I’m always hesitant to move on to a new post… to tell a new story. I’m always worried that the one person I really wanted to read it, didn’t. I’m always worried if I press the publish button on something new, the words I wanted everyone to read will get lost behind some other words that maybe I’m not too psyched about. That’s what happens with this blog.
I write something that I’m very excited about and I think it looks nice here on this front page and I hate to see it move down the list. And then, sometimes, I write something I’m not psyched about at all and can’t think of anything to take its place.
This is probably a good indication of how I communicate to people as well. The things I think are meaningful and I want to stick around always seem to get pushed down the line by words that sound stupid or hurtful or too funny (I actually am not sure words can be too funny — I’ll have to think on that some more).
Communication is so difficult. It involves so much that can be mixed up by the receiver. No wonder my entire career revolves around a disorder characterized by an inability to communicate effectively. Here’s one of the most important factors to communication — paraverbals.
(Stay with me here as I delve into the world of autism for a second). Paraverbal communication is the vocal part of speech minus the actual words. It’s how you say what you say. Here’s the problem — the words you say mean nothing if you don’t accurately convey the meaning behind them, and how can you do that on a keyboard? Or rather, how can I do that on a keyboard? Of course a writer can do that… otherwise why would any of us read?
But normal people, those of us who haven’t quite discovered our superpowers, how can we be expected to effectively communicate in typed words when we really need those paraverbals to pull us through?
Communication is difficult at best. It can be slow and tedious or fast and haphazard. It can be filled with laughter or tears or anger or empathy — it can be all at the same time. Communication can win over an audience or throw a friendship into peril. It can hurt. It can heal. It can offend. It can make amends.
So, back to the hesitant disclaimer of sometimes not knowing exactly which story to tell. Sometimes, like spoken words, written words can take on a life of their own — some words, we wish, had a shorter life than others. That’s the story I want to tell today.