“Great article, and I love your content, but just wanted to let you know there was a typo. You spelled ‘human’ wrong in a few places.”
“If you are going to spell it that way, how would you even pronounce it?!”
These are just two of the many comments we have received since I made the choice in my blogs and posts to spell “humxn” with an x (rather than its formal spelling, “human”)
Why, you ask?
To make a point, of course. And, more importantly, to make you pause for a moment.
Many of you already know I have a kick-ass editor who makes sure my posts sound as good on the page as they do in my head, so you know I didn’t just misspell a common word on accident. Knowing that, and seeing the repeated “misspelling,” makes you pause, if only for a brief moment.
That little pause is exactly why I use the spelling I do. When your brain does a double-take because the word “humxn,” a word you have come to understand defines who you are, looks wrong, it opens a door for me to share that, at least for me, the standard definition of the word “human” does not apply.
Humans are bipedal; I am an individual with six legs. “Humxn” fits me; it is my way of opening the door to talk about the fact that I am differently-abled, that I partner with a service animal to support my quality of life.
For me, the spelling I’ve chosen feels aligned; if my spelling choice offends you, please consider why you feel that way. Are you coming from a place of understanding, recognizing that the world is changing, that we are evolving and exploring what it means to be ourselves? In a time where the use terms like “nonbinary” and “gender-neutral bathrooms” are common practice, is my one-letter choice really that far out there? I don’t think it is. But really, my goal is to raise awareness, and the fact that you’re commenting on my spelling choice tells me I’m at least getting your attention, which kind of makes me feel like I’m already halfway there…
Anyways, my point is that we are all one big beautiful tribe. My hope, my belief, is that if we all have more awareness, then we will also all have more compassion, too.
I’ve seen the correlation between awareness and compassion before. In my experience, as an individual with a disability, as soon as someone becomes aware of my condition, they begin to show compassion and greater accommodation. In that moment, our relationship dynamic shifts. On a scientific level, this shift causes dopamine to release into the brain, making us happy to feel seen, safe, connected. So, given my mission of work-life alignment and mental wellness in the workplace, anything I can do to encourage this shift is in alignment… including changing the way I spell the word humxn.
Since I made this choice, many positive interactions have come from the conversations it has sparked. I’ve also received push-back from some people, as I expected I would. Regardless, I do not expect you to adopt my spelling or any other ideas I choose to share. But I am proud of you for reading through this blog and for opening your mind to why I made the spelling choice that I did!