My mom asks why most things I write are sad. I tell her, “I’ve got clinical depression. Thanks for the GENETIC MAKE UP, MOTHER.” I kid, I kid. I mean, not about the depression part. That’s not a joke.
I usually tell her something about people enjoying other people’s misery. We’re all very into rubbernecking heartbreak and tragedy, going all Rear Window and watching people from a comfortable distance.
I get it. I’m similar. Watching sad movies and listening to sad songs and crying with fictional TV characters. Maybe we’re a little hardwired to enjoy it. Or find comfort in it. It is, after all, something universal. The feeling of loneliness, of fear, of melancholy.
I also tell her when I write happy things, no one cares. I care, but they don’t!!! Which is okay because I’ve always been just self-obsessed enough to get enjoyment out of what I do, regardless of if others seem into it. My mom says, “I’m sure that’s not true!” and I laugh like, oh you sweet, middle-aged woman who goes on Facebook once a year, WHAT DO YOU KNOW?!
The audience wants to feel understood. They want to feel better about their own pain, so they go searching for those who share. Or those who have it worse. I write something weepy about an ex? Oh, they go nuts. The crowd fucking roars. But it’s unifying. It’s validation that they’re not alone.
Happiness doesn’t need that kind of validation. Happy people are just..happy. There’s no need for someone to package it back to you.
* * *
He tells me, “Don’t write about me.”
Automatically, I say, “Okay.”
Only later do I think about what this means. Only later do I realize how stifling this is. Never do I set out to hurt anyone. Never do I write to be vindictive.
Still, I have a story. Am I not allowed to share that? Am I not allowed to speak it out loud?
I catch myself pausing before letting my fingers hit the keyboard. I know he’s still reading. I know he’s still checking in. I know he’s looking.
Don’t write about me.
This is the internet writer’s dilemma. What do you do when your career, your paycheck, your passion involves sharing your life?
Should you sanitize? Is this kind of honesty only reserved for fictional Carrie Bradshaw? Where is the line? How much should you say? What should you keep locked inside?
I don’t have the answers. I am constantly second guessing myself. I’m still not sure how much of that is left-over from him. How much of that is me wanting him to regret our last convo.
We don’t always write about the people who flatter themselves thinking we do. We don’t always shine a spotlight on every story.
First and foremost, we are creatives. Internet be dammed. I mean, not really. I fucking love you, Internet. But we existed before you. We wrote poems on napkins. We constructed songs in backseats.
I’m a professional oversharer. I always have been. I extrapolate my feelings. Like, listen I competed on a slam poetry team in college! Do you know what that entails? It’s sharing the deepest, hardest parts of yourself in front of crowds and waiting for random judges to assign a numeric value to that personal unzipping you just did.
Sharing is just part of me.
Millennials are ridiculed for this need to overshare. This need to document every moment.
Who fucking cares?
As children, we’re taught to share. We’re told it’s an incredible gift.
And I still choose to think like that.
I’m a professional oversharer. An internet writer. A poet. A bleeding heart.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.