Friday, January 12, 2007

Blogs and Mirrors

I am vain and needy. Because I am vain and needy, I want to believe that people read my blog. Awhile ago, in a moment of (for me) astounding reasonableness, I realized that most people don't leave comments, so I couldn't extrapolate anything from the fact that only a few readers speak up. Also, I wondered if all my attempts at self-promotion were paying off and I wanted to know how people were finding me. So, I installed the code for sitemeter a few weeks ago. I wasn't aware that sitemeter was a form of intercrack. I didn't expect to be checking it every day. I didn't know that they had maps and charts. How can I look away when I see that someone found me when they google searched "women who go nuts when breakups happen"?

But shouldn't it have occurred to me that this is what happens whenever I am given an oblique view of myself?

I have spent hours of my life looking in the mirror. The thing about the image one sees in the glass is that it isn't real. It isn't the image one has in one's head (because that is as much a result of mood as anything else) and it isn't what other people see when they look at you (because, in addition to the image being a reverse of what they see, others are more likely to see your whole package as opposed to the flaws on which you focus or the attributes on which you hang your ego). The looking glass is a dangerous and powerful thing and it is surprising it exists in so many places in our world. Even if they aren't portals to another world, they still are capable of sucking us in. Though none of us may be as beautiful as Narcissus, aren't we all at risk of falling in love with our own reflection?

I was a child before the advent of the video-recorder. While my parents did have a personal computer (an Apple IIe) before the Mac OS or Windows made them easy to operate and more necessary than a television, they aren't the most technology savvy, so while there are hundreds of photos of me and my brother throughout our childhood (and my mother feels the need to display some of the more unattractive ones prominently throughout the house), there are no Super 8 films. All my images of my girlhood are still. If a machine like the one in the film Until The End of the World were to fall into my hands, I suspect that I, like the film's main character, would become addicted to it and its ability to show me my memories and my dreams.

Julian is already displaying this sense of self-awareness and self-absorption. Fred and I have both noticed how he will sometimes watch himself in a mirror as he is playing or talking. (Fred also says he gets this from me. I say, no to that, I say that even if we allow for my extreme vanity, fascination with one's own reflection is a universal trait among all animals capable of recognizing the image in the mirror to be one's own.) Until we can figure out how to work the used video camera which my brother gave me, we are making little 30 second videos of Julian. In 30 years, he may be staring at the mini-films, enamored of his two year old self and all the experiences that awaited him.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous n.b. said...

I know what you mean about site meters! I do not enable comments on my blog but I do enjoy the occasional peek at my statcounter. My favorite feature is the world map with little balloons showing where people are reading my blog...somedays I feel quite the citizen of the world (other days I am local news only.) Have fun with it!

How to compare this brief life?
This morning a boat crossed
the harbor, leaving no
mark in the world.

-Mansei

9:08 PM, January 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was doing the same thing with sitemeter. Then I installed statcounter, which also shows how long people stay on each page. When I found out the majority of people left within 5 seconds, I was brokenhearted!

3:57 AM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Judy said...

sitemeter can be a little creepy too. I've had lots of visitors come through a search for "tandem nursing pictures," which I hope is an innocent search for information, but sometimes makes me nervous.

You deserve to be vain - you're beautiful!!

I wonder how much our kids will enjoy the video clips of themselves, or if they will watch them. The ability to preserve these moments is definitely one of the greatest features of the new technology though.

8:21 PM, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Girl's Life said...

Hi! I found your blog through someone else's blogroll (Officially a Mom, I think?)

Anyway, I don't comment that much on blogs either. I'm so busy! And then I realized that I LOVE (Seriously, in a really strange almost creepy way!) when other people leave comments on my blog, so I thought - hey, it's a new year. I should start commenting more!

I couldn't agree more with what you say about people having the natural tendency to want to look at themselves. My 16-month-old daughter spent the entire weekend playing in front of a wall mirror (literally, the whole wall) at my MIL's cabin. Good times.

6:01 PM, January 17, 2007  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Site Meter, thy name is bitch...Are you me? Holy crap! I felt like I was reading a post I wrote but didn't know about - I get depressed if I don't get many comments - ridiculous, I know - and I try to tell myself I am writing for me but vanity is an exacting mistress ;-)

8:43 PM, January 19, 2007  
Anonymous kim said...

crack is exactly what sitemeter is.

10:41 AM, January 20, 2007  

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