Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On Sharing

I’m sitting at dinner the other night, having a perfectly good time. There’s a lull in the conversation and my mind wanders. I wonder, all in the span of twenty seconds, when the right time is to share certain things about yourself. When do you tell them your dog’s name or your favorite book? Do you tell them you hate chocolate? When is the right time to share that you’re about a week away from losing your first toe nail?

A monumental, disgusting fact of distance running, I suppose but nonetheless, a fact. I’m guessing you can really go quite some time without sharing this information and some people might never, but I’m a sharer. Not too much, too soon, but eventually, in any relationship, it’s where I find my comfort. It’s not so much what I’m sharing as the reassurance I find in disclosure. I keep and I keep and I keep and the times I can let a little go, well I adore those times.

That’s why I felt so great about my run the other day. Though I understand it’s just a small part of my life, I like to think that some things happen that have significance completely independent of any other force. It’s not true, but how else are things real? How else do we decide between good things and just mediocre? How does one occasion mean more than another? Is it because we choose to make it that way? I think so. And I think we do that by the way we choose to share it.

Which is where I find myself now; really having a lot to share and unsure of where to direct that energy. I’m well aware that a first date is not the time and place for toenail stories. I’m also aware that driving my friends and family crazy with disgusting stories is no wiser. But where does it all go? Well, it looks like right now it goes here, but how long will that work? It would be far more productive to have a place, I think. I’m also, however, aware of what’s under my control, and this isn’t.

I had a friend, that two days ago completed a 100 mile endurance race. His wife, was there for the twenty-eight plus hours and even paced him at the end for the last few miles. His words at the end? “There’s no one else I would want to share that with.” It meant a lot for him to finish, of course, but it meant more that his wife was there with him, to share.

I hear this over and over, that things mean more when you share them but I rarely have chosen to believe it. Sure it can make an experience deeper and more memorable, but it doesn’t make it worth more, does it? Well, turns out now I think maybe it does. Figures, the time this actually starts to resonate is when I realize I’m losing a toenail. How deep and meaningful is that? I know, it’s not. It’s just disgusting.


Sister Buckle said...

Yep, even though I'm regularly a big solitary head, I love telling people about my solitary time. So it's like I go it alone, but it doesn't mean what you do by yourself has to stay a secret. Even gross stuff - because it's rad and interesting. Take the toenail thing - how long did that take to recover? Such a little thing but hell painful.

I was in the car with my friend Oksana last night, and we were laughing that I had bought a book on the psychology of solitude and we had a great idea to read it together!

Dawn said...

I suppose that's the ultimate friendship/relationship...the one where we actually care to hear the mundane of someone else's life.

swimlappy said...

I always felt the bonding that occurs when an experience like that is share is what makes it deeper. I'm sure his level of trust and commitment in his wife went up a few notches because of that.

Btw, I've been reading your blog for the last week. Your funny!!

Dawn, where do you find such cool people? :)

Celina said...

Well, I probably would've left out hte "tonail thing" (I have SUCH an anti-foot thing), but I'm a sharer too! Fortunately, I work in a place where we can just sit around and chit chat without getting in trouble.
I usually keep the personal/gross stuff for hubby, mom, and best bud AJ.

Sizzle said...

i've lost a toenail. it is disgusting- and fascinating! sharing is important and we all need people with whom we safe enough to let ourselves eeek out bit by bit.

backofpack said...

I think losing a toe nail (in my case one full and three partials) is a badge of honor. You are losing them because you did something hard, something that many people will never do. Sharing it is sharing that feeling of accomplishement, sharing that you worked hard, you suffered and you persevered to the finish. It's sharing your elation and your pride in your self. And I agree, sharing is bonding - it builds trust, it lets someone know you - the real, mind-wandering, silly, deep and profound you.

Who knew I could get all that from a toe nail?

Danielle said...

Honestly, if you're on a first date with a runner, you could share the toenail story and they wouldn't see it as gross or weird or anything, so I'd say there is defintiely a time and place for it. I think you know they might be the right person when you know you can share that and they will understand!!

I don't think I believe that things are more meaninful because of the people there...well, at least they don't have to be a SO...my first marathon I had my parents and one of my best friends (and my parents dog, my "fuzzy brother") and I felt I had the right ones there. The most supportive people in my life who were there for me and always will be no matter what the deal (and sometimes request me to do something just because, like a 12K race my mom wants me to run cause it's near a casino, she said she'd come cheer me on...yeah, of course mom, wonder why!!)

justrun said...

SB- Isn't that funny? I guess it's a balance. Also, I imagine you and Oksana are hilarious together.

Dawn- I agree. It shouldn't all be bells and whistles.

Swimlappy- I agree. It's the humanness that makes us close. Thanks for visiting.

Celina- I agree, feet are gross. But I am very thankful for mine.

Sizzle- Isn't it gross? I won't go into detail but you wouldn't believe how this thing started!

BoP- You and I think SO much alike!

Danielle- I agree, the "right" people are usually there for the good stuff.

adam said...

Thank you for sharing.

This need to share stories is probably why I started my blog in the first place. Even if no one else is reading my blog, I get to say what I want to say and it can be cathartic. I guess the only reason I don't write about something as gross as losing a toenail is because it isn't as noteworthy as the first time it happens! Sometimes it is new things or experiences that make something so important to share . . .but I digress.

Did the toenail hang-on by a thread for a couple weeks? Did you pull if off in the end or did it just fall off and end up lost in a sock somewhere??

justacoolcat said...

I hear ya. I always liked to disclose too much on the first date. Since that's the type of person I am.

justrun said...

Adam- I hope it's the first and the last. Yuck. It hasn't actually come off yet... but oh what a day that will be!

JACC- Well it worked eventually. :)

craig said...

If there is chemistry between you and the guy is into you, then telling him the story about your toe in all its gory details would never disgust him. Ever. Well, maybe you should wait till dinner is over.

If he's not into you, keeping the story from him won't contribute to the relationship going to the next level.

Any guy worth his salt would view the fact that you are willing to sacrifice a toenail to continue running as the stuff of which admiration is made. It indicates commitment to a goal, strength of charactor, the will to succeed, self definition and individuality.

e.b. said...

Great Post. I think sharing with your friends and family is meaningful and important as well. With due time the rest will follow sharing toe nail stories and sharing your time with someone, who love hearing about toe nails.

bcmatt said...

hmmm, I think this brings up an interesting issue. Theoretically, I think honesty should always be used, all the time. But really, I don't know if really it is best to share everything you are thinking at any point in the relationship. Like I think there's got to be some balance of how much to share how early. Everyone (usually, but not that guy that wanted to invite his roomate to the firstdate) wants to put their best foot forward to start off. Then, you start sharing more and more things as you progress. (Crap! when did I get so long-winded?!?!) Anyways, I'm just thinking of scenarios where the right guy, who does not know you very well yet, might get mislead about how much he will grow to love you because his sense of who you are gets thrown off by a thinking you are only obsessed with toe-nails. But then again, maybe any guy that makes a rash judgement like that would be the wrong guy. Who knows, maybe we should be completely honest all the time. It could work out if the world was the right kind of place...
PS I love reading your blog... so well done and entertaining

justrun said...

Craig- I am not as certain as you are, but I want to believe you're right.

EB- Yeah, hopefully that will only encompass a small part of the sharing. :)

Matt- Maybe the right stuff just comes out, whether we believe it to be or not.