There are a lot of accusations floating around about how people overshare on the Internet in this golden age of social media.
It’s a concept I often wonder about, especially because I’m often accused of it. I tend to live a very open life online, and do so for a reason that I’ll get to shortly. What amuses me though is the fact that folks who accuse me of Overshare–my mom, certain friends, certain coworkers, certain erstwhile acquaintences–think that I tell people everything.
I never do. That’s the thing about openness. I am very open, very honest and very forthright. But I’m never ever telling all of what goes on because some of it is intimate and some of it is private. But I’ll tell a lot.
And here’s why.
I’m going to be 43 next month and for the last ten years it has gradually dawned on me that most of the things that I fret over at 3:00am are things that weigh on other people too. When I talk about myself, my feelings, my illnesses and my beliefs it’s never so that I can get attention or compliments. It’s because I’m an oldest child of four children and it’s in my nature to say “here is how it works for me” in hopes that other people can factor that in to their experiences.
The word “overshare” is one that I strongly object to. Whenever a person shares she is opening herself to the world, creating vulnerability in a world where vulnerability can get you emotionally and physically destroyed. To accuse someone of oversharing is perhaps cooler than accusing yourself of being undercaring. But really, that’s kind of what it is. Of course you may not want the details of a person’s sex life, physical problems, religious beliefs or family outings. That’s completely fine and completely your business. But it isn’t the other person’s fault or failing.
When I share things I expect that not everyone is interested and that doesn’t bother me in the least. I’m putting things out there for the person who might be interested or who might need to hear that they aren’t the only one going through that particular struggle. Your lack of interest doesn’t mean I’ve done something wrong anymore than your lack of interest in a specific program on TV indicates a failing on the part of the television set.
As long as I’m sharing about oversharing I suppose I should add the coda that I started writing this because I was trying to decide if I should be open about my present state of mind. Some on Facebook have accused me of being self-involved when discussing my illnesses and so I hesitate to write that I am presently both discouraged and afraid of what will become of me. But then I thought about it and reminded myself why I share. Because out there somewhere is another person who is discouraged by a body that just never quits hurting and breaking and that person may also be afraid that those who love them will tire of the constant brokenness and back away.
If that person is you, I understand because it’s me too. If that person isn’t you I pray that it never will be. But if it someday is I hope you remember this and remember that you aren’t alone. I personally find solace in God who states outright that I am loved fully by the perfect Creator in spite of whatever is wrong with me. I hope you find solace in as sheltering a place.