Why I Overshare

I almost wrote a really intense piece.

It was in this very space, on this very page. It was pretty well written, but it curved, spiteful and specific, to all my fears and hates. It was about me, aimed at me, and it curled around my fears like a serpent.

I almost sent that one, but I’ve done it before. I wrote that article in a worse mood, at a worse time. Those aren’t foreign to me. I burn my frustrations and anxieties as a useless fuel; I devour them and they devour me- I burn white hot, then collapse in my own ashes.

I overshare, and that was just the rattling exhale of a bad, bad hour squeezed to the exact density of loathing. This, though, is about the dark pleasure of being understood.

***

Oversharing feels great.

There’s a joy of take of purging jagged insanity to something mockingly meticulous. Suddenly swirling thoughts live neat on screens; there’s a power in forcing your screams and fears to be held accountable to language, to shove your deepest fears between punctuation like two slices of bread. Sharing it even carries a touch of misplaced spite; if I’m feeling this crazy then, fuck it, you should too. Let my sentences snarl and twist you along, for once. Misery loves company, and it’s an eager host: it gets theatrical, indulgent, overblown.

There’s a fraction of artistry in that too. I overshare, sure; that’s what writing should do, right? The new writing should stick like syrup and stain the mind.

That’s not the point though. The more interesting question is why am I- and so many others- are compelled to share.

It’s because we can.

That’s it; we can. Possibility changes you and vague “I would never” theories dissolve under the very real opportunity to be heard. To paraphrase Nietzsche, a more famous over-sharer than I, I have often laughed at the weaklings who thought themselves good because they had no blogs.

With the internet, we can share. And we do.

Why wouldn’t we? In the internet, we are all poured into a collective pit. The most brilliant and depraved minds exist side-by-side, and all voices need to drift further and further for attention. Moderation is a vice here. Instinct and truth emerge unfettered by shame or dignity. Who can hear you when the whole world is yelling too? And, frankly, who is so uniquely embarrassing that their humiliations would render even the sound of a pin dropping in the public mind?

The internet is anonymity, even as we seek attention. The sheer size and volume of it promises a blanket of white noise that will surround our thoughts like bubble wrap. Even as we seek notice and attention, we are promised a sort of stability by the internet. No matter how dramatic we feel, our thoughts and desperations, when cast on the internet, can drift away into that infinite canvas.

And so, for those who don’t understand, I’ll summarize like this: over-sharing is fulfilling in multiple ways.

First, you get to wrestle your own fears into something you can defeat. What was once water that drowned you is a wave you can ride; crashing, yes, scary, sure, but it has form, it has shape, and now, just now, you’re on top

You let that carry you, and you shut your computer. And then, days later, when you cool your lava to stone, you go back chisel it. There’s a meditative calm to the process. Huh, you think, eating a scone on a sunny day. Should I really call myself a gutless chucklefuck? Like, do I really need to specify what kind of chucklefuck I am? Are there really that many types of chucklefuck to go around?

Reading your words again, you get the dignity of distance. You have survived. The mood has not.

And then you send it.

That’s the last step, the one that divides the over-sharers from the could’ve-beens. Because that last step is about forging a fact from a feeling. It’s about letting it be known, delivered, and sent out into the infinite river of the internet. Unsent, deleted, it will return to you. In order to cast it out, you need a receipt. If you are to expel it, that darkness needs a home; you cannot simply swallow it back again.

***

Maybe this was was a little personal. A little maudlin, self-pitying or any other Millennial Trait. But it was mine, it was real, and now, with an exhale, it’s free. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Shutterstock

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