We are born ill-equipped to communicate. Born without language, full of guttural wails in protest of being torn away from a part of ourselves, cut; cut off. We are born without language and unwhole. We take the rest of a lifetime learning how to communicate; independent vessels trying to fill ourselves up and keep afloat at the same time. It is maddening.
We base so much on appearances in our culture. The appearance of language. The appearance of intelligence. Grammar Nazis pull out their red pens and are under the misinterpretation that if you don’t use proper and standardized language and grammatics you don’t know how to write. I say fuck that. I love fragments. They concisely make a point and we are fragmented as human beings—our thoughts are fragmented, unwhole like we are. And even as I type this my computer is putting squiggly green lines under my fragments and squiggly red lines under the words “grammatics” and “unwhole”—do you not know what I mean when I say those things? I think if your cognitive capacity is intact you have a very tangible idea of what I mean when I say those words that aren’t accepted as standardized in language. And there are people who have perfect grammar and use grandiose words and can’t write for shit. But the appearance that they know what they are doing is there.
The funny thing about standardization is that everyone is terrified of it. But they lean on it, they perpetuate it. When people learn that I have a Bachelor of Arts in English they automatically think I am harboring a red pen in my soul. They become self-conscious with their words. How they spell. Sentence structure, an afterthought before, now resides in the front of one’s mind in the presence of an English major. When really, I could care less about the grammatics, well—maybe the sentence structure, but that has more to do with style than anything. I think our teachers beat it into us from an early age to be terrified of writing. Great! Another obstacle in the way of communication. But it is true. From a tender age we are taught these basic ideals in writing—that correct spelling and the 5 paragraph essay is the way to go; a fragment is not a complete thought, never end a sentence in a preposition, a story needs an arc, etc. I say bollocks. If teachers spent half as much time filling their student’s heads with crap at an early age maybe their students would actually enjoy writing and communicating. Maybe our youth would even develop their own writing style instead of being terrified of language.
I got told, “You look all smart and stuff today with your glasses on.” I wanted to ask how one looks smart? Does this even make sense? Appearances. People could care less what is on the inside as long as you project it on the outside. This way of living is not for me. I love the lines Walt Whitman breathed into life when he wrote, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes).” I contain multitudes inside of me. I do not need to project a certain image of myself out to the world so I can be more tangible, more easily understood— Just as there are multitudes to language. We have this mentality that we need to put up these pretenses, sweep the dirt under the rug, skeletons in the closet, surface cleaning, etc, etc, etc. In actuality we are stifling communication by this covering up of things; we are building cages of properness around us. Language does not need to be wholly standardized, stiff, and starchy to understand. It is a loosening up of these appearances, these rigid standards, that will open up the floodgate of communication. We just have to take out our hatchets.