Whether out of threat of narcissistic injury, paranoia of being "watched", or true concern for others with Multiple Sclerosis (or a combination of all three!), I DO keep track of the many visitors that read CHEESE...mostly through a hidden statistics program running in the background of CHEESE (no, NOT the BraveNet stats you see over there to the left or the Feedjit stats...Moohahaha) that allows me to glimpse into your living rooms and see what's for dinner and what TV shows you are watching. OK, maybe not to THAT extent, because then I'd have to admit to you my name is Dick Cheney and I am a leftover from the Bush Administration. LOL But I CAN see when you arrive here, what you are reading here, and a host of other *vital* (said with tongue in cheek) statistics used to tailor BrainCheese to your liking (now I'm laughing out loud!). And, for the record, any and all posts on CHEESE that have anything to do with JESUS CAMP, STILL remain as the main *hit* on the counter...yes, JESUS CAMP trumps even Multiple Sclerosis here, which is a sad statistic to report. :-(
Along with observing your private colonoscopies via my stats program, I can (and HAVE once or twice) *block* someone from entering CHEESE...it's an extremely "other" rare program I use in response to some of the weirdness that comes from writing a public blog...occasionally there lurks a person who simply cannot abide by my ONE, cardinal rule for interaction on BrainCheese: PLAY NICE WITH EACH OTHER. I frankly do not care what criticisms you have of ME personally or any random, skanky things you might want to call me or comment about the CHEESE editor...you'll note, I WILL always publish those comments, because the comment IS most likely true! But on that rare occasion I have received skanky comment or email from someone who is "not playing nice" about OTHER CHEESE readers, I will first warn them *la dee dah* is not OK, then I'll attempt to counsel their sorry arse via email (if I can reach the culprit directly and if I FEEL like playing email therapist at the time), then I'll simply banish them from the Land O' CHEESE...like I said, it's been extremely rare, but I am NOT afraid to use my magic wand or vote someone off the island who cannot tolerate controversy or the opinions of others. I have my ways...which I will technologically discuss no further.
But back to the Lemming Stampede and title of this post...because I digress in writing as much as I REGRESS in real life.
You most likely have already noted the left-hand bar tab over there titled, "RUN LEMMINGS, RUN!"...this is where the mugshots/profile pictures accumulate of all those who DARE to publicly "FOLLOW" this blog via Blogger/Google...that number grows and shrinks on a regular basis as people come and go with interest in the blather painted across the CHEESE computer screen. There are also about 13 other "FOLLOWERS" from one of the social websites (which shall remain nameless to which I subscribe). In total, there's around 50 people who regularly come here to CHEESE who are NOT in search of more pictures of a 7 week old fetus or Jesus Camp (and you will note in the comment section of the previously highlighted post link, I publish ALL comments that come from what I personally consider some wackado peeps there, too...I don't discriminate, I just laugh quietly to myself)!
Outwardly, I am pleased there are so many people who may be finding interest, comfort, laughter, etc., in what I write on CHEESE. And, inwardly...I am HORRIFIED! I am often reminded of my first years of belonging to another *social website* (alrighty, there WERE no websites in the 80's!), called Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA for short. There were no personal computers back then, but the concept of AA was the same as a blog: Share your personal/deep dark secrets publicly to a group and receive feedback/support/community. Yes, my dear "FOLLOWERS"...it probably comes as no shock that the CHEESE used to knock back her fruits and vegetables (grains and grapes) via the distillation process, aka, alcohol...to the point of alarming distress. This was during the formative years of my personality development (or degeneration) in my early 20's. And I have not touched the grape or grain since July 20, 1987. That's right...I've been a dry drunk for 22 years.
Anywhozit, you may be familiar with AA yourself (or a friend of "Bill W.", as most alcoholics like to say in code) or you may know nothing about the group...either way, it doesn't matter because your personal (or lack thereof) connection to AA isn't my point. My POINT is still the notion of a Lemming Stampede and I WILL get to that soon...maybe.
So, one of the main premises of AA (or ANY of the *A* support groups, like NA, CA, ACA, etc.) is obviously to stop drinking, but to do so through a series of insightful paths (like first admitting that vodka is seriously damaging one's relationship with their *other* when the bottle is drained in one sitting, then thrown at the head of the *other*...not that this HAPPENED in the CHEESE life, of course...ahem). And part of that path is to tell one's story...to stand up in front of the chosen support group and spew all of the horrific details of the alcoholic life...and gain SUPPORT from the group.
