Recently it has been brought to my attention how multi faceted an influence social and public perception of our behavior and portrayed personality has. At the core of it I feel a deep sense of sadness that there can be such a silent oppressive force dictating peoples everyday actions, words, personal expression and enjoyment of life. This might seem like a strong statement but more than ever now I believe its true. The impact of these influences is powerful and can seriously imped peoples freedom of expression and halt their instincts to act on a whim or follow a feeling. I have of late seen this impact on not just my own life but I am also seeing it affect the behavior of those close to me. This may be a several part discussion so to kick it off I’ll speak with a focus on what I’m experiencing currently and later expand on other aspects of this topic.
Personally I have decided to make a change. For me the strongest impact I feel of this pressure is on how I speak and how I express myself verbally. I think I’ve moved past the point of allowing anything other than how I feel to dictate how I dress or act but I hadn’t realized that I was altering my speech and use of language in order to ‘not seem pretentious’. The fact is that I don’t believe using a wide ranging vocabulary is pretentious but I do believe that it is perceived as such by the majority of people in out society, especially in my age bracket of early to mid 20s. This is not also admitted by most people however there is an undeniable expectation to speak a certain way depending on the company kept. Adjustments to these group language norms is unconsciously practiced by the general population I am exposed to. It has long been an observation of my and an honest social behavior to want to ‘fit in’ with ones peers and to subtly if not always intentionally make changes to your behavior and importantly here your language to do such. I have always when impassioned found myself roused into conversation where by the only way I can express myself is by using the full extent of the vocabulary available to me. This I find often has polaring result. Either the others involved follow suit and as equally supred into an animating and provocative conversation. Or alternatively the conversation never really progresses as it becomes very clear the other participants as holding back out of a fear of speaking as I am. I am sure in these situations there is a genuine desire to join in and be carried along in true conversation but this stereotype that speaking with more than the socially accepted range of words is not ‘cool’ prevents them abandoning themselves and speaking however they may like and indeed prevents them fully delivering their opinions on which ever topic may be at hand. What is the purpose of possessing the knowledge of a language? To use it fully is a nod of respect towards it in my opinion and on a more selfish note a means by which I can get my point across fully and completely but also in a way through the use of a bounty of adjectives show how deeply I feel. Words are empowering and should be seem as such and used with pride. I enjoy speaking eloquently and now choose to no longer adjust the way in which I speak to appease others. The bulk of my conformity lies on social networking sites where image is the primary focus and social pressures are the strongest. Even as I begin to transition into creating social network updates formed with full sentence and actual legitimate words I feel a sense of unrest and unease as to the reaction of my peers and their opinion of me. This is the obstacle I have been talking about and one I am finally deciding to not let stop me any longer. How I speak and how I want others to remember me is within my control and I hope I am not alone in starting a vocabulary revolution.
Live for yourself and be happy