Capitalize You

Often, when I write letters, articles or fliers, people comment that I have some misspelling in my texts. Planning to share a lot of my Holistic Perspectives with You in blogs to come, I realize that I have to start with this question of Siljoy’s typos. And as I compile this blog today, for You to possibly read, You might think the same after these first two sentences? No dear reader, it is not a typo when I capitalize “You’s”, it is well intended as a different language of respect! And I’d like You to understand, maybe even appreciate it, so bear with me…

When I first returned to the United States after having lived in Europe for 30 years, I encountered a puzzling problem. I spoke both English and German, and writing my first letter in English since childhood, I got stuck very quickly. Experiencing the contrast between the two languages brought my awareness to a strange phenomenon:

All German speakers write “I” as a small letter “i” (ich) and always the “you” as “You” (Du), with a capital Y. (Actually, in German one goes even further by capitalizing all “you”-words, even if not addressing someone directly, like “Your book”.)

All English speakers always capitalize their “I”, but never “you”. As You can already imagine, that brought me into an unexpected conflict – if I would join writing the English language as I had been taught, I would have to make myself bigger than “you”.  I had written in German for decades, always making You bigger than “i”. Suddenly neither felt right anymore!

What should I do? Being passionate about living authentically and with integrity, I considered my options. Follow the laws of each language? That did not work for me, as I did not believe in these particular language laws (as much as I can be conservative when it comes to the use or mis-use of language). Capitalize neither “i” nor “you”? With this option I would have needed to give up the power of capitalizing a word, honoring a special meaning or value it might represent. So that was out of the question also. Lastly, I could give both “i” and “you” each their own big letter, acknowledging my Self as respectable entity AND respecting “You” as equal entity. That felt truthful and authentic and I have written all my English writings since that very first letter in 1992, capitalizing both! So no, no typos – just honoring You as I honor my Self with this very easy and simple language tool.

And You know what? As some people have shared their appreciation of “You and I” and followed my lead, amazingly, sadly, there have also been people over the years who resented my choice to express my respect with a capital Y. Not so my computer though…as I typed this blog, it naturally kept “correcting” the blog-intended small i’s (here again I had to change it). And the beauty for me is, my computer has learned over the years to accept all capitalized You’s from me. Will You, too?

With love ~ Siljoy