As you might imagine, the CHEESE is no easy sell when it comes to *touchy feely* issues. True, I write a public blog now and I work in a branch of Social Services, but the honest-to-gawd-truth is, I really DON'T like people all that much. LOL Perhaps there is yet ANOTHER group beckoning me as I type that could assist me in my Antisocial ways...but I'm not interested. So, when it came my time to "share" in my AA support groups, I was often reluctant. It took nearly 3 years before I found any comfort in wearing my underwear on the outside of my clothing for all the world to see (NOT LITERALLY! A figure of speech meaning to air one's dirty laundry...geez). But, once I realized my smelly *sh!+* was no better or worse than anyone else, I started volunteering to lead AA meetings and became less embarrassed that I WAS an alcoholic...and the people around me were just like me.
It was sometime around my 3rd year of weekly (sometimes more) AA meetings that I was asked to be a guest speaker at a large AA group that typically had anywhere between 50 to 100 people crammed inside a small church basement. I have never shied away from public speaking...it's the Leo in me, who commands performance and the stage (hence, a public blog to continue the behavior of digging up my psyche for all the world to see)...so I was honored to be asked to flash my dirty laundry to this crowd. After all, I'd heard worse alcohol stories than my own.
What I had not prepared for was the overwhelming response from the crowd of newcomers in attendance at this particular meeting. Person after person/alcoholic after alcoholic came up to me after my *sharing*, telling me (among other things) how much strength they thought I must have, and how I'd obviously *overcome* my alcoholism, and how much they admired my *courage*.
This was the most distressing news I had ever been told in my three years of AA attendance...and I KNEW in my heart this was not true. I had simply PERFORMED for the crowd...telling them what I knew or thought they would want to hear. I was and had PRETENDED to be something I was not in my core...suiting up and showing up, but never really learning or incorporating the rules of the game. And, I never went back to another AA meeting after that.
Instead, I spent the next several years trying to learn what really motivated me, what propelled me through the dark waters, and what I really believed in. I also continued to refrain from the self-destructive act of drinking (which alcohol alone is not the problem, it is the alcoholic that is the problem), because I was USING alcohol as a means of expressing all the darkness that existed inside me...it was an EXCUSE for outwardly expressing what I felt on the inside: Small, insignificant, lonely, and weak. I do not celebrate an "AA birthday" as some do as a matter of personal choice, not because I don't support those that feel the date they stop drinking is significant. I don't celebrate an AA birthday for myself because there is no specific DATE in which I can claim any abstinence from the thoughts/behaviors that led me to misuse the substance in the first place...I STILL struggle to maintain balance in my life and I STILL struggle accepting my darkness...I just no longer consume alcohol in the process.
Whew...I'm getting closer to my point of the Lemming Stampede now...seriously. It's getting close. :-)
I have been writing this blog about my life with MS for 3 years...during this past three years, I have received multiple comments and emails from individuals seeking information, support, camaraderie, etc. I have also formed what I consider significant bonds with several of you via the Internet (even though I don't really like people all that much. hehe). So it is a somewhat precarious balancing act for me to feel *joy* there are as many of you who come here to read my blather as there are without also cautioning you to be ever-vigilant of accepting whatever you read here as FACT...it isn't FACT...it is only my opinion or my personal experience, my thoughts, my words, my ideas (however twisted they may be). I am an expert in NOTHING and a student of EVERYTHING. Today's information from my particular point of view could very well change tomorrow if a feather were to fly up my butt and tickle me in a new direction. It COULD happen!
There IS no right or wrong way when it comes to Multiple Sclerosis just like there is no right or wrong way when it comes to alcoholism...what IS important is that we find OUR way...whatever path that may be...and embrace OUR way. Our own, personal, individualized path of living, dealing with, treating, not treating, accepting, struggling with, MS.
I jokingly refer to that Blogger side bar of "FOLLOWERS" as lemmings...I do this because I hope it is always a reminder to NEVER run into the sea of MS because everyone else is...because the CHEESE has said something here on THIS blog, so it must be true for you as well. If you can relate to something said here, that is wonderful and hopefully useful to you. But I encourage you to ALWAYS follow your own path, even if it eventually does lead you to the cliff or into the sea...it is the only way to take responsibility for our own actions and our own, individual brand of Multiple Sclerosis...and at least if you end up running yourself over the cliff and into the sea, you can belt out the lyrics, "I did it my way", in style!
So "RUN, LEMMINGS, RUN!"...find your own path...and keep coming back here to BrainCheese if it remains useful for you. But if not, click away and SEARCH for that which brings you comfort or the information you seek. And don't bother looking back...unless you find yourself at the front of a lemming stampede and about to be trampled!...