TO PERIOD OR NOT TO PERIOD

(That is the ?)

by Eliza Campbell

Raise your hand if you’ve ever asked a question?

Raise your hand in your mind? Not in physical space?

Otherwise, people may look at you and wonder why your hand is raised while staring at these words?

By now, you’ve noticed that every sentence I’ve written so far ends with a question mark?

Know why?

I bet you do?

It’s because when I speak aloud, every sentence I speak ends with a question?

Or at least, that used to be the truth?

It took years of training to stop speaking this way?

It took conscious effort?

It took practice?

Really?

It takes one to know one?

Because I know you ask questions that are statements more often than not?

You’re thinking, no I don’t?

But really you do?

It could be obvious or very, very subtle?

It could have been going on since you first learned to say Mama, Dada, kittycat, bow wow?

Or it could have started during that first sleepover when you played truth or dare?

Or when you shared your project at the science fair?

Or during an interview for your first or current job?

It’s annoying, isn’t it?

Reading this?

All the questions that are supposed to be statements?

It’s the first step to recovery?

Admit? Recognize? Examine?

Take action?

Start by recording your voice?

Record conversations with friends?

Some friends may not appreciate you recording everything they say?

Some may worry how public or private you are going to be with the recordings?

So, depending on the person, either be honest or use discretion?

Some friends may also need help?

So, create a peer support group?

Combine it with a book club, wine tasting, clothing swap?

This way you address more than one need at a time?  

Engage in mindful, multi-sensory multi-tasking?

Flex more than one muscle?

But don’t record while working out?

That’s like drinking and driving or operating dangerous machinery?

You might not actually have a problem with undermining your statements?

But one or more of your friends do?

In this case, you need to pretend to have a problem and invite them to help you but really you will be helping them?

Listen to the recordings and make notes about which:

  • topics

  • words

  • people

  • activities

  • times of day

  • settings

                                  throw you(or them) off?

Make a spreadsheet? A flow chart? Tables, graphs, slide shows?

Practice the words?

Visualize the people that make you nervous wearing bunny costumes?

Stand in a power position with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on your hips, for two minutes before engaging in anxiety rich activities or simply practice tai chi each morning?

Set your phone to alert you when it’s that time of day?

Set a GPS warning for when you are not in a “safe space”?

Read up on the topics that you really don’t know what you think you know?

Then, when you are taking a night to sit and watch a little TV at home, mute it except for when the commercials play?

Focus only on the commercials and not the actual show?

Really?

It doesn’t just have to be the Super Bowl or a greatly anticipated season finale, but any old regular show?

Yes?

Commercials?

Yes?

You don’t want to get confused because characters are characters and some of those characters do not speak confidently?

Stick to cars, shampoo, cat litter?  

Stand in front of your TV and repeat after the narrators?

Speak with authority? With purpose? With sensitive determination?

Also, there’s no shame in choosing to seek professional help?

Get therapy?

Take a speech class?

Make new friends and influence people?

Drop your tone as you approach the end of your sentence?

Own the power of your period?

It may just change your life.

You may finally be successful.

You already are?

Think again.