Remember when Robin Williams died, and everyone on Facebook and Twitter became an expert on depression, because they “struggled with depression”, and they tried to kill themselves that one time?
Ok it wasn’t everyone, but it was enough people to give me pause. In my mind I thought, “That’s some serious shit, and you’re sharing it so matter-of-factly that I don’t know how to process this.”
Seriously though, did you talk to someone? A counselor, a pastor, a therapist? Do we need to talk? Shoot, I don’t know you that well though. No, wait, don’t shoot!
Ok, depression is no joke, and suicide is no joke, but you just threw it out there like everything’s ok now. Are you sure? I care about you, and I value your life. I wanna help, but I just don’t know how…Is depression really that common?
I’ve been on social media since 2004. That’s when I got my first live journal. I signed up for MySpace a year later, and I remember back then it was still ok for us high school guys to share photos of our shirtless selves and our six packs on the internet.
They say once something’s on the internet, it’s on the internet forever. I think I deleted that photo before that saying was true. It was the wild west back then. But then kids these days are sexting. Were we actually that wild in comparison? They say the last person electable as President of the United States was born in 1986.
If I share a shirtless photo of myself to highlight the effectiveness of my workout, post marriage, is that ok? It’s not 2004, and I’m not doing it to “get girls” as it were… But I do recognize that shirtless-me is at least an order of magnitude more clickbait than shirted-me.
Oversharing, I get it though
We all want to know, and to be known. There are things that we as humans just don’t talk about enough, and we probably should. Things that are plain as day, but get swept under the rug. Maybe it’s how no one ever completely told you about sex until Sex Ed and you stumbled around aimlessly for years.
From the age of 5 till about 10 I was convinced that kissing a girl could get her pregnant. And then I kissed a girl anyways, cause she asked, and I got in trouble for it, because she told her mom it was my idea. No tongue though. Tongues were where babies came from.
Except for that one time there was tongue. Not my idea either. Different girl. She was older than me. That was a stressful day. No lie. Swore off kissing till the age of 18.
Kiss a girl once. On the cheek. She tells everyone. Leaves out the part where she kisses you back. Get reputation as bad-boy renegade girl-kisser. Girls tease you in front of their friends. Once their friends are gone, they try to kiss you, cause you’re a bad-boy. True story.
My kindergarten teacher is looking for my mugshot on TV. I guarantee it. There’s no way she could’ve known I’d chill out. Jesus saves.
Maybe its how we’re taught that if you look a certain way, you must be a certain way. As I learned in NH, “She’s got those tattoos for a reason” as a method of picking out a girl who’s more likely to have no-strings-attached sex with you. True story. Well not that it’s happened to me. True story that I overheard a guy mention the “tattoo check”. Is it true that a woman’s openness to sex is proportionate to the amount of a tattoos on her body? It’s implied that it’s a logarithmic scale.
“Penguins are black and white. Some old TV shows are black and white. Therefore some penguins are old TV shows.”1
We don’t want the tattoo check to be true, so we share and share to see if it is. By we I mean feminists. Just because you’re black and white doesn’t make you a penguin, but penguins are black and white. Right? Somebody wants to be an exception to the rule. Is it rude to insinuate that there are rules?
Maybe it’s how in Japan there are words for “The way the world seems” and “The way the world really is”, but I don’t remember the words because I only watched the movie Emperor once and I don’t speak Japanese. Japan’s a good example. Very outwardly conservative, but if you want to buy a sex doll, that’s the country that makes them. How would I even know that? CNN.
Maybe it’s how Watergate was real, and Nixon really was a crook. How Bill Clinton really did have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Monica Lewinsky. Maybe it’s how the government doesn’t exactly have a great track record of honesty, but continues to insist that it’s above reproach.
Maybe it’s the hope that your sharing will be perceived as brave and endearing, but the fear that it’s nothing more than post-modern millennial narcissism.
We all just want to know how the world really is.
How far does it go?
Religion? Politics? A long time ago I said that I’d written a couple dozen more blogs than I’d actually published. Today that number is exactly at two-score. “Draft day, Johnny Manziel.”2
It’s because I don’t want to be in danger of oversharing. Politics and religion offend people, and there’s this balance that needs to be had.
Science offends people. There’s a great many people I associate with that might be offended by science. There’s a great many more that won’t but I’m not friends with enough of them…yet.
It’s like how I met that guy once at a Bible study that said, “Actually, humans are devolving, because every time you reproduce you lose a bit of genetic information.” The people all nod in agreement like they just learned something new.
