I had a friend who texted me one day, a friend whom I adored. I just loved everything about her. We shared a lot of similar qualities, and I felt like I could tell her anything - and I did. We were "soul sisters," if you will. But I always felt that she had this thing that she kept locked up: a part of her that was black, that scared the shit out of her, and conveniently kept people at a safe distance. In hindsight, she always kept me a bit at bay. I don't know exactly what it was she was hiding, but it was definitely dark and painful. It's not important for this story, but there was always something that kept us apart, no matter how close we seemed. But I figured she was worth it, so I didn't worry about it too much. I was willing to stick around because I loved her. She made me laugh, and that's ultimately what I'm out for - a laugh.
But then one day I was in a jam, I needed some help, and I texted her -- and she replied:
"140 characters, that's the rule."
So it's true - I am prone to writing long texts. I'm a writer, after all. And on a side note - I'd rather read someone's shit than talk on the phone about it most of the time. Let's face it, writing is therapeutic. You can get things out without being interrupted and, particularly with texting, you can get a response - quickly. It's a brilliant tool, no doubt about it.
Being a person who loves to follow rules (the result of a youth spent institutionalized), I went for her directive immediately. "Ok, I can do that. 140 characters - got it, no problem." Plus I loved her, so I wanted to appease her.
But I thought about it for a few hours and into the next morning, and I thought, "Yeah, you know what? No. That's just not going to work for me."
140 characters? Is that the world I'm in now? You only have the tolerance and patience to suffer through 140 urgent, heartfelt characters? What if I need more? And when on Earth did letters become characters?
So listen up: I have a huge heart and a fast brain, and sometimes that combo brings great joy, misery, or confusion to people who are involved with me. In some ways, I'm like those Formula 1 cars I love so much - high maintenance and unpredictable, but powerful, and capable of great things when surrounded by people who care.
People who are invested.
People who enjoy communication. People who must communicate in order to survive. Like the teams that work on getting those cars out on the track - that's what I look for in my friends. The professionals, the real ones, the ones that you share things with: the jokes, the personal triumphs, the public failures, the scary happy messy icky beautiful funny things. The real things. Because, guess what, I'm here and I'm real, and I'm not going to accept restrictions on how I communicate from anyone. I will continue to create, build, love, fail, flop, and fly, and I will do it in as many characters as it takes.
You want 140 characters? Make friends with Kanye, Rachel Maddow, or Donald Trump.
From me, with love: the lost art of letter writing
Jeeves and Wooster
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