Word Play

Jamie Rohr, Queens College Student

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I’ve often been told I write the same way that I talk. I rely on the cues of talking and often insert my gasp, my sigh, or my importantly placed ellipses so that the reader understands my exact expression. I rely heavily on said reader. I write for an audience.

Since birth I’ve been pushed and prodded to share my words. Encouraged, bribed, and then finally rewarded when I share whatever it is that is on my mind. As I grew up, the bigger the words got, the more praise I received. As a kid, I came to 
understand the power of words and I learned that the manner in which I chose to say them would warrant different results. “Pretty please with a cherry on top” became cute, while “I want it now” reeked of attitude. I have learned to filter my words depending on my audience, and the only way to try and figure this out was to rely on the audience’s reaction.

Fast forward into adulthood and I now realize that people aren’t taking the time to listen to me as much, because I am a self sufficient person, I really am, most of the time; except that old habits die-hard. My desire to receive praise, reward, or simply undivided attention has lived on and propelled me to channel my words in a different way.

Since it is now assumed I know all the necessary, or praiseworthy words, and a big word may not be as impressive as it once was, the new way to seek others praise and approval is by my strings of words that I place together.

This transformation from words to sentences, which ultimately leads to a piece of writing, is displayed today through popular online games and social media spaces. Games like “Text Twist” and “Words with Friends” are fads. They carried me through my years of high school and I have fond memories of ditching class and huddling around one computer with 14 other people, screaming any possible word that might start with the relevant letters. Despite the fun, these fads rise and fall in popularity and they are exemplary of our infancy. The words are fun but they get old. Adulthood brings us into the land of sophistication. There is StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Tumblr, all with their own sections of categories devoted to impressive, and not so impressive, quotes. The quotes differ from the words because they mean something. They are indicating an experience, a feeling, a joke, or simply a thought.

People are sharing their words right, left, and center. However, 
in adulthood is not merely about seeking approval; I have yearning for a deeper level. We tend to seek a connection with a greater audience. The approval and acceptance of our peers and adversaries breaks bounds and creates quiet 
confidences. I often strive for, and find in others’ words, a way to relate to them.

It is probably important to point out that while I have created a very idealistic view of myself, with only the best intentions to share my life and relate to others, there is a strong need for recognition and validation that runs through a very selfish vein. This need can be overpowering. If someone validates what I am saying, there is more truth to it and it makes me feel as if I am somewhat of an authority on the topic.

Regardless, sharing is a way of giving and when you give to someone, you are forming a connection with them. A trust. Our purpose is to share our lives and our experiences. 
Everything in life is built around that fact. It is the reason why there are trophies and awards to show achievements.

I happen to live by these words, almost to a fault. I share everything. I hoard nothing; I have felt that if I don’t share my stories, my experiences, and my life in general, I am irrelevant. Whether this is an egotistical ideal or simply an intense need to connect with everyone around me is hard to say. We are all multi-faceted and I am sure that if I were to pinpoint, 
exactly, the motivation behind the need to share, there would be results ranging from the most egotistical to the most desperate for connecting.

If I were meant to live in isolation, I wouldn’t have been given both an internal and external voice. I have my own, highly specific, way of thinking and doing things and it is the 
exchanging of my ideas with others’ that allows for growth and innovation in society. It is not simply a nice idea that I share my words with others, but rather it is absolutely necessary to make the world go round.

It is an interesting idea that people hide behind their words, because as true as it was when we were kids, our word choice shows a lot about us and what we want. The words we choose for ourselves are our representation of ourselves to the rest of the world. We are painting a picture and by doing so, we are sharing a lot more with the world than we may realize. Words are not something we hide behind, but rather a vehicle to being better understood.

As I get older I tend to blur the lines of the rules that I learned and try to translate them into adulthood. I may have jumbled them but especially in this day and age it seems that the cardinal rule of sharing your words have taken on a whole new meaning.

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