Language is a funny thing. It is, perhaps, one of the most powerful things we carry with us, yet it’s played with as a meaningless arrangement of symbols of sounds. This is the result of a unique isolation of feelings to actions that this generation seems to pride themselves on having mastered. We no longer feel comfortable showing the world the raw side of our emotions—fear, anger, worry, hurt—instead we pick and choose our blissful, drunk, successful, playful moments to show the world through as many social media outlets as we can handle. It has become a cultural norm to give ourselves up to as large of an audience as possible, to give up as much of our lives as possible—with the exclusion of anything that could make anyone think we lead anything less than a perfect life. And then, we've taken on the responsibility of deciphering what all of that means for ourselves.
This impersonal, shallow, afraid culture spites itself into one where miscommunication happens constantly, in waves of “he said” and “she said” and “I saw” and “but I think I heard” – followed by Snapchat story explanations or through-the-walls whispers that no one can help but strain to hear, despite their claim to be honest, down-to-earth, and uncaring about anyone or anything that isn’t beneficial to them.
In recent conversation with a friend of mine, I came to understand how big the gap is within our generation. It exists between the communicators, and the communicated. My friend is the communicated—the person who has words put into her mouth by those who deem her fragile enough, or empty enough, or stupid enough to conjure up their own interpretation of her words. And in attempts to defend herself, or her opinion, or the words she never said, she is invalidated. That’s the generation that we come from.
And while this might seem juvenile and strictly applicable to the younger generation—this is not necessarily true. Miscommunication through efforts to appear heartless or cool or happy both on and off social media come from both ends of the spectrum. There are marriages failing because of Facebook. There are siblings living worlds apart, interpreting love or appreciation for each other through status messages and tagged posts. There is misguided and underthought information out there guiding women and men alike on subjects ranging from their body images, to their political values, to their sense of what family should or shouldn’t be by media guidelines. We are becoming a world misled by what other people have to say, or think they have to say (or heard someone else say, or think they heard someone else say, or accidentally heard while listening in on your conversation and then decided to twist your words).
The way this culture has come to ruin friendships and sever family ties is remarkable. Its articulate. It’s harrowing. Its artistic.
So, here is something to try--don’t let anyone speak for you, or against you, or about you, in ways that are demeaning or untrue.
and for the other end of the spectrum--I triple dog dare you to take a chance on truth, you may be surprised at all the things you really don’t know.