Is this thing on? The truth about “over-sharing”

Hello folks, this is my blog where I am going to talk about myself and be annoying and ask for validation. Thank you for being here to share this self-indulgent moment with me. Tip the waitstaff. Keep an eye on your valuables. Pop the pills now so they have time to kick in. Do what you need to do.

I started this post much less abruptly the first time around — this long-winded juggling metaphor meant to outline just how irresponsible I am with my emotions, and how my need for validation has led me to this point of crushing guilt and loneliness so paralyzing that I can’t do much but whine and complain. You were supposed to laugh at my self-deprecation but also feel pity for me because I’m trapped in a cycle of near-manic attempts at self-improvement that ultimately fail within days due to a lack of any self-generated motivation.

It sounds really contrived because it was. I just told you all of that in one paragraph without even flinching more than once. See how easy this is?

Still, I know why I was having such a hard time at first. Those who know me will roll their eyes at the implausibility of this, but I honestly forget sometimes that it’s okay to talk about myself. The prevailing message seems to be that any sort of vocal self-awareness is childish or narcissistic. Facebook is not your diary.Twitter is not your diary. Don’t you dare photograph your meal for Instagram. Taylor Swift is a bitch because she always writes about her breakups. Such-and-such novel sucks because the main character is clearly meant to resemble the author.

Sure, none of these messages stop me from talking so much about myself, but it’s hard not to feel guilty doing so. And I resent that. Very deeply, actually. There is validity to the question of whether or not we benefit as a collective when every one of us seems so concerned with broadcasting each and every detail of our lives. I happen to think that the answer is yes. Mostly because I believe firmly believe it, but also because if I try to reproduce all of the societal mental gymnastics that brought us to the apex of this pointless guilt complex in the first place, I embody it myself and it starts to sound like the inner monologue of someone locked in a closet on ten hits of acid.

I don’t see many people honestly answering the more important questions: Why are some of us more forthcoming with personal details than others? Why do some people find constant expression and sharing so valuable? And what’s wrong with that?

I think where we sometimes go wrong is in believing that the instinct to overshare is a symptom of things like narcissism, childishness, even delusions of grandeur. That a need for validation is always a problem that has to be ameliorated through anger and exclusion and ear-covering. But for myself, and I’d venture to say for a lot of us, sharing is an innocuous attempt at communication and connection, a way of lightly tapping the mic to say, “Is this thing on?” Just as the athletically-inclined sweat out their demons in the gym, the verbally/linguistically-inclined vomit them out onto the page. “Save it for your diary,” the naysayer says. I say, “I need to speak, not stew. Is this thing on? Is this thing on?”

There are times when this coping mechanism does not work. There are moments where sharing can be irreverent or unbecoming. But most of what the critics deride as toxic is really not hurting anyone. Twitter isn’t my scene, but what the hell do I care? Instagram all of the food photos you want. Go start a Facebook diary. I’d be so into that and probably join you. Self-indulge. You’re not responsible for cluttering or disgracing the internet. It’s already, like, 99% boobs. Fuck people who tell you no one’s going to care. You care, and if it helps you to express yourself, then go right ahead.

Anyway, yeah… Here I am, talking about myself as if my thoughts and feelings are valuable, or something. It’s difficult to get used to, and this is really me sticking a feeble toe in to test the waters, but I think I like it. It’s nice not having to worry about burdening other people for once. I could get used to this. In the mean time, I’ll be passing my hat around the theater. The standard tipping currency here is attention. Generosity is very much encouraged.

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