Here Is My Secret Shame Laid Bare


I have a confession, it’s somewhat shameful. Every day I do this thing, and I’m not really proud of it, but I do it anyway. It’s so unlike me—this thing—that when people meet me in person, they must do a double take. Or maybe they don’t even have to meet me in person. Maybe they’ll read something I wrote, reach out, and get confused like, “well it appears as though she’s dead inside, but this, this is just so cheerful.” And then they don’t know what to believe.

Alright, I will just come out with it.

Don’t think any less of me.

It can’t be that bad, right?

I dunno, it’s pretty terrible.

It’s not like I am going to die from it.

Here we go . . .

I, Liz Henry, use a massive amount of exclamation points when I write emails.

I’m going to throw out a ballpark summation that I rival a tweenage girl in enthusiasm. I will also wager that if a tweenage girl actually used email, you would not be able to tell the difference between us. Receiving an email from me is like being shot in the face with greetings and salutations from an exclamation point canon that usually holds t-shirts or hot dogs.

I turn an otherwise white screen of sentence fragments into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory of correspondence with my sugary sweet, punctuational glee.

Frankly, it’s embarrassing.

Not because I find being a tweenage girl shameful — actually, I think if you want to find out what it means to truly love something bigger than yourself, talk to a girl — it’s more like I’m 35 and can’t properly function as an adult even in email.


Yup, sometimes I even use caps. And at a maximum three exclamation points.

I mean bloody hell people, I should just hang myself with Red Vines and call it a day.

Alright, that’s completely ridiculous.

We all know I’d need a fuckload of Twizzlers. Red vines are for people who have way bigger problems than punctuation. Mainly, shitty taste.

Unless you like Red Vines.

I noticed my exclamation point usage was unsightly once I started sending about three million emails a day, and signed every single one of them with “Thanks!!!” And then I just kept doing it.

I justified all of this by thinking of my email self as a “persona.” And this person, who I guess is like me but also unlike me, gives joy to the world one email at a time.

Which made it all dark comedy.

If my email punctuation habits were a Journey song, they’d go:

Just a small town middle-aged girl
Living in a lonely world
She over-punctuated the email chain, everywhere

I hope you deeply appreciate how clever I am because I’m starting to have doubts the Journey lyrics won’t break the Internet in the way I was convinced they would three minutes ago.

And that right there is just a snapshot into the hell of what it’s like to be me — needy and deeply selfish with a garnish of neurosis for shits and giggles.

Tommy gun exclamation points, stand.

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