I have a wonderful friend, who I’ll call Megan because that is her name, who I never see because life is dumb sometimes. We used to work together, and she once said something to me that I never forgot and think of often. I was trash talking someone, and she deftly and tactfully pointed out that the characteristic I was decrying in this person was most likely something I disliked about myself. Hmmmm……
Thus, I commence to complain about oversharing. We live in a society of overcommunicators. In fact, we live in a society that is currently structured to encourage overcommunication. Yes, Facebook, I’m looking at you, and your zippy little friends Twitter and Tumblr. But those are obvious examples, easy targets.
How many of us can say that we don’t grasp the opportunity, when it arises in everyday life, to show who we are, what is special about us, what we are extra good at, how much we know? Think back to middle school, that kid who always raised his/her hand and asked a question that wasn’t really a question just to make sure everybody in the room, especially the teacher, knew that he/she knew the answer. We all have trouble resisting the urge to be that kid sometimes.
I used to teach in a Quaker school, actually, that’s where I met the wonderful Megan of the important aforementioned lesson about criticizing in others what we don’t like about ourselves. One of the many things I liked so much about working in this school was attending weekly Quaker meetings. I recently took my kids to a Quaker meeting, under, alas, not so pleasant circumstances, although I was glad to have the chance to share that experience with them. In describing How That Whole Quaker Meeting Thing Works, I explained that in a Quaker Meeting for Worship, someone stands to speak when he or she a)feels moved to speak and b) when what he or she feels moved to speak about is worthy of sharing with the whole community.
I’ve been thinking about that lately. How much of what we share is worthy of sharing with the whole community, whatever your particular community in any given moment might be, I suppose. This has been leading me into some deep and murky waters. Where perhaps Edie Brickell should come and have a friend choke me. I don’t know that I need to tell everyone what I’m thinking every moment in real time or discuss my bathroom habits or share my children’s latest report card comments (hello, AWESOME! That was a joke). But sometimes I try stuff out just to see what it “sounds like” on the page. Or screen. Like I said. Murky.
Maybe this is why I haven’t been writing. It feels a little self-indulgent.
Then again. Here I am.
Perhaps not so deep.