“That’s not what happens is it? I could’ve sworn I learned in BIO 187 that we have 23 pairs of chromosomes…2 copies of each gene, one set from your mom, and the other from your dad, for 46 total. Sometimes you inherit a bad copy of a gene, due to a mutation a long time ago, but you have two copies, so your body uses the good copy. That makes you a carrier of a genetic disease, but you don’t actually express the disease unless you have two bad copies, one from each parent. During spermatogenesis – wow I still remember that word – during that, meiosis happens, twice, and the genes separate and then recombine and sometimes crossover happens during recombination, which results in some children having slightly different chromosome sequences than the contributing parent. One diploid cell doubles in size, and then divides into four haploid cells. That’s what actually happens, more or less right?”
Does he think the loss of 50% of information from one parent being replaced by a gain of 50% of information from the other parent is a net loss of information? Who told him this?
Don’t say anything. You’re new here. Just…just don’t come back.
Do you realize that if you like something on Facebook all your friends see it? “No one wants to see your dirty likes.” Haha! I borrowed that. You know who you are.
And you, the one who who liked the thing about the CIA and remote viewing, or you, who liked the thing about FEMA and guillotines, and I judged you both for it. You know who you are.
Or you who retweeted that picture of Jen Selter. Ok, you get a pass.
I want to believe in telekinesis but I don’t. If you wanted to move a rock, how would you move it without touching it? What connection is there from your brain to that rock? If you close your eyes, and someone touches the rock, do you feel it? No connection, no movement. Do you know the x, y, and z coordinates of every atom of that rock in 3D space relative to your position? What unit of measure do you use? What if you made a mistake and moved a neutron out of place and caused a nuclear explosion? Can you explain the connection scientifically? If you can’t, how would you even know it’s there? How would you know to use such a connection, if you don’t know what it is and you can’t sense it? The prerequisite for telekinesis is omniscience. Neural nano-machines and tractor beams are not telekinesis.
Or you, how you only post about how much you hate Obama and I agree that he is a better winner than ruler, but for that to constitute 95% of your posts makes a good case for brain damage. Bring it down to 10%, that way you at least fool us into taking you seriously.
Subtlety is sexy.
Is there a chance that people will be able to identify themselves here? I need to make films.
I can make characters that are you
and you wouldn’t have a clue
What if your boss gets offended by something you write. What about your coworker? What if your boss is a Tory and loves it, but what if he’s Scottish National Party and hates it? What if that acquaintance you met the other day hates what you wrote and decides to keep you at arms length because of it?
There are areas I think Christians are completely and utterly and foolishly wrong about, to our own detriment, but do I blog about those? How do you tell Olaf that a summer at the beach will kill him?
Do you say out loud that blacks are equal to whites in the year of our Lord, 1858, and be hated by your own people, but knowing that everyone will love you 150 years later? Or do you tone it down and say, “I’m only anti-slavery, but Blacks are still monkeys,”3 and get that sweet sweet racist love from your constituents, and still have everyone love you 150 years later? Either way you get shot. Poor guy. God bless him though.
Are there consequences to what I write? Surely bringing up religion and politics would make me unelectable in the USA.
Taylor Swift will never be President.
But I don’t necessarily care about being electable in the USA. What if I’m applying for a new job and they come across my blog? Surely I think myself a good enough writer, but are my ideals unpalatable? Do people only laugh at your jokes as long as they’re directed at their enemies? Am I the only one who can laugh at myself?
I don’t have the ego I need, but the ego I deserve.
Do I blog about benign things like vacations I went on, and photos of waterfalls I took, and works of literature I read, and my hiking adventures with my Golden Retriever, so I can run for governor like ___________ in 2030 and win. Because you’d actually win if you did that. No one would actually know the real you, so you’d win – both friends and office.
Subtlety is sexy.
Tell the truth, and you lose the nomination. Tell the lie, and you become the next President. “I’m optimistic about America! We’re geniuses, so we can’t make mistakes. We’ll never run out of money. There’s no problem in the world that can’t be fixed with a bit of grit, spit, and good ‘ole common sense. Jobs jobs jobs. Something about jobs. Jobs for you, and you, and you. Jobs for everyone! We need to spy on you for your safety, we promise never to abuse our spying power, or use it to always keep ourselves in power. We’re not like those other governments that did that. We’re above reproach.” I like this guy, let’s make him our leader.
