Last night, while reading posts on a social media site, I began to feel my blood pressure rising, the capillaries in my eyes swelling to the verge of bursting, and the last nerve in my body twanging to the point of popping. My anxiety level rose, my sense of hopelessness increased, and I felt as if I might actually swoon.
No, I was not experiencing a medical emergency; I was reading posts whose contents were riddled with poor grammar and incorrect spelling. Call me a bookish boor, but that kind of stuff irritates me to the near-breaking point I described above. It prompts me to respond, or rather drives me to react. Either way, I needed to take action.
I hesitated only long enough to arrest my ego and assess my motives before running a quick mental evaluation of myself. It went something like this.
“I am a woman who is highly educated…successful…fairly intelligent…independent… sometimes intolerant…definitely eager for improvement. I, also, was born in Bed-Stuy…spent the first ten years of my life living there…grew up poor…raised by a single parent…got married young to escape…stayed there too long. Write the rant, you earned it!”
And so, I whipped up the following post and attached it to my homepage.
I think poor (actually often atrocious) spelling and grammar have much less to do with intelligence and/or education than they do with laziness, complacency, and lack of self-respect. Anyone can use a dictionary or Google. By the time a person reaches their third or fourth decade on this planet, their sentences, at first glance, should not appear undecipherable. If they do, their message is lost and the reader’s focus is on the poor writing rather than a potentially good statement.
THANK YOU and THE END.
Now calmer, and upon reexamination of this post, I affirm the words I wrote and would like to add some additional thoughts to them.
Absent special circumstances, it is not necessary to use the deficiencies experienced in the familial foundation, be they in the areas of economics, education, direction, encouragement, stability, emotional support, attention, love, physical sustenance, or anything else that should be a child’s birthright as a reason or excuse not to elevate oneself. We all rise to our own levels, through either capacity or desire, and sadly, apathy is often the basis for a person’s lack of ascension from their point of origin.
Despite my disadvantaged beginnings, marginal education, and moderate intelligence, I had an appetite for more and better, which disallowed any indulgence in apathy or complacency. I spent many years thinking less of myself and feeling inferior to others; I no longer wanted to ‘settle’, nor did I want to accept what could be changed.
I wanted a voice. I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be understood.
And so, I learned, I practiced, and I changed.
Today, I have those things, as well as the awareness of the importance of using proper spelling and grammar as a means of effective communication. When I discharge my thoughts through writing, it is with the intention that people will understand my message rather than see my mess.
In addition, I would loathe to be responsible for another person suffering from a case of the vapours, as I did, after having read something that I wrote.
Thank you for listening.