Friday, April 15, 2011
Narcissism or Not?
My friend, Peter asked me recently if I ever thought of myself as a kind of Carrie Bradshaw, albeit a 50+ San Francisco version, busily stumbling through a life which is exciting, maddening, lonely, romantic, yearning, lusty, sometimes stylish, with a healthy dose of sweatpants and hiding under the covers. Although I was flattered by his question (and certainly wish I had the shoe budget and collection of Carrie) and while I originally thought that there might be something publishable in my musings, I have come to realize that the blogging and its concomitant personal admissions have been a way of reaching out to others in search of connection and community.
The subject of connection fascinates me. I lived much of my life feeling like an outsider and have only recently knocked down that myth, understanding it was, in fact, a myth which served to shelter me from the potential hurt of connection/rejection. I looked for fellow outsiders, and together we often sheltered ourselves from some general world of others who knew how to "fit in". When another friend laughed in my face some time ago when I referred to myself as an introvert, it certainly caused me to stop and re-examine the myth. And when one of my closest people in the world recently asked me to advise a troubled woman on how to re-enter the world, I finally admitted to my stubborn self that, in fact, I have learned how to connect after all, and perhaps, do it pretty well.
In need of community after my marriage split open, after my kids became adults, after I dramatically changed my career, after I felt unmoored and emotionally homeless, after starting to date for the first time in 33 years, I wrote, and the writing (and the responses to the writing) has kept me in touch with others and has helped germinate new friendships. What I have found through my writing is that there is an unspoken support group in-the-making through blogging, a support group about just living. Living life in the open has allowed others to talk to me about common experiences and feel comfortable sharing, helping me, in the process, know that I, too, am not alone with the issues facing me.
What makes up support groups of any sort is common experience. Mothers groups can help fend off that feeling of bad mommy/isolation/where's-the-owners-manual-that -should- have-come-with-my-child feeling and help moms feel connected to their peers. Rape victims groups help deal with those feelings of shame, fear, helplessness and anger, helping create a community that wishes it never had to be formed. Weight watchers, AA, running groups, PTA are all formed around shared issues, illnesses, life-stages, and interests.
I don’t belong to a group, or at least to a publicly formed one. But this blog has given me an outlet and a strength to examine myself, or, as the same Peter says, “do” Lisa – not Carrie! In turn, I have found and formed a community, and for that I am most grateful.