles me because I read so many different blogs and daily find a new respect for people out there. I find that I want to be a better me because of the great things I read. I find that I'm not the center of the universe and it feels good. (oh and I'm humbled by the number of times I have to edit a post because I found horrid writing and I'm still sure I don't have all the errors out.)

So, that's why I blog. Come read me sometime.

Mary Jo

Okay, you see Patricia's answer? That's my answer too... she just wrote it purtier.

Nic

Hell no it's not narcissistic. After all, all y'all write for me. (And if THAT isn't narcissitic on my part...) I discovered blogs a couple years ago and have be touched in so many different ways. The writers that I read have shared so much and taught me so much. You, Kira, showed me (a working chickie w/out kids) how much beauty and sweetness there is in raising children. From the outside it can look like so much work, but the love that shines throughout your blog is really inspiring. I've learned so much I didn't know by following the lives of those brave enough and selfless enough to share their lives and experiences with me. Adoption, infertility, divorce, death, depression, all are so personal and such touchy subjects that unless you are at the center of them one can never really know how it is unless you read blogs. By checking in I can get a taste of life that I didn't know about, or didn't understand before. I have laughed, cried, been uplifted and been educated by reading blogs. I guess when it comes down to it, I have been changed by all my friends in the computer, for the better I think and that makes it a generous thing in my book.

David

As one who doesn't have a blog, may I just say, Bless You. You have a gift for eloquently speaking to the heart in your depictions of the day's activities. I read a number of blogs, and though many are entertaining, I find yours, more than any other, to be reaffirming. You write about things and somehow it becomes a brief stop to smell the roses of life. And that you have it down on paper like this makes it a time capsule you'll cherish even more as time goes on: when your boys can read what you've written about them. So, write on, Kira, write on.

Mir

Well, you got the short version from me last night: Yes, it's narcissistic. As is almost everything else. We humans do almost everything we do because of a "payoff." Even those who dedicate their lives to serving others feel good when they do so, or they wouldn't do it. So, yeah, it all comes back to Us Feeling Shiny And Happy, which generally has to do with ME ME ME. (Not me, but the generic me. God, I'm confused.)

Now, having said all that. Is blogging any MORE narcissistic than, say, writing a novel? I don't think so.

But enough about this. Let's talk about me. ;)

Sheryl

To me narcissism has the flavor of lacking empathy, or only being concerned with yourself, to the exclusion of everyone else.

That said, there's no doubt that blogging is self-centered. Even the way comments are structured-- we can engage or not, according to our whim. I write because I like it, and I want other people to enjoy what I write.

But as a reader, I'm not as self centered. I get attached to the bloggers I read. They don't have to post anything great. I really don't care what they post about, I just want a peek into their lives, they could post their grocery list and it'd be fine with me.

The One True Josh

I assumed that you blogged to save me the trouble of checking in with my family.

Thanks!

Hah. Your narcissism can't touch mine.

Dawn H.

As the proud mother of both Kira and the one true Josh, I proclaim you both perfect, and so how could you do anything narcisitic?

I have known a few narcisistic people (my goodness, you can get lost in spelling that Narcisistic word!) and it is not a casual comment... it is really a real mental illness - and it is not characterized by blogging! In fact if a truly narcissistic person wrote a blog, no on else would continue to read it. And the narcissistic person who wrote it would read nothing else. Hmmm, a nice tight little ecology.

Remember, my darling Kira-le, how at first you said you were blogging to get used to the idea that someone else would read your writing? And you have gotten used to that, and they do. I think writing is your natural language, your home. And it is your gift to us.

cassie-b

How can you say? Every blogger is different.

I blog because I enjoy it. And I don't have any hidden agenda.

And more than blogging, I like to check in on other bloggers. I often learn something.

It's a community where you can chose the people you want to interact with. That's not always the case in the other part of your life. I like it.

Chris

I wouldn't say it is narcissism in the sense of forsaking all others because you are so darn wonderful. I think it is more an exploration of how you approach life. We all have different reasons for putting something out there- some to entertain, some to record life, some to work on their writing skills. Creating is the reason, the person is secondary. Ack, I can't get across exactly what I want to say. More fodder for the blog I suppose:)

cheryl

I agree with Mir that most all of life is a narcissistic endeavor. I don't particularly think that blogging is any more or less so than any other things we do.

