January 28, 2010

I'm So Special

Steve over at Pithless Thoughts is posting a series of his original Ortho-Graphs in which through humor he does a wonderful job of deflating my (and probably your) sense of self-importance. He points out most eloquently that (among other things) we are all guilty of false piety, of an inflated sense of self, of believing that we are set apart and special, of pride.

The problem is that the act of writing about false piety and about how guilty I am is probably in itself false piety. But here goes.

“Look at me and how bad/depraved I am/was, how my childhood/upbringing was worse than yours, how I have had to work harder to achieve what I have and any degree of normalcy.”

I know I am guilty of writing about how I have had it worse in life than most folks and that I am therefore special and deserving of empathy/pity and admiration. I have used my struggles as an opportunity to proclaim like a chanticleer my specialness. I know that in some sense I am just sharing my life, my life experiences but I have to admit I enjoy getting responses. I guess the fact that all four sentences in this paragraph start with “I” pretty much says it all.

Steve also explores the always popular, “Look at me, look at how much of a sinner I am/was, look at how prideful and un-orthodox I used to be. You have no idea how far I have come on my journey. I was so Baptist, so Church of Christ, so pagan (you fill in the blank)….” Guilty as charged. In fact I can go one better and say my first church experience was at a Salvation Army church in the neighborhood in which I grew up. We were all so poor the SA had to put down permanent roots. Sad, but true. See, don’t you feel sorry for me now?

Do I write and post photos here because I want you to admire my work, to validate that I am a good photographer/writer/artist? On some level yes and I suspect I am not alone. This blog, this seeking of attention is a form of vanity. I check to see how many people have visited, how many people have commented, how many electronic contacts I have made. And despite my poor intentions I have come to know some very excellent folk through blogging (Steve being one of them).

Steve reminds me that I am nothing new under the sun, that my feelings of smugness are sadly not particular to me. Vanity, vanity. All is vanity.