Artwork by Beth Meadows

Narcissism brings us together

Added on by B.
I read this this morning, courtesy of my pregnant friend's Facebook page.

It got me thinking more about something I've been thinking about for a while.

I read another article recently about how more and more women are beginning to share their labor, in real time, via social media.

I want to give my generation (late 20s/early 30s) the benefit of the doubt here. I want to believe most of my peers are appalled at such a thing. I am. Mortified, really.

Then I think about younger generations, the ones that have known very little life without social media. By the time they are having children, will it be commonplace to update your status while pushing? What will become of our culture?

To be clear, I think it's an incredible thing for a woman to carry around a tiny growing person in her stomach. Even more, as I personally know more and more women taking this task on, it gives me a joy that I've never experienced before.

With that being said, I admit, however, that I'm tired (oh, so tired) of seeing baby bump photos on Facebook. Add ultrasound photos to that list as well.

I've been wondering why I've felt this way. Am I being cynical, as is my natural tendency? Maybe. Am I jealous? No, I'm really not.

So I've come to the conclusion that what bothers me about it is how we can so easily cheapen joyous, awe-inspiring occasions by turning them into advertisements for ourselves. We take private, magical moments and publicize them so publicly*, and ask others to affirm us, to assure us we are on the right track.

Though I've never had the opportunity to consider posting baby bump pictures, I'm guilty of the same thing when I post updates and photos of my travels, social gatherings, and accomplishments. We put the best versions of ourselves forward in an effort to garner some amount of praise, some bit of validation from others while simultaneously living in reality, which we know has it's fair share of failures and disappointments.

(No one reads this blog, but) In the off chance you are sitting there thinking, "My baby bump pictures were not about me but my baby!" consider yourself a saint and stay exactly the way you are. But if you're anything like me, you know the struggle of which I speak.

Ok, enough beating up on pregnant women (poor choice of words?). What about the most narcissistic group of all: Artists.

We are a self-absorbed people asked to promote and defend the work we make knowing it does not serve a purpose in the grand scheme of human survival. Yet, we create because there is a mysterious force inside us that tells us that if we don't, we will spiral into a dark depression and our spirit will surely die**. We possess an ability to communicate on a level other people can't, to make money throwing paint on a canvas or fashioning a sculpture out of paper clips and, as a result, we place ourselves above those who can't. Or something like that.

As I force myself to be more comfortable promoting myself as an artist (lest I never make a living doing what I love), I can't shake the feeling that I'm not supposed to function this way. I haven't come to a place in regard to self-promotion where I've felt like my motives were right; it always feels like bragging.

So I guess what I'm asking is, how can I trick others into thinking I'm humble and noble when I talk about how great I am in order to attain more wealth?

While you ponder this, I'm going to go post some pics on Facebook of a hike I went on the other day. It was the best day ever!

* I've always wondered why an email to 20 or 30 of your closest friends and family with your ultrasound photos attached wouldn't suffice. Everyone can go bonkers via an exuberant and intimate email thread.

** This might just be me.