I recently read a quote that said, “Being a writer means having a story you want the whole world to read, except everyone who knows you” (A. Pennington). I burst out laughing, resonating with this sentence and knowing the truth in it. My mind immediately went to the odd reaction I give when people ask about my writing, how I deny that they’re talking to the right person. Blog? Writing? Articles? No, no, no. That’s not me. The person you’re looking for is the one who can share personal experiences, stories, and thoughts, and you know, has a sense of humor. That’s not me, sorry.
Awkward is an understatement of how I act in group settings or in any physical setting that requires my sharing of information (the irony of writing blog articles about the thoughts in my head and personal experiences does not escape me). Yet there it is. An emphasis on my belief that life would be so much simpler if we could type as fast as we speak and therefore share written words instead of spoken words. There’s a luxury in being able to read over something before sending it; a moment to ponder about the right words chosen or the idealism in being able to fix communication before it’s broken.
But we live on Earth, in this place called the real world where sharing through spoken word and being relatable is needed to create relationships and bonds and, you know, communities and societies and places we, humans, thrive in.
Exasperated by needing to integrate myself back into a world that is no longer enthused at being introverted, I questioned a friend on the need and asked her to provide me with the “Why“. Because let’s be honest, I wasn’t about to figure it out for myself. Holding back laughter, she told me, “You need to share so you’re more relatable. And stop rolling your eyes at me.” My response? I went to play with the babies, the ones that didn’t care if I was relatable or not.
She had a point though. Well, two. My eye-rolling is out of control and being relatable is important. Not the let’s-pretend-like-we-care-about-things-when-we-don’t kind of relatable (just thinking of this made me take a nap from exhaustion), but the genuine, “Hey! I know what you’re talking about, I went through something similar” kind of relatable.
What stops this from happening?
The worrying if people are really interested or if they truly listen attentively or if their caring is sincere is part of what prevents sharing from taking place, but this is just an excuse. How can there be truth here if it’s not tested? Then there’s the bigger question of the point of no return between TMI (too much information) and NEI (not enough information). Too much can make it uncomfortable, too little can make it more awkward, and nothing at all makes one completely invisible.
Maybe the starting point, after working on the eye-rolling, is to get into the uncomfortable spaces and conversations, to go from one extreme to the next and find a place that works. Because the only true way to be relatable is to be real, and that comes with all the awkward and the uncomfortable–and perhaps an eye-roll or two.