The Fine Line Of TMI

Telling To Much Of Your Business

My mom often cautioned me about airing dirty laundry, telling family secrets and TMI in general. She often warned "What goes on in this house, stays in this house. Since I feared being the one to spill the beans on anything I thought should be a secret, I stayed to myself a lot and talked very little in public. I made up lies so I wouldn't accidentally tell the truth. Since I told one of my biggest sex secrets in my last book everything else is almost easy. Almost. The problem II’m having with my new book is that I keep tip toeing around the sex and intimacy chapters. I'm trying to determine how much is too much when sharing my life with strangers on maintaining a marriage and being in business with your spouse.

In life and in writing I practice a high level of transparency and vulnerability now. I do this for two reasons.

  1. If you’re going to talk about me I want to make sure you hear it from me first.

  2. If my life can be a learning tool for someone else, then I'm okay with that.

Feedback regarding my last blog post of not wanting a gay daughter struck a couple of people as TMI. Someone felt it was an attack and took it personally. One woman called it shit. Others rightly stated I have no control over it. I never said I could control it. I was simply sharing a piece of a conversation I had with my daughter and our differing opinions. When I shared some of the email responses with my her she likened it to fandom clap back that I won't go into. The people who verbally abused me afterwards have no idea how hard it was for me to share that piece and how I cried afterwards. I feared so much of hurting people I know and love.

I remember the worried look on my mother's face when I began speaking at church. She felt shame when I spoke of my fathers drug use when illustrating a point. She was embarrassed when I stood in front of a church full of people and said Sampson had a bondage fetish since he kept telling Delilah to tie him up if she wanted to weaken him. I said this while demonstrating bond wrist with a hip dip. My mom, sitting with the rest of the congregation, gave me her “you’re getting a butt whoopin’ when you get home” face. By the time I became Sunday School Superintendent she was less nervous, yet she kept a look in her back pocket for me when she thought I was walking the fine line of TMI.

Almost every time I open my mouth or write something to share, I feel like I’m navigating a TMI minefield. I stopped being afraid of the hard conversations, although I steer clear of politics, while others around me have not. With what seems like an epidemic of anxiety today, I don't want to offend, shame or hurt anyone. I will converse over differing opinions but I refuse to argue. I’m not immune to opinions feeling like attacks but neither am I afraid to stand my ground. Instead, I censor myself in mixed company. My writing, however, is my writing. Once published, people have a choice to read it or not.

With this new book I write about the affects our family business had on our sex and intimacy. I've tried to interview other spousal business partners currently working together to no avail. I don't expect people to be as forthcoming as I am. I do, however, think it's a relevant topic for spouses that are thinking of going into business together. I did some research on the subject and found it focuses on either the male libido or superficial information. This makes me think there are some missing truths that people are afraid to talk about.

In a time where people get on the radio and talk about getting their salad tossed and sex videos making people famous, I'm surprised TMI is still an issue. Reality TV makes us want to get all up in someones business but heaven forbid there is an emotional component outside of anger and hatred. Maybe the I in TMI stands for INTIMACY that people seem to fear these days. It’s the relating part of a relationship that causes a fear of TMI. You don't want to know the real me, just the dirt that you can talk and gossip about.

When I speak in front of high school students, I give them permission to ask me anything within reason even if it's not business related. I think I'm well received because I speak the things people are afraid to even think in front of them. I don't sugar coat the rough road ahead and blow smoke like everyone else before me. I tell them college doesn't equal success and no college doesn't equal failure.

I don't do it for shock value or attention. I’m not militant or an activist in any shape form or fashion but I have an opinion. I have thoughts and fears that I share because it's part of who I am. I do this with hope that people will be aware, not afraid. Awarenesses keeps a person prepared, fear keeps them stagnant. I do this in hopes my daughter will learn to stand for something instead of falling for everything. I can’t teach her to live courageously if I live in fear.

When I wrote, Doing Business While Black, in 2011 people told me I was wrong and I was going to offend my black customer base. The whole point was that I had little support from blacks who lived locally. Black business owners that read it agreed with me and shared that they experienced the very thing I wrote about. Black people talk all the time of how we don’t support each other. Other cultures accuse us of it openly. So what is the problem with making the public statement? It’s no less real or relevant by making the declaration in writing. It was TMI because people felt I was airing the dirty laundry of fellow black people.

The political correctness and politeness for fear of offending in today’s society has created an eggshell environment of fake apologies and facade personalities. Yes, there are things I shouldn’t say. I get there are fragile people in the world. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and that does not hurt my feelings. It is my desperation to educate others based on my mistakes that causes me to move, cross or erase the fine line of TMI. It’s not about saving me from embarrassing moments. It’s about empowering others. It’s about making heartfelt connections so those around me know who I am and what I’m really about. Then and only then can I be judged by the content of my character and not the color of my skin.

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