Too much information
Is it possible to be too honest? Spoiler: Yes.
“Two years ago, I bought a set of butt plugs,” I said into the microphone, tossing a bucket of ice on what was a hot crowd.
“They give you three. You got the little one, which is like half a poop. You’re like, Hey, no problem, I’ll be able to conquer that in the first week.”
“The second one is a little more of a challenge. You’re thinking, OK, that’s like a Thanksgiving poop. I’m gonna have to work my way up to that one.”
“The third one— it’s like the size of a summer sausage,” I said, demonstrating the circumference with my thumb and index finger. “You’re thinking, there’s no way.”
“Well last week, I took about four Delta-8 edibles and found out— where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
Is there a such thing as too much information?
Is there some agreed-upon line that you’re not supposed to cross? And if so, why didn’t anyone tell me?
Why am I like this? Why do I share EVERYTHING about my life?
Am I just a narcissist? Is this, like, a masochist thing? Do I derive some sort of weird pleasure from it?
If I’m being honest— yeah, but not in the way you’re thinking. I just think it’s funny. I enjoy making people uncomfortable. Maybe not in the moment, but if you zoom out far enough, telling a room full of strangers about your butt plug collection is pretty high art. That bit was like a proton torpedo aimed at people’s latent homophobia, entering the exhaust port and blowing up the entire Death Star. People are not as open-minded as they think they are— and I find it particularly amusing. It was a good bit, it just wasn’t funny to anyone but me.
Just like the time I wore a suit of meat on stage (I superglued a bunch of Dollar Store ham to a Goodwill sports jacket— I also had pepperoni buttons and a meat holster), or that joke when I ask the crowd if they’ve ever had gay thoughts about the troops.
“I don’t think it’s right to kneel for the National Anthem. Unless you’re on both knees taking a hot load of freedom in the back of the throat… In which case, thank you for your service,” and then I’d salute the crowd. They hated me in Beloit.
I believe in radical honesty, which is a great way to structure your life if you’re focused on personal growth. Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to honesty. I’ve been writing this way since I was 19, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about telling the truth— it’s that people don’t like it.
When people talk openly and honestly about their lives on the internet, they tend to get a lot of comments like:
“Tell it to your therapist.”
“Too much information.”
In a previous version of this article, I was going to make the argument, “Look at me, I’m brave, I’m telling the truth,” but the truth about the truth is— nobody wants to hear your truth. They want to hear their truth repeated back to them. Honesty is not a recipe for success.
Paralysis by psychoanalysis: A Truman Show nightmare
When I’m in a good headspace and writing stuff that makes me happy, I have no problem opening the horseshit faucet and making it rain. The problem is, I’m not in a good headspace right now and I’m just writing the same sad article over and over again.
I’ve trapped myself in this Truman Show nightmare— where every decision I make is run through the filter of: What am I gonna say about this later? Every negative experience gets hyper-analyzed. I’m trapped in a prison of my own deconstruction. It’s paralysis by psychoanalysis.
It did teach me an important lesson, though.
Trauma isn’t something that should be processed on a public forum.
You’ll go through a lot of ugly phases, and you might not want those versions of yourself to exist on the internet after you’ve grown past them.
This may seem like pretty obvious advice, but you have to keep in mind that I’m genuinely retarded. I thought being honest was the right thing to do. I feel like Kanye in the song Ghost Town:
I’ve been trying…
to make you love me…
but everything I try…
just takes you further from me.
I’ve been playing a dangerous game and honestly, I’m all dangered out right now. You know that feeling when you’ve spent all day at 6 Flags? That’s how I feel after writing about my sad life for a year. I’m very sunburned and I have to poop.
I’m torn, because I don’t want to stop writing. I don’t even want to stop writing about myself, but I just need to get out of my head for a bit. I’ve spent 30 years searching and still have no answers. I’m beginning to think I’m looking in the wrong place.
Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit
I picked up a copy of Steven Pressfield’s “Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t.” It felt appropriate given my current predicament. I stumbled upon a passage that really crystallized my entire situation.
“I knew I wasn’t really writing…
What was I doing?
I was using the act of writing (I should say the sham or simulacrum of writing) as a pretense to plant my own ego on the planet so that I could believe I really existed.
Have you ever taken a selfie? That was it. That was what I was doing. It was like what people do today on Facebook and Instagram.
I was the hero of the books I was writing. I was the protagonist. I was the point of view. Everything happened to me.
I knew this was bullshit. I knew it was sick, it was sad, it was pathetic. I knew I had to get past it. I had to get over this hump or kill myself.
What was the hump?
One way to define it would be to say it was the watershed between the amateur and the professional. But that doesn't go deep enough.
A real writer (or artist or entrepreneur) has something to give. She has lived enough and suffered enough and thought deeply enough about her experience to be able to process it into something that is of value to others, even if only as entertainment.
A fake writer (or artist or entrepreneur) is just trying to draw attention to himself. The word "fake" may be too unkind. Let's say "young" or "evolving."
That was the hump.
To get over it, the candidate must grow up. A change has to happen at the cellular level.”
— p. 50-51
Fuck, he’s literally describing me
You know what? My articles do kinda suck. But rather than admitting that to myself and changing my approach, my unconscious was trying to reframe the problem in a way that was easier on my ego. PEOPLE JUST CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH. God, I’m a tool.
I’m giving people too much information, just not in the way I thought when I started this article. People can handle a little butt play, it’s the 3,800 words of edible-induced rambling— that’s too much information.
I felt mortified listening back to “becoming strange,” the article I’ve been sending to potential employers as an example of my best work. Now that I’m reading from an emotional distance, I have some critiques.
It’s too long and fails to focus on a single topic. There’s a lot of fat on these paragraphs— tangents that slow down the momentum.
It’s a perfect example of telling, not showing. This article reminded me how much that sucks.
It would’ve benefited from a couple more edits, looking to trim the fat on anything that didn’t fit the theme.
Now I see it, clear as day. Proof once again, that the only cure for my retardation is time.
I’m still proud of the work I did. I still identify with the messages of those articles, but I’ve learned much more from the sloppiness. Hopefully you can, too.
That’s kind of the point of giving you “too much information.” All I have to do is exist and I’ll eventually do something very stupid and interesting and I’ll be able to learn from it. Now, I just have to figure out how to package those lessons in a way that’s more accessible to the average person. I have to, as Pressfield urges, “become professional.”
But I shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. I can’t lose the subtle kiss of autism and lack of shame that created such wonders as accidentally pissing my pants at work because my dick’s too small. My stupid life is too rich and precious of a source material to waste. There’s a level of charm to my amateurism.
I don’t need to become strange, I already am. Now, I have to become professionally strange. I have to escape this narcissistic island of mirrors, climb the staircase in the sky and deliver my final line:
“In case I don’t see ya— good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight!”
Tl;dr: From now on, less self-indulgent stuff, more jokes.