I read other peoples blogs to get insight into other lives and to gain empathy and understanding of lives widely diverse from mine. That said, I write my own because otherwise these words are stuck in my head and echo something fierce. Other people have found my writing and that's great, but I started my blog for my sanity. Probably the height of narcissism, but heck, I've been called worse.

Heather

I openly admit my blog is selfish. My blog is all about me. It is my corner of the internet. I like to "paint" it to reflect me and write things that are on my mind or whatever. Me me me. There is a part of me that thinks maybe someone who reads it will really know me and I have this deep desire to be known. But, hey, I am being honest about it right? LOL!

Amy

Sometimes I think that without your blog our friendship would have faded over these last 5 years that I've been away. And believe me, your friendship over these past 5 years has been very important. Keep writing, keep blogging, keep being.

Megan

De-lurking here to add my two cents....

I, too, have a blog and use it to keep our distant families updated on our lives. They "say" they love to hear stories about the kids and our latest trials/joys.....

I enjoy blogging, and love to manipulate words to convey exactly what I mean. It's a challenge to get just the right tone....

I really enjoy reading your perspective and your writing style is just lovely!

Keep it up!

Carolyn R.

I agree with Dawn H. I've known a few truly narcisistic people and bloggers are NOT generally narcisistic. They write about what they know and those of us who lurk get a general sense of balance about other peoples lives. It's a way of community that in this day and age is sorely needed.

Heather Cook

Ok, first... you assume that narcissism is BAD. One of the dictionary.com definitions is:

"The attribute of the human psyche charactized by admiration of oneself but within normal limits."

I call that healthy self esteem and see nothing wrong with it.

I completely concur with Mir, we humans hardly ever do anything without a pay off and you could call letting someone in front of you in traffic narcissistic if you wanted to.

Blogging for me is putting into words what I'm thinking and feeling, in the hopes that someone else who is thinking and feeling the same way strolls over to my blog and pets my hand nicely to say it's ok.

I read other people's blogs for the same reason, to read someone else's words in an effort to understand my own life.

Joshilyn

Dear Bunny Rabbit,
I don't know why OTHER people blog---thousands of reasons I am sure. But I think of your particular blog as a function of your relationship with motherhood. It is a record of your children's lives that is going to more interesting and valuable to them than their old school photos and art work. The fact that you are so eloquent makes it a pleasure to read it, but I never feel like this blog is FOR me. Or FOR you, for that matter.

I hope you are backing this up to disc and keeping it in a safety deposit box. If you do, then your boys will know who they are are and where they come from when they get old enough to want to know these things. Keep all this for them.

Michelle

I blog because it's good for me to keep my mind working on something other than the pursuits of my 4 year olds and my 18 month old. I blog because I like to put my thoughts down and it's nice to hear what others think about my situation. I blog because maybe somebody out there might be reading it and either a)offer suggestions on how to fix my life or b)get some suggestion from me on how to fix their own.

I read others blogs because I find people interesting. Yup - you are interesting to me. We have led very different lives and I find yours very captivating. I cried reading your early entries, I rejoiced reading about your relationship with Clay and I smile and laugh out loud reading about your boys.

I don't care if people think I'm narcisistic, I don't think that it's a totally bad thing to be somewhat focused on yourself. After all, if you don't focus on yourself and your own life at times how can you work on them?

So please, promise me you'll keep blogging until the cows come home and pigs fly - I'd sure miss you if you stopped!

Carrie

I blog because it is therapeutic. I can vent, I can express my emotions, I can share my excitement with the world (or the five people who read my site. Whatever). But it also allows me a way to keep track of the things that are important in my life and have a place to share those with my friends and family who otherwise may not be able to keep in touch.

Jennifer

I blog because I MUST. Well, I don't get to as much anymore because these days I MUST change diapers and feed the baby, but ya know ... I THINK about blogging a lot.

christopher

I'm not sure why I blog anymore...I pretty much lost interest in it on August 16th, 2005.

But most days I still find myself finding something to stick there...even while simultaneously being annoying with myself for still bothering.

I dunno...clearly I'm tied to it for some subconscious reason, so I just plod on and trust that I'll "get" the reason one day

:)

Mandy

Blogs = Narcissistic? Sure, I guess so. But you know, I work in the mental health field, and the actual diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder is an ugly thing. You bear no resemblance to that diagnosis, by the way.

