Oops, I Thought We Were All Narcissists

Isn’t the entire world of social media about legitimizing that dance between voyeur and exhibitionist?

                                                                                                                                                       
Blog, they said. Great, I thought, I love…journaling! Truth be told, I might be slightly addicted to self-expression. But “contributing to betterment”?! Adding value?

What, I’m gonna run around and take snapshots of embroidered scarves through belt loops and blog about street fashion? Or how to groom pets without giving them a complex? Vegetarian recipes? Right: 1. Open bag of lettuce. 2. Dump in serving bowl. 3. Add dressing. 4. Eat straight out of serving bowl if no company present.

I wanted to “journal” for chrissake, and have other people read it — I mean, sorry but I thought we were all narcissists here?

Isn’t the entire world of social media about legitimizing that dance between voyeur and exhibitionist? We post what sandwich we ate for lunch, pictures of our cleavage or our happy friends/kids/pets. At times, we make highbrow attempts at humor or political commentary.

But whether it’s “I have boobs!” or “I eat things!” or “I think things!” the subtext is the same: “Hey look at me, I’m here! Like me with the little thumb icon so I can feel validated for the hour.” Unless we have some crap to promote, which is no fun for anyone.

The thing about the internet is, everybody gets to leave their mark. You can lay bare obscurely and imagine it’s global, but when it suits you, convince yourself no-one’s looking. You have the benefit of making yourself vulnerable, but always at arm’s length. In short, you get to be intensely personal in an impersonal way.

As an obsessive memory-preserver and inventor of reasons to bring order and classification to my life, there is huge satisfaction in digitally gathering photos or observations when I have much more important things to do.

The Value of Pratfalls

As far as blogging, or in my case public “journaling,” I’ve needed to work out how to do it without inducing contempt in the reader, or worse, cold indifference. I’ve had to contend with my personal Jiminy Cricket, a self-appointed authority on worthwhile, relevant writing, who feels writing needs to be free of ego in order to be good, that really good writing is seldom about the author, and is personally sick of everybody writing about their feelings. I may or may not be a masturbatory monkey, but Jiminy is definitely a blathering bug.

It did cross my mind, what if I’m just self-important, outright delusional? But telling me to confine my public writing to subjects of merit — assuming the subject of the self has no value — is like telling a granny not to crochet booties for her offspring’s first-born.

Being a self-reflective writer is what I am, dissecting my psyche and parsing how my interior parlays with real life is what I do. Is there no room for at least, dancing monkeys?

In the pratfall tradition, you fall, somebody thinks it’s funny, you get attention. It’s pretty elementary. A similar sense of anticipation awaits the poster of self-revelatory blogs: “Am I entertaining or stupid? Is someone looking?” And sneaking in a bit of dirty laundry is possibly akin to the thrill of those people who have sex in public for the risk factor.

Besides, I’ve been forthright and consistent: In my first post, I worried that I might be self-indulgent. In this second post, I demonstrated that I can be. And by now, any reader who’s made it to this sentence is used to me, right? Either way, the public journaling idea doesn’t have to be abandoned, just redirected.

So, value. Merit. It doesn’t have to be me all dancing monkey, all the time.

Let me start by substituting the word “journal” with “journey.” Then, I’ll begin each post with a relatable thesis. Finally, I’ll conclude with a moral, a lesson, and because those words are presumptuous and assholish, my “morals” are going to be called “Cathartic Monkeyism.” (See below.)

If like Jiminy Cricket says, nobody reads this stuff anyway, then no harm done. But if they do, I won’t have taken a fall for nothing.

I don’t write for Jiminy, I write for the person who knows the core is wrapped in so much tangled twine. And Jiminy, if you read the upcoming posts, you’ll notice my recurring theme: Falling.

Falling from your grace. Falling for people-places-things. Falling for my own rationale. More often than not, falling on my face.

(And finding a way to rise again.)

(continue)

 
Cathartic Monkeyism

  • In order to add value to public journaling/journeying, discern a relatable thesis in each post, such as, garnering interest in your personal blog.
  • Come up with a hook, for example, Cathartic Monkeyism.
  • Make sure the blog has a theme, and each post has a sub-theme. So if your blog theme has to do with quirky street fashion, your post theme might be about backwards pants (ass pockets in front, zipper in back).
  • Do it for you, but execute it as if you have an audience. Write well.
  • Caveat: You might still find nobody gives a shit. So… Read Part 3? How to be Exception to the Rule

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9 comments

  1. canigetanotherbottleofwhine · · Reply

    I love that caveat bc that’s how I feel sometimes. On to read part 3!

    1. Imagine how freeing it would be if it didn’t matter to us. But who are we kidding, of course we care! And I’m off to read more of your stuff…

  2. bgbowers · · Reply

    “Being a self-reflective writer is what I am, dissecting my psyche and parsing how my interior parlays with real life is what I do.”

    These lines sum up what I appreciate about your writing and your posts.

    1. Thank you. It’s not the easiest choice in a public forum, because it takes a different sort of reader / thinker than those who are drawn to writing style and content oozing with deliberate universal appeal.

  3. That caveat cracked me up.

    Wish I could come up with something more creative than ‘wonderful / thought-inspiring’ etc. *mumbles* but I’m hungover. Still, this was as a pint of water for my dying throat. X

    1. Those words, coming from a talent like you, are high praise.

  4. When I read your “About” section and you said if I found myself in these pages, don’t get mad, get email notifications – well that’s exactly what I did. Because THIS page, and I haven’t even read any others but I can already tell, sums up everything inside my own head that I haven’t got an 1/8th of the skill to to say. Love the way you write, and forgive me if at some point in the future I copy cat you – but I’ll credit you for it too. Because that would be cool, right? (See, there, that moment in the future just happened…)

    1. I love “that moment in the future just happened” because I read it right after spending the last hour thinking about a “time” post having to do with the past and future concurrently happening in the present. Also, I went to your About page, and saw your brilliant Flannery O’Connor quote: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say,” which sums up my entire blogging endeavor better than any sentence I can put together.

      1. I’m going to be working on my “about” section until it is as cool as yours haha, and I love love love that quote too. Why can’t I think up these things??

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