As babies, we learn through smiles.
A smile is the first question we are asked and the first answer we learn. A smile therefore becomes the first question we ask and the first answer we look for.
Who doesn’t remember faces poking in over the edge of their crib and smiling at them? Okay, I guess most of us don’t remember that, but it’s probably not a stretch of the imagination to think that people did that. It’s probably not a stretch to think that your parents smiled when you pooped in the potty. It’s probably not a stretch to think your parents smiled when you graduated from elementary school.
As children we are very much like we imagine puppies and full grown dogs to be most of the time. We expect babies to like the people that take care of them. We are okay with babies being scared of strangers. And just like puppies, we can call babies the meanest of names as long as we say so with a smile and a soothing voice. They both have little appreciation for the English language and instead learn from our emotional cues.
Some of us, myself included, often lose sight of this foundation of communication. I have only recently rediscovered its power and it is fascinating.
You know I still look for smiles. Even home, alone, when I accomplish anything I literally look left and right and hope someone smiles. I think you all do that too. It is a driving factor of Facebook’s popularity, is it not? We all post so many trivial and mundane things and feel validated through likes.
We post the big amazing news too and genuinely feel the pain of isolation when those posts slip by unliked.
Unlike most things people write about the effects of social media, I am not here to condemn this facet. I embrace it. I embrace this human flaw so much that I now write stories of about 500 words and hope people like them enough to pass a link to their friends.
This article will not be liked. This article will not be passed on.
As I sit here writing it, I know that it is not as catchy as a love letter to a pseudo-figmental girl or as shocking as a letter to everyone saying goodbye. Everyone gets excited when they find an article with which they can say “I’ve felt that.” People will only talk about those articles when they think someone else will have felt the same thing. Then, people will stop themselves from talking about any topic that they think will isolate them.
So here I sit, writing about a fundamental human condition that you all share and that generation after generation becomes more pronounced and easier to quantitatively measure, yet people will simply pretend they never read it.
No one will ever validate the writing of this article. And to many it will fall on deaf ears, but to most, people will just mosey on through as mutes.