“Our foreign policy is unsustainable. History is cyclical. ‘Sorry Londinium, we need our Legions back.’ We have a window of opportunity to become a multi-planetary species, the first window in the 4.5 billion year history of planet earth.4 If something bad happens we may not get this chance ever again. An accreditation model of education is better than getting an expensive degree you never use, and a mountain of debt to follow you around. Degrees are mostly a waste of money if you’re not in a STEM field, but in a STEM economy. The Constitution exists. If you don’t like it, amend it. If you can’t amend it, follow it. We know the only reason it doesn’t get amended is because you wouldn’t be re-elected if it were.” This guy is crazy. Nominate the guy who promised us jobs.
The leaders we deserve.
Do I find another more socially acceptable medium to express myself metaphorically, like film?
I think I could get away with a lot in film. I think I have an urge to be known and understood, but at least film lets people come up with their own interpretations of your work.
“Do you feel in charge?”5
You can make up a character and make him an extension of yourself or someone else and no one would ever know for sure. Plus there’s always the movie premiere and the after party.
People love to party.
Are human beings not wired for oversharing? Why is it that women are more initially attracted to a man who doesn’t make his love known, but leaves a question as to whether it’s there at all?
Why aren’t their hearts and minds in alignment? Why did I have to pretend mine weren’t either?
That one girl, the girl that never was, she has no clue she was my green light across the bay, way way back in the day.
I sat across from you in that candle lit restaurant, telling you everything except what you couldn’t hear yet. What you will never hear.
“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”6
She’ll die not knowing the truth. Some things aren’t meant to be, no matter how cute the story, no matter how rain-soaked your suit is. Sweet Jesus.
“Maybe its how we’re taught that if you look a certain way, you must be a certain way.” Not true. It was all in my head. *feminist standing ovation*
And now you know why my wife hates The Great Gatsby. If confidence was money, I’d be Leonardo DiCaprio. But money is money, so I’m me.
“Gurl, don’t be mad at me, be mad at God. I didn’t even know you existed back then. If I could write my life, I’d have met you when I was _ years old.”
No, that’s too logical. Say something emotional.
“Might have been a time when I loved her too but you take that away and you’ve always been the one.”7
No. Say something honest.
The truth is, my past was my map to find you. If you erase the path, I never get here.
Subtlety is sexy.
I know that you can get away with so much more if you’re funny. But you can’t joke about everything. There has to be a few things that are sacred.
Don’t kill yourself. You’re not a policeman, and your life isn’t a black guy.
Ok, if it makes one depressed person laugh, it was worth it.
I found from many sources on the web that comedians are known for struggling with bouts of serious depression. Thinking back on some of the funniest people I know, I could sense that too. Especially those that are super funny, and really like to inebriate, or try to turn everything into a joke. That shows a forced coping mechanism.
Is that why black people are stereotypically known as funny? Is it because we’re so historically traumatized that we’re so funny?
I’m not even that funny compared to most of my black friends, but I’m the funniest person out of all my white friends pretty easily. Does that show some trauma?
I don’t feel traumatized. I’ve never struggled with depression. “But thou art he that took me out of the womb: Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.”8
“All sin is common to man.” I heard my pastor say something like this about two weeks ago. That it’d be eye opening if people had augmented-reality signs over their head that showed all their weirdness and their problems. You’d be able to look at it and say, “Wow, you’re just as sick as me…”
Am I funny because Nigeria is a bad place to live for 80% of the population, and there isn’t a single black nation in the entire world with nuclear weapons, and because of that dead body I saw on the highway on the way to Abuja when I was 14 – just lying there, no one coming to bury you – or those 300 kidnapped girls?
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”9
The Jews have nukes. The Jews airlifted their people back home. Respect. My kids will be Jewish, just barely. Maybe they can help me build nukes? Maybe they can help me bury that man on the freeway?
SOC stands for stream of consciousness. I liked it better than “Stream of Consciousness: Oversharing on the Internet”. Ironic though, because the risk of oversharing is much higher in a stream of consciousness than a carefully packaged and parceled written piece.
A stream of consciousness is the thoughts you think as you fall asleep. This time, I wrote them down.
Am I subtle enough for you?
Drake, Draft Day↩
(Comedic Paraphrase) Abraham Lincoln, Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858 (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, pp. 145-146.)↩
(Paraphrase) Elon Musk, speaking at MIT, 2014↩
Bane, The Dark Knight Rises↩
1 Corinthians 3:2↩
Drake, Make me Proud↩