Whenever anyone leans into a conversation and says,'this is probably too much information,' or, 'can I tell you something gross?' ...or even, 'I've never told anyone this before...'
...in that instant I am GIDDY with happiness. Yes. Yes you CAN tell me. Immediately. I do not judge you, my friend.
I am probably guilty of TMI. Ask me anything, I will tell you. I regularly share things on Twitter about my health, my unlucky love life, my bad hair days, the things that have fascinated / bothered / pleased me that day. I am fine - just f i n e - having normal voiced conversations on buses, whilst I watch some of my friends drop their voice to a whisper or communicate in morse code so no one hears. I guess I just didn't get the embarrassment gene. It's not like I'm carrying a loud speaker everywhere I go, or being disruptive, and I appreciate that there is a time and a place for things, it's simply that I like hearing about people and I'm fine telling people about me. I actively want to know the things people feel they should hide. I like it when the "mask" falls, and we realise that we are all as flawed, embarrassing or even disgusting as each other.
Growing up is a process which sees us restrict ourselves from openness to embarrassment. We grow from being a child, swimming naked, sharing baths, playing in the playground with kids we have just met, eating with our hands, farting when it takes our fancy...to reserved adults who desperately try to hide their own human-ness. It's unacceptable to discuss health issues, painful periods, weird lumps, trapped gas, painful eczema. It's not like I want everyone to be gross and walk around naked all day long...but haven't we all got a little bit too uptight?
One of my favourite ever people told me about an unbearably uncomfortable bout of thrush that led to a midnight dash to Tesco for some live yoghurt, about three weeks into our friendship. The detail was graphic, funny, sympathy-making and 100% made me like her more. It represented a kind of trust in our friendship, and me, that felt bigger than just telling me she had crotch rot. The comforting acknowledgment of, 'hey, I'm human and sometimes gross.' But we all are and it's ok.
Maybe it's because in this new social media, digital, internet world there seems to be increasing amounts of distance between us all. Studies are showing that a greater number of us are unmarried and living alone than ever before. People on Twitter or Facebook are often muted or unfollowed if they complain about loneliness, ill health, negativity. One lady I follow confessed to being unfollowed when she was tweeting about her sadness over the recent death of her father. This weird censorship or avoidance to look at something real and imperfect seems to be penetrating life more and more. And it's just kind of stupid, IMHO. I believe in the truth of 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. It's not necessarily numerically accurate, but by and large sharing is caring, often funny and cathartic for both people in the conversation.
So I want to say, that in this filtered, photoshopped 'un'reality of 2015, Too Much Information is just the exact amount of information I want, thank you very much.