An interesting article from The Washington Post on punctuation, specifically the choice between one or two spaces after the end of a sentence, intrigued me this morning while I had my cup of Joe. On the topic of punctuation, or PUNK.TUATION in my case, I like to move freely with the alphabet and set of symbols we have for PUNK.TUATING the English language. I grew up reading and learning that the two spaces at the end of a sentence were proper. I knew nothing else. Until, that is, I went through adolescence and began college in the era of Facebook, MySpace, and good old-fashioned texting.
Communicating through written word was now done in short spurts. And forget about Twitter — when that came on the social media scene I was baffled by the hashtags and acronyms — do we not even write a full word anymore?
All that said, the point of my blog post today is that we have the opportunity to make time to write and to share what we write, thanks to things like Twitter, Facebook, and texting. Psychologically, I believe that there are some detriments to our social-societal well-being due to things like social media that remove us from just that, socializing as humans, in person.
But there are also great benefits.
For instance, I can keep in touch with my cousins on another continent. I can check in with my friends across the country. And I can write to an audience of people who I never would have reached before. For all these reasons, I’m glad that I can share what’s on my mind in writing with other people, even if it is removed from speaking live and in person.
So, what do we do with this great new power we have? Do we unleash it and abuse it, the way some politicians (I won’t mention names) do? Or, rather, do we take the power to have our voices be heard around the country, around the world, and use it to benefit the greater good of society and our evolution as human beings on this great planet Earth?
By way of my words, tweets, posts, and PUNK.TUATED blog, I am choosing the high road to the best of my abilities. No one is perfect. And no man is an island. We still need human interaction and socialization — even animals like dogs, cats, and wild critters need to socialize. Next time you notice that you are being sucked into the psychological under-belly vortex of online trolling, or you can’t seem to understand why your friend out in Nebraska wrote that radical, polarizing and politically charged comment on Facebook, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that good old-fashioned “verbal diarrhea” has now become “written diarrhea” or even scarier, “online post, tweet, comment, share diarrhea.” Online people. For everyone to see and judge over and over and over again.
Now, being one of the queens of “online post diarrhea” (honestly, I am just writing this to see how many times I can write the word “diarrhea”), I know that I overshare. I know that. But, I felt silenced by the stigma of my mental illness for so long; I felt pushed down by the numbing emotional pain I went through after the trauma and PTSD symptoms surfaced; I felt dead inside without the ability to use my voice. I had to write. I had to write about it. I had to find out if others were feeling like me. And many others have been through these struggles of the mind, even physical battles with palpable pain and depression and anxiety.
But, I felt silenced by the stigma of my mental illness for so long; I felt pushed down by the numbing emotional pain I went through after the trauma and PTSD symptoms surfaced; I felt dead inside without the ability to use my voice.
My main point is this — if you feel like you are alone: write. Write down your feelings on paper, in a journal, heck, draw what you are experiencing mentally and internally. Writing gets the ruminating thoughts out of your head. Next step is to read. Read what people are writing about, and you are sure-as-sugar to find out that there are other people feeling the way you feel. Write for expression of emotions. And read for the human connection of similar stories and life paths.
Writing down what I am going through, what I feel, my opinions, my triumphs and tribulations — it opened the door to so many great things in my life. Work, friends, family reconnections, my inner core being. If you feel alone, or feel as though you are living in silence, begin to write. And share with others your story. We may not be speaking face-to-face all the time, but we can make the best of the power we harness to go online and share what’s on our minds or tweet to open a dialogue on what we are passionate about.
Punctuation, no punctuation, poetry, or posts — writing can heal the deafened inner voice. And we will be a more fruitful society if we apply the manners we learned as children to the way we now text or type to each other. I mean, am I W.RITE?
My head is a hive of words that won’t settle. — Virginia Woolf