Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.
Part Three: Love


I HIDE myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too―
And angels know the rest.
I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.

For his Self? Or herself.

I picked up a copy of Al Purdy’s Piling Blood at the used bookstore, and Golden Girl, a biography of Jessica Savitch. Al had a thing for birds and I barely remember Savitch. Apparently she was a driven, tortured soul, a pioneer with feminist views and NBC’s first anchorwoman. Looked down upon by the old guard as a talking head, a performer, at the dawn of infotainment, Savitch became a sacrificial lamb upon the altar of the Personality cult. They needed her good looks and glamour, resented her demands, including a make up person and hairdresser. Always in control of her close-ups, Savitch paid the ultimate price for her perfectionist ways, her fight for credibility. The book also portrays compellingly the intrigue within the networks, which is true of any corporate culture, only difference today being the density of the jungle.

It was all a facade of course. A mask. Off camera, Savitch was a monster, a very unhappy monster, drug addled and battling drug abuse. The only time she felt secure was staring back at herself in a monitor. And if you’re not a narcissist, cocaine will turn you into one quite handily. Life becomes theatre.

Perhaps we are all narcissists, in various normal development stages and to varying degrees, though individuals afflicted with Narscisstic Personality Disorder,  the “malignant narcissist,” according to Dr. Sam Vaknin, project onto others his or her fears, insecurities and shortcomings. He can assuage anxiety only by being in complete control. Narcissists subjugate everyone, dictate terms of engagement and punish those who refuse to get with the program, their victims caught in a vicious circle, first idealized then inevitably devalued and discarded. Hypomanic, desperate for attention, approval, adulation, a narcissist on the prowl is impossible to resist.

So run! Hide. Keep your panties on. Don’t love anything that can’t love you back.


  1. While this is a relatively old post, I feel the need to comment.

    Agree with the bit about Jessica Savitch being a sacrificial lamb who was exploited by the network and then reviled for the very qualities they milked for all they were worth.

    However, I take strong issue with you essentially calling her a narcissist. No way. And it’s very irresponsible, to say the least, for you to read one book, apparently believe what the author (who, of course, had a motive to sell books) wrote, and then believe that makes you qualified to provide a psychological diagnosis of someone you didn’t know. The irony here is that by doing as you did, one might term you the very thing you termed Jessica.

    No way in hell was she any more narcissistic that the average person.

    Did she likely have some personality disorder or at least some significant psychological issues in her later years? Sure. However, subject even a psychologically sound woman to the extreme disrespect, belittlement, etc. that she took from higher-ups and many male colleagues for a very long time simply because she had the nerve to be both very attractive and very smart and that woman would end up with some serious issues too.

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