A year and four months ago, I had to write a very stressful instant message.
I am struggling so much with writing one damn message. My words are failing me. How do I say yes without being awkward? Plus, this all feels so detached since it’s just Messenger. I mean that’s what we need to do since we’re not in the same physical location and calling is inconvenient when you’re busy all the time, but it’s not ideal. I don’t know what I would have said in person, but I feel like I could come off way more flippant and earnest at the same time. Ugh. Tone of voice means everything. Text is so devoid of feeling, intent, and nuance. You can’t couple your sentences with a nervous, half-joking smile. You can’t tease and smirk. You can’t get louder, end your question with a light lift of pitch, use the signature timbre of your voice. Text means ruthlessly editing, revising, and proofreading what you’re about to say. Letting your fingers fly across the keyboard or glide on the glass of your phone as you release typos, punctuation marks, random capitalization, emojis, and gifs into the nexus of your digital dialogue. It’s so much less and so much more. It’s a completely different language that tries to make up for what is lost when there’s no audible voice and body language to indicate what the speaker is really thinking. It can be so much more, so much richer. But text comes off as juvenile, inauthentic, man-made. But it’s so much easier. No embarrassing pronunciation mistakes, speaking before your mind can catch up, and unwanted facial cues that give your true feelings away. You can hide behind a keyboard and let the Internet deliver the message with layers upon layers of barriers to seek shelter behind. No vulnerabilities. Text is a shield. It is safer.
Fuck. I sent it.