why i typically write in all lowercase despite being a writer and editor (& why it matters)
There are two reasons why I usually write in all lowercase letters, mainly when writing poetry.
1. Aesthetics. I like how it looks.
2. It is a constant visual reminder, and I love visual reminders.
What does it remind me of?
It reminds me that we are all valuable.
It reminds me that I am separate from my work.
I matter. Everyone else matters. (*Disclaimer about these word choices at the end)
The majority of capitalization in my poetry would be of the letter "i". Naturally, this feels to me like a separation of the letter "i" from the rest of the work. I prefer to keep it all the same and think of it as a collective; it all has equal value. I do not want to be emphasized in the work as separate but rather sharing my experience as one human in a beautiful, diverse collection of humans. One of the main reasons why I write is to connect to other humans. Not everyone will understand and appreciate my work, but I will seek to give a voice to my experiences. There is no right or wrong in it. There are several great ways to do this life. I am important. My voice is important. Writing authentically is important. Everyone else is important. Everyone's story is important. It all matters.
My worth is not my work.
I seek to make my poetry aesthetically pleasing and accessible. I follow most of the rules to make it mostly easy to read and digest yet thought-provoking. However, I often break rules to push back on norms and status quo. Basically, poetry is a reflection of how I live my life, and I write about things that matter to me, that reflect my soul, that offer depth. It is too easy in writing for me to feel that my worth as a human and my enthusiasm to keep moving forward is caught up in people's response. My work is a reflection of who I am. Paradoxically, my work is not who I am, and my worth is not caught up in my success. I matter. My voice matters. Everyone else matters. Everyone's voice matters.
It sometimes feels surprising to me that I am free to exist. We do not have to earn our breath or value or love.
everything written in LOWERCASE reminds me of the beautiful, paradoxical nature of life.
I matter. You matter. We are free to exist. We are free to thoughtfully choose how we communicate our story authentically.
What helps you connect? What helps you come alive? How can you do it in a way that is true to who you are and respects our collective humanity?
stay true; be kind.
*Disclaimer: I didn't realize while writing this, but I noticed when reading it back through that using the words "Everyone matters" or similar wording could come off as supporting the conflicting groups in the Black Lives Matter movement. This is not my intention, and it is not where I stand. I was tempted to change it all. Instead, I decided to use it to expand on my thoughts within this writing. I believe that every life matters. However, I also understand the depth of pain that our history holds. Humans have often used religion, systems, equations, wealth, and politics as means of oppression, pain, and division. Often, when we oppress certain people and injustice reigns, we need to take time to heal, lift up, and honor the oppressed. Together, we have to find ways to create new, just, holistically working systems. In that, we need to listen and lift up specific voices. In addition, it might not hurt to have a time where we honor the people that have been treated unjustly in more direct ways. When we take time to specifically appreciate a person or group of people, it DOES NOT take away from our collective value. It DOES honor our collective pain and the depth of injustice that they have endured. I think that is an important step of collective healing.
I have in no way been marginalized like many people groups in our culture. Simultaneously, I know what it is like to feel like I have very little value and worth. I think all of us have felt unkindness and hatred. What we then need is healing. Healing can take different forms. I have noticed that in my life it almost always involves finding the truth, honoring the truth, and then re-finding my breath and space.
In regards to Black Lives Matter, the truth is we have created injustice in our society. From slavery to mass incarceration to the War on Drugs to the death penalty, we have failed to be holistic in honoring the sanctity of life and the value of humanity. May we heal together, by honoring our painful history, by noticing that we have created unjust systems, and by re-finding our collective breath and space. I think a good place to start is specifically affirming our brothers and sisters who have been oppressed, listening well, and letting ourselves be filled with compassion.
In regards to ourselves, the truth is that we all matter. We all have pain, fear, and feelings of unworthiness. However, we do not have to fear that affirming others will in any way take away from our worth. In our healing, let's learn to trust our value. In our healing, let's learn to let go of fear and beliefs of scarcity. In our healing, let's remind ourselves that each other's beauty only adds to our own, other people's light only makes ours brighter, life is not a competition. We can lift each other up without fear. It's all grace upon grace.