Do you ever get that feeling where you have loads of things that you want to say, but you physically don’t know how to get the words out?
I had this one night this week. I was lying in bed worrying about something. In my head I had a full on monologue going on, I was ranting and raving in what felt like quite a reasonable and coherent way and yet when I tried to say out loud how I was feeling I just couldn’t – I couldn’t make my mouth open. It felt like there must be a loose connection somewhere between my brain and my tongue, a wiring malfunction.
“Brain to mouth, are you receiving me?”
Radio silence. Quite literally.
I wonder at times like this whether it’s your subconscious trying to tell you that actually sometimes it’s OK to just not let everything out, that there are some thoughts and feelings that it’s really alright just to have, without having to share them. Nowadays we are encouraged to share everything, warned that ‘suppressing’ emotions is ‘bad’, whilst blabbing about them to all and sundry is somehow better. While I agree that it isn’t good to bottle things up that are going to lead to resentment, or not tackle issues that need to be aired, I’m not convinced that this sharing culture hasn’t gone a little too far. Does that rant on Facebook about’some people’ really help to solve the problem? Wouldn’t you be better dealing with it privately and directly?
Fifty years ago we didn’t all feel the need to tell everyone everything we were feeling and yet the world didn’t stop turning. We acknowledged our feelings, or not in some cases, and got on with it. Perhaps this wasn’t such a bad state of affairs, especially given how many people nowadays find themselves on medication to deal with emotions that are often just the normal ups and downs of being human.
Interestingly, ‘overshare‘ was chosen by Chamber’s Dictionary as the word of the year this year, defined as “being unacceptably forthcoming with information about one’s personal life”.
The key word here for me is ‘unacceptably’ – what for some may feel totally normal may leave others feeling overwhelmed, offended even. Was Angie Jackon‘s live tweeting of her abortion for example a brave and thought-provoking way to raise awareness of the realities of terminating a pregnancy, or an example of something best kept tucked under the cyber-mattress?
I can’t help but wonder if there is another way. What did we all do before we had thousands of virtual friends to share the contents of our brains and our lunch boxes with? How do we process our thoughts without always inflicting them on others?
It may be hard to believe, but I actually keep most of my serious issues and thoughts away from the internet. Often when I feel overwhelmed by my internal monologue I write instead, on paper, with a pen. You know, like they did in the old days? Then I either throw the paper away or I keep it hidden away under my real life mattress.
The beauty of this sort of writing is that you can get the words out of your head but at the same time you keep them private; you have the feeling of having shared, but you are the only one who has had to listen. Blogging is great for musing, for starting conversations, Twitter handy for letting off a bit of steam sometimes, but let’s be honest, there are some things that the whole of cyberspace just doesn’t need to know.
Are you an oversharer? How much is too much?