Had to make that.
A question comes up once in awhile about Pinky blog that basically asks- Just how much of an egocentric narcissist are you?
I will asplain. (I mention these things sometimes, but they are scattered, so here we go all in one place.)
When I committed to a public personal blog (key word being personal), I had a good long think first. Do I really want to do this? How do I do this? I have a very public history in various places, and deeply private stuff going on all the time with a number of people. If I'm not careful, I'll wind up like Vance Major and create exponentially escalating gossip to the point where followers are duking it out all over comments. He keeps posting on facebook that he stands up for what he believes while simultaneously inciting hater rabble back against his own haters. True, he's a different sort of interesting cream rising to a vague kind of cool top in facebook blogging, but he's making loads of enemies doing it, and his followers are there as much for the train wrecks he creates as anything. I've already been through that grind. The last thing I want is my personal blog becoming a black hole kind of a drag with an event horizon of followers. No offense to Vance, he's becoming a power player in his own right and he actually is a really cool and sweet guy.
Aspienado doesn't tolerate attention very well. I learned that back in my Bluejacky days. I am my most comfortable public blogging with zero comments. I have no problem whatsoever with no one ever cheering me on, although I deeply appreciate the lurkers brave enough to make private contact about something real. And I don't mean angsty real, I mean real. They can see what I'm doing and where I'm going with this.
Committing to a public personal blog requires a little more honesty with myself than committing to a themed blog. Am I going to keep a certain upbeat tempo? Am I going to dump my day? What is the point of a personal blog, anyway? Why make one if I'm going to hide some of my stuff? How do I be honest if I'm still wearing a mask for public? Lotta fine lines to cross, lotta feelings I can hurt, so defining 'public personal blog' was a big deal.
Number one, it has to be about me. It's my blog, not someone else's. The minute I drag junk about other people into my blog, it becomes about them. This is aspienado handling the day to day hard living stuff while trying to get a book written. This is not aspienado venting and spewing and opinionating. I tried that on Bluejacky, and while it got a bit of attention, it wasn't the sort of attention I felt comfortable with. It was great for gaining interaction experience and learning what kind of readership lurks around my stuff, but in the long run, it was self destructive. So the really big question is- how do I handle my negativity publicly? Because if I'm being truly honest, I'm trying to retrain a very negative personality.
I've got material in private that would outsell sitcoms. I read some of my old stuff back to Scott and he says it's better than Everybody Loves Raymond. But is that what I want? To tell other people's stories from my point of view? It wouldn't be my blog then, would it? (But they'll make great books someday...)
I've had these convos with psyche guy, about the egocentric narcissism of public blogging, and here's what I say. I was born into a religious family that didn't believe in drawing attention to ourselves (that is vanity), or making big deals about their children (we don't boast or say we are proud of each other or make a big deal about someone being pretty), or stepping into spotlights (service to others above all things), or even admitting we need help (we daren't show that our faith is slipping, plus any kind of medical or psychological help is government control and brainwashing), you get the point. I grew up in an extremely rigid belief system that doesn't allow for differences or change, castigates new ideas and enthusiasm, and allows all members to fade into group backgrounds because individuals are no more important than other individuals (unless they are male or an authority figure). I grew up severely repressed and very angry. I rebelled and questioned until I was an embarrassment everywhere we went, and my collective family was not kind trying to reinforce stricter behaviors in me.
That's kind of all changing now as generations are changing as the times change, but I grew up on the apex of that change. I sit on a fence between two very different generations. I am part of the culture that started redefining the global system versus the local system.
For years I've watched other bloggers struggle with how to write their stuff. Some repeat current topics (political and religious opinionating), some jump on bandwagons (mommy blogging, entertainment reporting, pinterest...), some wax poetic or artsy (masks), some dump feelings. Whatever. I've struggled myself. How do I talk about my stuff when I affect other real people with real lives? Sometimes when I tell a story, someone a thousand miles away or on the other side of the globe watches every single day for what I'll say next because they know I'm talking about someone they know in real life (or themselves). How do I share my stuff without embarrassing or angering or hurting other people?
The only answer is that my blog has to be about me. Not them. No names. Some readers figure out certain parts, yes. Other readers are glued thinking more reveals are coming (they're right), but I'll never name names. I'll never point at anyone anywhere and do to them what has been done very publicly to me in the past.
Several people privately push me to 'name and shame'. Ok, how about I name all the names and shame all the shames? You have no idea what aspienado will say. I was raised (and beaten) by the most judgmental people on this earth. I still have all that pent up anger swallowing my soul. Do you really want me blackening your skies with my negativity? I can't live like that. I cannot heal heart, soul, mind, and body while I'm focusing on orchestrating a cheering section for execution festivals. I really don't know how Vance handles that. My depression won't allow me to heap coals without burning holes in myself doing it.