In the colloquial sense, however, I don't see anything wrong with it. The dictionary (yes, I looked it up. shut up.) actually relates narcissism to egoism , not egotism. Which is an important distinction, because egoism is showing concern for oneself without an exaggerated sense of self-importance (whereas egotism does carry self-importance). So no, I don't see anything wrong with a little introspection. Besides, the rest of us are just voyeurs, so we're no better. :)

Sarah

Is this a narcissistic pursuit?
Yes, mildly.

And is that bad?
Not necessarily.

If you blog, why? If you don’t, why not?
I don't blog, but I would LOVE to. I don't because I don't have the time to commit to doing a decent job of it. I wish I could because I do love to talk about myself, and to share the thoughts in my head, and if possibly my thoughts and stories would edify and entertain my readers then I would be doing them a service as well as myself.

Does this font make me look fat? Are some blogs better at keeping the focus off the author than others?
Yes, but I'm not interested in those blogs. HAH! Keep up the good work, I love reading your blog! If it wasn't all-about-you, I wouldn't be interested!

Carmen

I'm STUNNED that no one answered your very important question.....

No, that font doesn't make you look fat.

All better?

Seriously, everyone sel said it way better than I ever could. I'm selfish and self centered, and it's always allllll about me.

Steff

If this is narcissism, what do you call it when the people read take something away from your blog and put it use in their lives? Rather we co-miserate or celebrate, it is great to read about your life and often times take time to reflect on my own. Blogging and shopping are much cheaper than therapy and not a detrimental addiction.

I would feel a great loss if you shut down this joint, lady! :-)

Tracy

What everyone else said - or at least one point from everyone else. I write because I must. If I wasn't writing in a blog, I'd be writing in my paper journal (though I also write in my paper journal). I like comments (who doesn't?), but since I don't get all that many usually and I'm still here blogging away after over a year... well, it's obviously not the comments. Though I have noticed an upward trend in comments/readership/etc...

I love reading your blog - there is usually something to which I say YES so true! Some of it is having boys, etc. Keep writing!

Kismet

My blog contains very little of my day to day life, but I like to document the highlights for future reference. I like to write, and tho I may not be as good at it as I'd like, I feel I am getting better and better as time goes on.
Your blog I love. Your writing style inspires me. I love how you capture moments and can convey them so eloquently.

~K!

Shannon

I blog to vent and talk about my kids and release all of my thoughts that I don't feel I can verbalize.

I love reading other blogs, particularly other moms, because it makes me realize there are so many others out there who are going through the same thing I am.

I have no idea how many people read my blog and at times I care and at times I don't care. But I like writing and knowing that some people read my little stories and get a kick out of some things in my life and might cry with me at other things in my life.

I love visiting you here. You have such a calmness to you that I would love to have. I don't know if I will ever have that calmness and if I don't, that is ok.

Have a great night!

el-e-e

I'm surprised that only one other person mentioned paper journals. I used to always keep paper ones but that stopped suddenly when AJ was born. Imagine that! Since I work and sit at a desk all day anyway, I thought it'd be a good time to re-start my journaling. So yes, completely narcissistic.

Little did I know what a community it would become for me. I love comments, commenting, and learning about other people who are very different from me. (And some who are quite similar, actually.)

baglady

35 years ago, when there were (as far as I know) no laptops or pc's, I was a new mom - dazzled and overwhelmed by my children. I began to write in notebooks and have a small stack now, in the basement. Nobody ever read them. So the writing meandered, repeated, and was generally unfocused. It was helpful to me - let some pressure off, but it did not reflect the events of my life as much as my shaky emotions. So someday, when my kids read them, these notebooks will only confirm that their mom actually was the fruitcake they thought she was...and not a very good writer! It won't tell them how bright their hair glowed in the sunlight, or how they tormented and needed each other, or how funny and wonderful they were.

Blogging is, I think, the same thing, only way better. People who need to say something, and can say it in a venue that drives their writing by response and interest. Just like a conversation, only more permanent. I wish I could have blogged back then. Notebooks are more portable, but not the wonder that all your blogs are!

I guess we owe your friend a thank-you. She inspired a really interesting conversation on line. Interesting that she is a writer, too. I think she would write a really interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking blog. I would love to read her.

No, that font couldn't possibly make a tiny thing like you look fat.

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