Monday, December 8, 2014

Everything is Awesome!: "Over-sharing" and "Vulnerability"

Now that I've been doing this blog for a few months, I've had time to think about what I'm trying to do here and how it's received. I don't spend a lot of time on the latter, actually, although the readers of this blog are my number one muse. They're always the foundation of every post I write, because I want people to laugh, think, and feel a range of emotions, even discomfort, with what they read here. I want people to feel like they are not alone in a silo when they read about a difficult subject or an element of life stress, and it's why I always solicit ideas from people for topics to write about. 

But I write every day because it's cathartic and good exercise for my mind, not because I want people to read every word I write, and certainly not because I want them to reach any particular conclusions about me. I don't want to curate my life in that way: by showing only the sunny side of my face to the world and pretending that life is like the Lego movie where "Everything is Awesome." Many things ARE awesome, of course. But many things aren't. And that's just life.  

James Altucher wrote an interesting essay (link below) called "When Is It 'Over-sharing' And When Is It 'Being Vulnerable?'" Altucher's basic thesis (I think) is that over-sharing is in the eye of the beholder, and creative vulnerability is a good thing. Toward the end he writes: "I don't know what over-sharing is. I just know what I do now." He adds: "And I know that never being creative is a bad thing. When you're creative you reach out and try to hug the universe. When you are not creative, you spin and spin and spin inside your head. How much fun is that?" He also makes the very astute observation that "happiness is metabolized quickly." Often, something that makes you happy is over as quickly as it arrives, and you're in search of the next thing that will bring happiness. I agree with him.

I've found that when I make myself "vulnerable" by "over-sharing"-- even at the risk of offending people, making them uncomfortable, or being misunderstood--I make myself known in a real way. People confide in me, and in turn I learn something new about them and the world. This approach is not for everyone, but it works for me. It broadens my universe, and to me, it's worth the risk of exposure. Driving into work, a Top 40 song came on the radio. It's called "Secrets." The chorus is "I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are." Well, I would never go quite that far. But I do know that sowing real reaps real. And reality is a bountiful, nutritious crop for the soul.

Final pitch along these same lines for Juneau folks: tomorrow I'll be making my second appearance at Juneau's awesome charity story-telling event, Mudrooms, with six other story tellers and music. This month's theme is "Accidents Happen." $7.00 cash at the door of Northern Lights Church in the flats, at 7 p.m., and proceeds go to SAIL and the AWARE shelter. Mine is not a funny story this time, but it is real. And that's never a bad thing . . . right?

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