Tuesday “Tip”

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my “Chinese astrological” horoscope for this year; I won’t “indulge” you with which “sign” I fall under, but my memory keeps reminding me that this year I am supposed to find “career success” in one form or another – that is, as long as I keep “my cards” fairly close to my chest. It’s an interesting thing to think about – the dichotomy that exists between being open and seen as being “honest,” “enthusiastic,” and “straightforward” to others and being seen as just a total nut case. We seem to champion the former “openness” – especially in this age of “social media” – but the truth is that there IS an unspoken “limit” regarding how much “sharing” constitutes “too much” because people who DO say too much are viewed in the exact opposite light – that is, we regard people who are “too open” as “untrustworthy,” “dishonest,” and worst of all plain ol’ crazy! As someone who has faced over a decade of severe chronic illness, I often find myself in something of a “bind” when it comes to sharing information about my life with others. As I have mentioned here many times before, I have lost most of my friends due to the ramifications of chronic illness (I cannot necessarily attribute the callous attitudes of others to completely objective ailments, but I don’t really know a better way to phrase that), and I often find that I don’t have “someone” with whom I can share times of feeling intense emotions such as extreme anger (I’m coming back to that one!), sadness, and resentment. As a result, I, like many other people “my age” and many people quite a bit younger than I am, tend to “overshare” very personal information and thoughts on social media, often unconsciously seeking that “you have been heard” feeling that really lies under almost everything we do (in other words, we all just want not only to be HEARD by others but we want to feel UNDERSTOOD by others; chronic illness often not only isolates us but makes us feel like even communicating the most basic information requires the equivalent of “Internet screaming.”).

I have been thinking a lot about this “problem” and where the “happy medium” lies lately for a number of reasons, the least of which is the aforementioned astrological “fortune” I seem to hold. Of course one has to consider “how much is too much?:” when it comes to discussing personal matters when writing a “blog” like this – the idea behind creating this blog (and going back in time, my YouTube channel) is and was to convey my thoughts and feelings on my life experiences as a person who has severe chronic illness / disability and to provide something of a “safe haven” for others who suffer from similar issues (or other issues that are also severe) so that we can all “share” our experiences and the many trials and tribulations we have faced and continue to face and how all of those things have shaped us into the people we are and how those things have changed the way we perceive others around us as well as the world as a whole. It is a very difficult “area” to attempt to navigate – I have made something of an “interim” deal with myself that I am actually going to go back through my posts here and then social media and delete what I consider to be “extraneous” information – that is, information that others might consider to be “too much” information. This whole idea was actually brought to my attention by one of the few friends who HAS NOT left me in the dust during this “decade of illness;” perhaps it is because he has struggled with very severe issues of his own. Whatever the reason, I sincerely appreciate the friendship and I sincerely appreciate the fact that I have said “too much” in the past being brought more or less “objectively” to my attention by this individual.

I have also been “slapped in the face” by my own “openness” thanks to the “reintroduction” of an acquaintance by one of my new friends (something I have discussed in earlier posts). I am not sure if the person about whom I am talking is aware of his or her manipulation or if his or her actions are based in substance “abuse” (I can say that fairly because although I have NEVER been ABLE to be clinically classified as an “addict,” I have been DEPENDENT on prescription opioids due to the severe pain that comes with my conditions and I KNOW that just being on these types of medications does put you in a very shaky and questionable “state of mind.” I know there were many times during which I was taking these medications many years ago in which I was just “out of my mind;” that is, I just didn’t think about things that happened or that mattered and if I did think about them the compassion I normally have was essentially erased and I believe the meds very much made me “not care.”). I am also not sure if this person is just plain ol’ crazy. Whatever the “underlying cause,” I have noticed that he or she DOES “overshare” to the point where others – both friends and relative strangers – comment that this person is just wack-a-doodley. I realized that I sometimes also fall into this pattern of behavior, despite being in my “right mind.” I do fall “victim” to the aforementioned “problem” of needing validation of what I think and how I feel due to the lack of friends “from” chronic illness; I also am the type of person who is “naturally” open (it’s actually a defense mechanism I developed in my adolescent and teenage years – I WILL most certainly discuss that at length later as well!) and who just tends to get really excited about things. When I get this “super excited” kind of feeling (it’s almost like the burst of energy I look for that rarely comes … I’m sure those of you with chronic illness or chronic pain know what I mean when I say that!) I just want to share it all with everyone! However, as I have mentioned here now several times, there is a point at which “sharing it all” is “sharing way too much;” people might be interested in you and your story and in HOW you manage to get through it all … but at the same time, people like the air of “mystery” that surrounds others – it is certainly an attractive force between men and women in both platonic and romantic senses. I need to find the right “balance” between sharing what I experience and what I have been through and how all of these factors shape who I am and what I believe (and furthermore, how I can use that “education” to help others who are struggling with similar issues) and between sharing just too damn much. I do not want to be the equivalent of this person who says too much to just about everyone; I know he or she desperately needs the attention for at least one major reason, but we have to learn to pull back, to hold our cards closer to our chests. I do not want to lose my reputation as being someone who is “honest” and “open” and “trustworthy” by saying TOO MUCH; at the very most, I want to be considered as a person who is just marginally eccentric.

So my “tip” this Tuesday is to do what I am starting to do – share ONLY WHAT YOU NEED TO SHARE with the world – hold everything else a little closer to your heart. If others come to you seeking to learn more about you, you can start to let them in a little bit at a time. But there cannot be interest in someone about whom you believe you know everything; there cannot be trust between people when one party is known to “tell it all.” I hope I will find my “success” by continually working on the projects I am working on (including this!) and I will keep the idea of NOT “OVERSHARING” in the back of my conscious mind at all times. I hope you can find success in all areas of your life by doing this as well. As I mentioned before, I also do want to go back and take out some of the more “personal” information I have shared in various “locations;” I realize none of it can ever be completely “undone,” but I can start from here and just move on. I don’t want to be thought of as the crazy who yaps about everything and everyone – I am many things, but that is not “ME.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world! Keep your private life as private as you can without sacrificing the feeling of being heard and understood. I do believe we can all get to better places in all areas of our lives if we follow that advice. For now, I do, adieu; and please remember my heart is ALWAYS with YOU….

❤ Always, Beth

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