Lost in Translation

sometimes it’s just the sheer volume of duplicity that takes my mind longer to respond. i get that many other people navigate this world at ease with communication between themselves and those around them. one would think after so many years of my residence on this planet that eventually i would learn to employ the finer shades of meanings. but the truth is the massive amounts of effort it takes me to comprehend what other people are getting at can be astounding.

other people actually rarely mean what they say, nor say what they really mean. apparently they all use alternate definitions, connotations or hidden meanings; unspoken yet shared understandings. they can’t stand when i say out loud what something really means, yet i can’t find another way to learn this stuff for sure. i have long been branded as crass or uncouth, incapable of observing social convention. but social convention at this point has evolved into a complete alternate reality of doublespeak language. in this way of speaking people mean things by other things, and we’re all supposed to be familiar.

but the soul crushing truth is none of us are truly sure and we’re swimming in a sea of falsehoods. we don’t really know if someone meant something else, we can only surmise and make assumptions. they could very well be making a veiled threat or insult. they could very well be including you in a joke or shared experience. when we think we know what others really mean it’s based on a set of factors. their delivery speaks volumes and is supposed to provide context, a little bit of perspective.

the interpretations we make are tenuous at best and constantly subject to change. things we thought we knew or understood quickly become foreign again. honestly it would be better for me if at least people spoke this way all the time. but they don’t and sometimes they do use the face value, and at that point it begs the question… what’s the difference? when do you use that layered hidden meaning shit vs coming right out in the open?

people look at me like i’m the one who isn’t getting something obvious. but what’s obvious is the way people constantly hedge their bets and shore up their defenses. what is clear is the way people say without saying to provide themselves plausible deniability. i really do understand that other people see subtlety, tact and dimplomacy. but to me those are abused, employed by inappropriate methods, trotted out to cover up veiled cruelty. there is every difference betweeen those laudible traits and the insidious deception i have been describing.

if the sentiment you intended is understood, fantastic. i can’t wrap my mind around why someone would get upset when something is highlighted to show its true meaning if that was their true meaning and they got their true meaning across. i mean, if you meant it that way, for them to take it that way, then why couldn’t you go ahead and state it that way? from what i can gather it’s mostly a tool to help backpedal when you don’t want the other person to respond negatively. it’s a tool to make a social facade to hide behind because you’re ashamed of what you’re saying or doing. because if it was really a tool to help the recipient to save face then you would have either pulled them aside or said it quietly enough for only them to hear. largely, it seems like a way to reinforce social hierarchies.

constantly translating hints and implications is like speaking a foreign language. i still have trouble with most of the nuances of this hideously monstrous game. it turns out this is another situation in which i don’t have the patience to coddle people who want to act with impunity. don’t want to be insulting, hurtful or condescending? then recognize that no primping will actually mask your backhanded comments. if your commentary is seething with judgment or condemnation, no amount of subtlety can hide that fact from your audience. so you can sit there and think that you’re making something up all pretty, but the truth is that doing so makes it all the uglier.

examine and re-examine your motives, and your assessment of the situation. did you open your mind and heart to this person, or are you just talking at them?

 

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