T.M.I. Right? The new way to say that is overshare. It keeps popping up around me. I was at the Avett Brothers’ concert the other night, and sure enough, Scott told a story about possibly being conceived in Alaska and his brother Seth’s response was, “Overshare.” Not really a bold overshare, but according to Seth’s brother, it was considered family information that he was willing to put out there to a bunch of strangers. What strikes me is the quality and boldness behind a chosen overshare.
Sometimes, that is really what we want from people-an overshare. Right up front. I wish I had enough guts to do this every day, maybe even with every person within my day. How cool would it be if I could get up, and just decide to be open, and actually follow through with that challenge. But do I want to do that? Do I have the patience to listen to everyone else doing that?
The thing is is that with information comes emotions, vulnerability, honesty and then we get stuck in this world with the other person that we aren’t always ready for. I suppose that might be the point-to find someone, or others, that you are actually comfortable with revealing your overshares. Someone that actually doesn’t mind them, and all of the baggage that goes along with them. The good. The ugly. Reality.
I just realized a few years ago, post divorce, that I’m a private person. It isn’t that it wasn’t obvious in the family because we are very strong-minded, independent people who try very hard not to rely on others for emotional stability or problem solving. It was just not something I used to describe myself because Hilgers are extroverts, loud, entertaining folks; we thrive on the energy of the social circle while also nourishing our independence in solitude. Maybe I just didn’t want to accept it. But after my divorce, everyone wanted me to talk about it or try to explain it and when I couldn’t fulfill those requests, I noticed that I didn’t really want to either. How do you explain a divorce to someone else, especially someone who hasn’t been through one? Why is it any of their business? The defensive side of me would always say that talking about it really doesn’t help. I still feel that way. It’s impossible to explain and nothing you can say really gets to the point or helps it. It is still what it is. It can’t be erased and I felt like people were trying to do counseling sessions with me, but why? I’m sure there is part of people who have this need to help their close family or friends-sure, I get that. But in the end, it truly is about how a person copes with their shit in the privacy of their own being-that is what makes people better, and for me, talking about the divorce simply perpetuated the truth that no amount of talking about it was going to bring me to the next stage of understanding it.
My mother said it best: Divorce is just like experiencing a death. That person has died, according to you-the person you married no longer exists, and has turned into someone else. When she said it to me, it probably took me years to process what that actually meant and it wasn’t that I didn’t agree; it was that I had never really experienced a traumatic death. I still haven’t-I’ve lost both my grandmas, and while I miss them terribly, I don’t think those were very emotional for me. My divorce sure was though; I went through all of the stages that experts plot on graphs and charts about what people go through after a divorce. There were days I didn’t get out of bed. But, I’m o.k. now. That doesn’t mean I can explain it. That information is for me to know and for me to try to live with. Me alone.
So my privacy is now something that I really recognize and accept about myself. When people are bold enough to say something private, whether it’s in a crowd or group that they aren’t necessarily close with or someone they are super close with, I totally recognize it as a bold achievement each and every time. People who can open themselves up with ease are admirable because they lack hesitation. The honesty is just so easy to grasp from them and it’s refreshing.
For me, giving part of my private life to someone else, face-to-face, in that moment, is a beautiful thing that I don’t take lightly. And when it happens, I know that that person is someone I care about a lot. As I get older, I’m noticing too that I am trying to be more comfortable with sharing, but it is still a gut slap for me. I want so terribly to have all the answers on my own; I typically don’t share until I’m ready to reveal all of the processing and reflection that I’ve undergone with that subject. Or, just when the mood strikes, which is rare. I want the person to know that I’m not sharing to seek help; I’m sharing because I’m ready for them to know about that piece of myself. I’m opening that door to vulnerability and I love them more for being there at the right time.
The funny thing is is that people love to share with me. I have good friends who trust me. I think people see me as a loyal friend who is reliable and accepting. Even though there isn’t a whole lot of oversharing trades going on, people continue to speak to me about their private lives, and what it all means to them. They do it because they enjoy it, need it….I’m not going to speak for them. The beauty of my close family and friends oversharing with me is that I’m the one learning. Healing. Processing. From them.
Maybe this is an overshare. Maybe I am using technology to pay tribute to the beauty of that term, and just now, I was ready to open myself up to the world. Just for a moment. Albeit, I’m on a computer, but it happened.
And I’m o.k. with that. It feels good.