Volume Twenty-Three: “Shut the eff up!”

Posted on 03/02/2010

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Ok. Sooooooo I’m still receiving reverberations from my Volume 21 post. The feedback has been mixed, with a 50/50 split between those that thought it was good/nice to hear/been through it; and those that thought it was cruel/didn’t want to hear it/wondered if it was me? (as if). The responses got me to think about things from a different perspective. I began to have a stream of consciousness approach to my letter and asked the question, How much information is too much information (TMI) when it applies to relationships? I know, I know, we live in the “information age” where we seek and receive as much information as possible. For example, we learned about eight years of Tiger-trysts in less than two weeks. Our populace is a sponge that wants every intricate detail; however, that only seems to apply when it comes to other people’s info.

In our romantic dealings, we claim that we want honesty from our mate. But, how much is too much? I mean, fellas, do we really want to know how many partners our mate has had over the years? And ladies, do you really want to know what he thinks about your friends, your family, your love making? Where’s the line when it comes to full disclosure? And, if we do provide full disclosure, are we prepared for the consequences of that disclosure? Consequence is an ironic concept in American culture – especially today. We claim to want “freedom of expression” but what we really want is freedom of expression without consequences. We forget that every time we “express” ourselves, our expression has an impact on the person to whom we are expressing. Regardless of the intent of what we say, the impact is just as (or more) important. I laugh when I see examples of the freedom from consequences displayed in society. In those instances I just chuckle to myself, “Shut the eff up!”

Full Disclosure: What’s the Point?

Who are you serving by telling all about yourself? You or the person you’re telling? In my life as a counselor, I learned about the Twelve-Step Program and its principles. I even read the Blue book which contains the origin of the 12 steps. Step number 5 says, “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” What purpose does “telling another human being” serve? I can understand (somewhat), in an addiction/recovery sense, how full disclosure is helpful; but, in personal relationships? You have to be honest with your partner, yes, but when do you cross the line into TMI? Frankly, when do you need to shut the eff up?

When we fully disclose, we tell more about ourselves than we truly intend (there’s that word again) to. We are saying to our partner, “It’s more important to me that I say this, than it may be to you, or the impact of what I’m saying.” How can full disclosure be helpful in that instance? Yes, if you’re caught in a compromising situation that requires full disclosure to help ease the tension caused then, by all means, disclose; but why else do it? I’m being serious. Sometimes mystery can be exciting. And, by not confirming how experienced, nasty, immature, socially inept, or narcissistic we are, we may be preserving an otherwise good relationship. However, once we tell all about our past, the impact of what we reveal may be overwhelming to our partner; thereby, changing their opinion of us and killing a good relationship. How much easier would it have been to just shut the eff up?

Conclusion

I’m not gonna toe the line of marginality here. I’m drawing the line in the sand. I believe in a shut the eff up! philosophy when it comes to relationships. Again, knowing your truth does not mean that you have to tell how you came to your truth. Those two are mutually exclusive. Consider your life to be like the movie Pulp Fiction: Start with the end, and work your way backwards through the significant highlights that connect the plot. Also, have a discussion with your partner about what information they do and don’t want to know. Don’t assume anything. Again, I’m an advocate for knowing your personal truth. In fact, that’s the name of my upcoming book. At the same time, your truth is just that: Yours. Keep it. Otherwise, I won’t be the last person telling you to shut the eff up!

That’s just my three cents…

Sill-E

“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”

Next Week: Black men, White women: Trend or Taboo?

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