When I first started writing BRAINCHEESE, now almost 3 years ago, I spent a great deal of time mulling over my rationale for attempting to take on such an *unusual* task...public disclosure about my life while living with Multiple Sclerosis. I carefully weighed out the personal benefits I might receive as well as the hopeful benefits of sharing my experience with such a large, public audience. My goal has always been (and will continue to be) to provide a public forum for those dealing with Multiple Sclerosis in which there is education, common bonding, and a sense of community provided in what I have tried to mask behind humor and honest self-discovery. So often, those of us with MS, have found or FIND ourselves feeling alone and frightened with this unforgiving disease...I have tried to systematically tear down small portions of that barrier via common themes and agendas.
When I write ideas on CHEESE, I do so with the same approach I am trained to take when dealing with psychiatric patients: Self-disclosure should only be used IF it is helpful in providing example through experience to an individual and NOT done as a means of self-promotion or narcissistic gain. If you've ever been to a therapist, you've probably been told the standard line in response to personal questions asked of the therapist..."We're not here to talk about me (therapist), we're here to talk about you." This is because the power of projection is so important in the therapeutic alliance. By limiting self-disclosure from the therapist, the client is allowed to assume whatever attributes/roles the client chooses from their own subconscious and *project* these images onto the therapist. This *projection* provides a road map of sorts into the thinking processes and behaviors of the client that might otherwise not surface if clouded by the realities of the therapist...and the therapist is then given access into the hidden or unconscious life of the client to hopefully gently guide the client on a path of clearer understanding.
OK, so psychobabble aside...I write in the style I do here on CHEESE so that YOU, the reader, might find YOURSELF in the postings and pages. And, occasionally I write as a simple form of outlet for myself, always trying to be mindful of the impact my words might have upon the reader. I want to believe this approach is far more useful to us BOTH than simple diarrhea of the mouth. LOL
I always smile when I receive an email from a reader, who poses many personal questions of me or writes their email with an obvious hidden agenda. I have even received emails from readers "challenging" me with ideas such as a disbelief I am even *real* or that I do not have Multiple Sclerosis...these emails fascinate me on many levels. I recently received an email from someone I actually have had contact with OUTSIDE of the Internet community who discovered my blog by pure accident, asking me why I am not more "authentic" about the many faceted aspects of my personal life? "Why don't you ever talk about such and such or THIS part of your life in your blog? Don't you think those topics would ALSO be of benefit to your readers?" This person has known me in another arena for a few years and has, therefore, had privilege to the *other* parts of who I am outside of the Internet community. The question arose that perhaps by NOT "going there" on other specific topics, I am somehow NOT being honest or real with my readers?
What I will say in response to this question/statement is, NONE of us ever really know another. We may *think* we do, but we do not. Every human being walking and breathing on the face of this planet has unexpressed desires, agendas, motives, and facets of their life that another person can and will never know or understand. Human beings are both quite complex and also very simple and we often attempt to hide behind BOTH of these truths...our complexities and our simplicities...in our efforts to grow and to survive. When others claim to "know" me, I can only say with great certainty, that claim is FALSE...even among those I spend a great deal of time with in my personal life. There is absolutely NO WAY for me to verbalize or demonstrate for another the complexity of my life experiences (or yours) via a blog, direct communication, or behavioral demonstration. And yet, the SIMPLICITIES of my life are cause for celebration in a general consensus among us...my most basic feelings are something EVERY HUMAN BEING SHARES AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER IN THEIR LIFE. And these are the ideas I attempt to keep as clear as possible in this blog.
My friend's email DID spark an unusual idea (like I don't already have THOSE most of the time?!?) and I decided to do a bit of *beta testing* (I just like using the words *beta testing*, but I have no idea what that really means) about my modus operandi behind WRITING this blog and also my theories of projection. What I have devised is a little *test* for you, my preciouses! That's right, this is ONLY a test...if this were an actual BRAINCHEESE emergency, you'd be instructed to blahty, blah, blah blah. LOL
So, here is how the "What Do You Think You Know About BRAINCHEESE?" test goes...I have constructed a serious of questions in sections about my private life (or the secret life of a blogger). Each answer is assigned a letter or symbol and each question correctly answered will construct a sentence with these letters/symbols...a VERY IMPORTANT SENTENCE, that I will want you to RESPOND TO "if" you can answer all of the questions correctly. Once you have completed the questionnaire AND have constructed the final sentence, I would ask you to provide comment or personal email with your RESPONSE or THOUGHTS about the VERY IMPORTANT SENTENCE. Oh, and by the way, I will NOT be providing the correct answers to the questions here on CHEESE.
Dear Lord, I have way tooooo much time on my hands! Here goes:
B. I drink alcohol.
D. I smoke cigarettes.
F. I have sex with strangers.
M. I abuse illegal drugs.
N. I have a gambling addiction.
A. My favorite color is black.
O. My favorite color is lavender.
I. My favorite color is green.
E. My favorite color is blue.
U. My favorite color is yellow.
G. I am right-handed.
Y. I am left-handed.
T. I am ambidextrous.
P. I vote along Republican Party lines.
O. I am not a registered voter.
L. I vote along Libertarian Party lines.
S. I vote along Green Party lines.
T. I vote along Democratic Party lines.
U. I identify as a lesbian.
R. I identify as transgendered.
V. I identify as bisexual.
W. I identify as heterosexual.
A. I identify as asexual.
J. I have a two year degree in nursing.
K. I have a diploma in nursing.
L. I have a four year degree in nursing.
M. I have a master's degree in nursing.
N. I am an adult nurse practitioner.
C. I was raised in the Methodist Church ideology.
E. I was raised in the Baptist Church ideology.
N. I was raised in the Church Of Christ ideology.
F. I was raised in the Jewish faith ideology.
M. I was raised in the Lutheran Church ideology.
T. My cultural/ethnic ancestry originated primarily in Japan, Ireland, and Germany.
G. My cultural/ethnic ancestry originated primarily in Britain, Native America, and Russia.
O. My cultural/ethnic ancestry originated primarily in Ireland, Germany, and Native America.
I. My cultural/ethnic ancestry originated primarily in Germany, Norway, and Italy.
". My cultural/ethnic ancestry originated primarily in Greece, Ireland, and Poland.
C. I currently live in an apartment.
D. I currently live in a condo.
R. I currently live in a house.
W. I currently live in a duplex.
O. I currently live in a commune.
T. My primary financial charitable donations go to the United Way.
W. My primary financial charitable donations go to Habitat For Humanity.
B. My primary financial charitable donations go to The Sierra Club.
H. My primary financial charitable donations go to NARAL.
M. My primary financial charitable donations go to The MS Society.
P. I have been diagnosed and continue treatment for MS, Diabetes, Depression, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
E. I have been diagnosed and continue treatment for MS, GERD, Hypertension, and Depression.
R. I have been diagnosed and continue treatment for MS, Bipolar Disorder, Hypertension, and Osteoarthritis.
A. I have been diagnosed and continue treatment for MS, Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, GERD, and Lupus.
S. I have been diagnosed and continue treatment for MS, Renal Insufficiency, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Heart Murmur.
. I have had coronary bypass surgery.
! I have had gastroplasty surgery.
? I have had electroconvulsive therapy.
... I have had bowel reconstruction surgery.
" I have had cosmetic facial surgery.