Do you know anyone who suffers from narcissism?
Of course not. It’s not something one suffers. It’s something one enjoys.
In my youth, I was narcissistic as all get-out. I adored mirrors. I loved my face, my big brown eyes, my tiny little nose, my perfect teeth, my full red lips. My hair wasn’t quite up to par, but I had a delightful collection of wigs and hats that camouflaged whatever imperfections I may have had from the neck up.
I knew I was vain… but I didn’t know it showed.
However, when I was eighteen or nineteen, I went to a psychic with a group of young coworkers. This was someone I’d never met, who had never seen or heard of me. His opening words to me were, “Well! You’re certainly taken with yourself!”
I remember very little of the rest of the reading.
On the way out, I grumbled to my friends, “Why did this man accuse me of being narcissistic?”
“I don’t know,” said my forthright friend Carol. “It’s not like you have any reason to be impressed with yourself.”
Have you ever been clobbered?
“I mean, you’re getting a nice education and all; I suppose you could be narcissistic about that.”
“I guess,” I muttered, as my soul screamed “What about the twinkly eyes? The teasing hint of dimple?”
Nah. This chick didn’t think I was the least bit adorable.
I was quite depressed when I got home, and I told my mother the story.
She was livid.
“It would be unrealistic for you NOT to be narcissistic! You’re beautiful! You look exactly like my mother, and SHE was beautiful. Did you know, by the way, that her middle name was Narcisa?”
The coincidence intrigued me.
“You’d better be impressed with that face. It came from my mother, and her mother, and ME, and I expect you to pass it on to your own daughter when the time is right.”
Mom made me see that loving my face was no worse than admiring an heirloom brooch, or a treasured piece of lace. It was an inheritance that God had entrusted to my care, and one for which I should frankly be thankful.
I don’t have that face anymore… and once again, God was kind. He let my eyesight fade even as He removed my pulchritude. Now, when I walk by a mirror, I see smudges… twin brown blurs where the pretty eyes used to be, a pale little clump of dough at the center of my face, an upside-down parabola where my lips used to be.
But Mom was right. The old countenance, the one in which I took such great pleasure, has now resurfaced on my daughter’s face… and by Golly, she is absolutely gorgeous.
I wish she would begin to revel in her own beauty.