by Shelly Brown
You know what this blog needs? Another picture of me.
I'm not narcissistic. How do I know? I probably look in the mirror no more than once a day because I figure, 'what's the point?'. I'm not particularly fond of getting my picture taken and I probably only put on make-up 3x a week. It's all rather unnarcissistic of me.
But I do have a great little experience that I will most definitely be writing into a book somewhere about how I even learned what narcissism was.
In college we recorded all of our film acting assignments and then we were forced to watch them again and again, trying to evaluate our own work. After the first couple assignments I started wearing make-up to class everyday (it made watching it more tolerable- sad but true) and I started practicing my pieces in front of the mirror to note subtle things that I did with my face and make sure that my expression was conveying what I was meaning for it to convey. It worked and my acting improved.
One day I was at an audition for a film and was working on my audition piece in one of the 'dance mirrors' on the wall. I always felt sheepish talking to myself in a mirror but I knew that my work improved leaps and bounds when I did so I just kept it up, quietly saying my lines to myself in the mirror.
As I was whispering and emoting my lines into the mirror a young man walked up beside me and made eye contact with me in the mirror. I smiled and shyly stopped saying my monologue.
"Are you narcissistic?" he asked.
I must have looked confused because he continued, "Do you like to look at yourself in mirrors?" I could tell that he did and I didn't want to make him think I was judging him so I just smiled and shook my head a little. He then went on to tell me the story of Narcissus from mythology. "I can understand how it is." He looked at himself in the mirror. "It's a condition where you just can't stop looking at your own reflection." He smiled a knowing smile at me.
I knew nothing. I was quite befuddled.
"Sometimes I catch myself looking in the mirror for like a whole hour." He was still looking at himself and then occasionally looking at my reflection. "You're really pretty. Pretty people are the ones who get narcissism. Because we can't help notice how good we look. It's just good to know that I'm not the only one who has it." He was very good looking in the symmetrical-nice jaw-twinkling eyes sort of way.
I didn't have a clue how to respond. I think I tried to explain that I was just working on my monologue but he seemed to have just laughed that idea away.
For the rest of the time as we waited for our audition times I couldn't shake the idea that someone it that room thought I was full of myself. And as far as I could tell someone in that room WAS full of himself.
It was textbook.
It was epic.
So if you are looking for a character quirk consider narcissism. It is much more complex than his explanation and gives some people a reason to do things completely selfish. And those people really make conflict EASY!
Have fun writing!