Tisha Carter and Amy Souza

Tisha Carter
Recognition
Response

Full Stop
By Amy Souza
Inspiration piece

Everyone loves the ellipse. They hail the fucking em dash. Like nobody can live without him. Last year they made T-shirts featuring all of us white on black nice contrast and sold them to people who care too much about these things. Not all of them went. The shirts in the remainder bin feature me. I cannot pretend that did not hurt.

No need to panic or express too much emotion. With me you say it straight. That is a lot of power and also much responsibility. I have heard in frequency I am number two but I am the one you cannot live without. The others are all optional. Being top of the hierarchy should come with more perks. People do not often misuse me it is true. They also forget about me. They argue ad nauseam about the serial comma but not about me. No one disputes my necessity. I am a given. I do the bulk of the work. It is me you cannot live without. Yet I get no recognition.

Some of you attempt full thoughts without my help. Full books even. But still I am there. Readers insert me where they think I should go. You cannot live without me. Think about that for a minute. You cannot live without me.

I help you declare. Let you instruct or demand. Give you space to breathe when you need it. Force you to finish your thoughts. Even allow leeway for half thoughts. You invoke my name when you want to emphasize your point. I deserve more than a crappy T-shirt in return.

This article I read recently listed fourteen punctuation marks you never knew existed. Like the author had found Sasquatch or something. Stop the presses. You can guess what that article had in it to make it readable and comprehensible. Me. Little old me. I am always there.

My peers and I do not have a mutual admiration society. Question Mark never walks up to say good job. Exclamation Point never exclaims about me. They keep their distance. Sometimes I see them hanging out together along with Semicolon and the rest. Even Percent Sign gets invited to their functions. Percent Sign. No wonder I fucking drink.

My therapist says I use bravado and cynicism to mask a deep pain. The wound of feeling unloved and unwelcomed by my peer group and by you. She says vulnerability can save me. Wants me to let down my guard and admit how much it hurts to feel unwanted. She thinks I have a shot at the lecture circuit if I can release my bitterness. Wants me to invite my colleagues. My life is lemons. She wants lemonade.

I prefer a hermitage. A small gray house set far back from the street on a massive lot covered with weeds. The windows hidden by beastly unmaintained shrubbery. People will walk by and wonder what danger lurks within. What sadness. I will take their pity if they offer nothing else.

Everybody and their brother is on a journey it seems to find the life they were meant to live. Some of us are left with the ones we have to live. But nobody writes a bestseller about that. No one stages a play or tapes a monologue about dealing. I should not have to change the essentials of my being to fit the world. I work hard. I am good at what I do. Nor do I want to fit in. Not really. I want to be accepted for who I am.

My therapist calls this defeatist thinking and made me commit to positive action. We came up with this: I will go to that remainder bin, buy all of the shirts with my likeness on them, and give them away to strangers. Some I will send by mail. Others I will leave on doorways. I will create my own fan club. Soon I’ll encounter a woman wearing my shirt. We will pass each other in the frozen aisle, but she won’t recognize me. The guy behind her will, though, and it will catch him by surprise. “Hey wait a minute. That’s you!” he’ll say, pointing at the lady, then me, then back at the lady. He will smile at me, maybe pat me on the back. “Good job, Buddy,” he’ll say. “Good job.”

***

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One Comment

  1. Lori
    Posted March 3, 2015 at 5:33 am | #

    The mighty period is the protagonist, right? (Always second-guessing).

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