Interesting article about narcissism in today's New York Times. A new study links boastful song lyrics from the '80s through 2007 with the self-obsession of the youth of today. One 50-year-old friend of mine used the article as fuel for his ongoing tirade that the young have too much damn self-esteem. However, the piece was nuanced--it suggested that the middle-aged may be just as narcissistic as the nubile, but the data on the middle-aged doesn't exist.
I had an uncomfortable feeling while reading the piece. Especially when the ubiquity of the word "I" in lyrics was mentioned as a narcissism red flag. Hmmm. During my brief "career" as a song lyric writer I don't think I composed a single song without the word "I" in it. Me and the word "I" are really good friends. Years ago, during a conversation about psychotherapy, my friend Dan said something that I never forgot: "Nothing is more interesting than oneself." I love the first person. It's my go-to point of view for basically anything.
And what is more narcissistic than writing a blog? Or writing anything, really. The very act of writing is an act of ego. If you're a writer, you think (or hope) that people care about what you have to say.
I started this blog partially because I felt that the person I was before becoming a stay-at-home mother had ceased to exist. I wanted her to have a place to live. If that's not narcissism, I don't know what is.
I was contemplating all of this (does worrying whether you are a narcissist implicate you right off the bat?) when I went to yoga class this morning, to attend to the needs of my soul (more narcissism?). Halfway through class, I helped my yoga friend Dina into a middle-of-the-room handstand. Dina is a practiced yogi with a generous spirit. When she told me she was ready for me to let go, I did, and she fell over onto her back and hit her head. I stood motionless, too horrified and lightheaded from my own handstand to act. Dina lay there on the floor, half-laughing. People gathered. Water was brought. "What happened?" asked the teacher.
"She told me to let go, so I did," I said weakly. "When your friend asks you to let go," she announced to the very full room. "Make sure she's really ok first." I hadn't done that. I trusted that Dina knew what she was doing. Dina was still lying on her back at this point. "It's not your fault," she said, looking up at me. But I felt like it most definitely was my fault. I am a terrible spotter, and handstands are really scary for me. I went out to the lobby and lost it, bawling like a little kid.
Another friend came out and comforted me. "People get hurt," she said. "It even happens in advanced teacher trainings." I wanted to leave, but Dina, ambulatory by this point, convinced me to stay and finish the class. "You need to deal with this," she said. "That is why you are here." So I did. At the end of class, I got hugs and kisses and love from my fellow students.
"That's quite a yoga community you have," said my husband when I called to tell him the story.
I sure do.