Besides, to give you an example, I love my mother. I don't want the world hating her. I don't want my family feeling disgusted or angry with me for telling stories on her. I want the world to understand and empathize that it was hard for her. I don't want to throw her to the raving wolves spewing hatred on people they don't take the time to get to know and understand. What in the world is my sociology degree any good for if I can't learn to see my mother's perspective? We were both miserable growing up. It's ok to say that. It doesn't mean we don't love people or that life was horrible all the time. It's just honesty.
Pinky is finding a way to be honest without sugar coating or train wrecking. I'm oscillating between taking masks off and blowing up more bridges. I want to be genuine without hurting anyone. I need to be real without inflicting pain on people I hold dear.
Part of the egocentrism is me learning to consolidate myself into a psychologically healthy person. But the narcissism is a whole different animal.
Narcissism is a necessary ingredient in being public. There are all kinds of public jobs, but maybe the easiest to understand is actors. Actors must be narcissistic to sell themselves and the products they represent. They voluntarily become the faces that take the brunt of the entertainment industry's roller coaster ups and downs, everything from the fawning to the egging. Before I committed to being a public person, I had to make some decisions about how I would handle this or that happening so that I could remain public without alienating readers, followers, lurkers, and family. It's hard finding that kind of balance when you can't really step off and hide once you've put stuff out there. I have cringeworthy days where I can't believe I hit the 'publish' button and reel away into anxiety attacks no one ever sees, shutting down the tech for hours and keeping myself busy doing chores around the house or running errands. You know what? That's a good thing. Some people just spill without remorse and very little thought to consequences. Others live in a continual dread of 'what if' and never spill at all. I hope I'm learning to spill gracefully. I'm practicing on you guys.
I'm sure we all imagine a glory day where we're cool and the world loves us, but then we come back to reality and go on with our ho hum lives, thinking they're all pipedreams. Or we imagine stepping out and everything going all wrong and never being able to show our faces again. My biggest nightmare is winding up on Oprah and being publicly humiliated for not naming and shaming, and therefore not being able to say I wrote a legitimate autobiography. (I imagine aspienado and Oprah being in the same room is a paradox that will explode the world.) Any thought of actually talking in public about myself to anybody is a nightmare. I can do it, yes, but I've been practicing for years with a psychologist. Before I started talking to him, I talked to no one about all my stuff. Not even my own husband. If I was an egocentric narcissist before I became a public person, it was more about me being right in an argument about something around the house, but outside my home I'm more the type that pulls levers behind the curtains. I push other people into spotlights. I manipulated vortices and dangled the participles for years without people knowing it was me.
Some of you are asking, "What about Vance? Didn't you just name him?" Quite right. I actually like Vance, and have even told him he inspired me to be more. I love his enthusiasm and tenacity, and especially his honesty. I don't care for some of this methods, but I can't fault them because it's not my stuff and he's doing just fine, even becoming somewhat of a star in his own right. I think that's really cool. I love watching people become and grow and inspire. He's been an inspiration to many, and I respect him for that.
I'm just saying I'm not going to throw people I care about to the wolves just because they disagree with me and worry for me and fear for my safety and my soul. I know it's going to be hard on some of them if I do break out and wind up publicly discussing real life beyond this blog. I'm going to do my best to be as respectful as possible of their beliefs and methods because I actually do have a degree saying I'm capable of being professional about how groups and individuals in those groups affect one another. I'm egocentric enough to use myself as an example in a discussion and narcissistic enough to believe what I'm doing is right and will be good for other people.
I have some ideas. I don't want to whisper them from behind a curtain and hope a few books sell. I want to stand out like a sore thumb and draw all the attention I can to the kinds of ideas that I hope help change our future as a world people to something better. We're trying. It's hard embracing change and accepting differences, and some are dragging into the future kicking and screaming. I understand those people because I come from them, but I don't agree with them.
Aspienado has been learning how to say the right words. Pinky has been learning how to share those words the right way. All the fragments need to come together into a beautiful new sentence that makes a beautiful new paragraph. There's a new way to draw lines, not in sand, not around us in salt, not in fences and border patrols. (I have worldwide readers, please do not mistake this for sidetaking in an American argument.)
When lines are crossed they turn into Ts. When a dot shows up it creates an I. While old schoolers fuss on facebook over whether schools should continue enforcing the learning of old fashioned cursive in the curriculum, PinkyBluejacky is creating a new cursive that joins all the things into a big new sentence.
Please excuse my sense of humor if you are new to me.