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Language Barriers

Personal true story (5-minute read)

“Oh my god, did you read about the winner-chill on the innernet?” one of the girls shrieked. “It’s like the biggest one of the error. Apparently the chill is even hitting eye-rack this year!”

Winner-chill? Innernet? I felt like they were speaking another language.

What was a winner-chill? Honestly, I thought it was when someone wins a victory and then gets to chill afterwards.

And innernet, as if there was an unconscious net on the inside of us, catching our thoughts and dreams.

Biggest of the error…eye-rack…alright, they’d lost me there. Lost as I felt, I kept listening to the conversation, hoping to pick up more clues as to what they were on about.

After about ten minutes of back and forth, I finally understood they were speaking about the cold spell that they’d read about online. It was one of the coldest of the century; even some generally hot countries in the Middle East were having an unusual temperature shock!

Winner-chill… winter chill. Right.

Innernet… internet. Oh goodness, I had a lot to learn.

Error was apparently “era”, and an eye-rack was not, in fact, a rack where people placed their eyes. It was a country, Iraq.

I felt so dumb.

For me, the English I’d learned was either through reading or watching legitimate news channels. You know, those channels where people sound “pretentious” just because they communicate to be understood. They don’t speak just for the sake of expression, rather their words have meaning.

In this situation, the language my schoolmates spoke was known as “common tongue”, a form of syntax and pronunciation that met the bare minimum requirement for English verbal communication.

At the time, I had not yet been educated in the use of this language, having come from a background where the English I’d learned at school was a watered-down version taught by teachers who’d studied it as a second (or even third) language.

At home, I came from a family of high-achieving academics who refused to “dumb-down” their vocabulary. I had no choice but to raise my standards lest I be sorely misunderstood by those in my physical vicinity.

At that age, my written expression had far outpaced my verbal ability to articulate. I would write about advanced phenomena that my conscious mind didn’t even comprehend, yet my mouth could not accurately convey what I knew I wanted to say.

Finally, by the age of twenty-five, a linguistically-gifted friend observed an interesting occurrence within my syntax: all my life, I had been speaking “translated English”. Every word I wrote mirrored the language used in textbooks translated from European languages, and those I spoke actually made more sense when reworded in another language.

It had taken me twenty-five years to realize why I’d spent my life misunderstood and displaced…

Language is like art, or music. Just because the creator (or speaker) knows the meaning behind what is portrayed does not necessarily mean that those on the receiving end can digest it.

You might like your drawing, or your symphony, but to someone else, that drawing might be a scribble; that symphony may be a cacophony.

Why limit ourselves to expression when we can work towards communication? If we are misunderstood, chances are, we’re using a different language.

Dialogue goes both ways, not just one speaking a “foreign language” and expecting to be taken seriously.

Learn more languages (or improve your English), you’ll find better ways to be understood.

Peace,
MG

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Self-hate looks a lot like self-love.

And the only one who truly knows the difference…is…

(Scratch that)

The only ones who truly know the difference…are…all the ones around you who can feel what you feel.

MG

Couldn’t, Shouldn’t, Wouldn’t

Here’s to all who’ve ever said that I couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t (and meant it).

To those who said I couldn’t, I appreciate the projections of self-doubt you placed upon me. You’ve taught me what it looks like to pass on insecurities that were instilled in your childhoods. From you, I’ve learned not to stunt people’s growth, you’ve taught me not to constrain them into walls, boxes, or categories.

To those who said I shouldn’t, I sincerely appreciate the caution and concern. There are some of you whose warnings I did heed, and for my own sake too: you were saving me from myself. But to those who were self-centered and not self-experienced in this regard, I appreciate how blatant you were about the lack of effort you were willing to make for me. It made it easier to gauge how much I’d exert.

To those who said I wouldn’t, it was always for one of two reasons. One, you thought my ideas too farfetched and overreached, didn’t believe that I would come up with a way to make it happen. You projected your insecurity onto me, and only challenged my intelligence to see if I’d push. The arrogance in me caved, at one point — always had to be right. Always had to have an answer for everything. I’ve learned, now, that when you properly define the problem and get to the root of it, the solution presents itself.

Second reason would be that you did believe I could come up with a method, but also that you could foresee better than I could how much effort it would truly take to convert certain dreams into reality. Thank you for humbling me, and keeping me grounded when I flew too close to the sun. Thank you for allowing me to soar, but not to get burned.

All of you, lovers and haters, makers and breakers, you’ve inspired me to be authentically me. I got caught up in the mixes of each and everyone’s insecurities, the empathy in me went mad with apathy until eventually I just reached an overload and shut down. I’m sure many of you can relate to this, we’ve all been in it together. We’ve all been running around in the chaos just trying to survive, figuring a way out, a way in, a way forward, a way backward.

But what if…what if we just…embraced all of it. It’s not about changing, friends, it’s about expanding.

My darlings, I tell you this from the heart.

You’ve come this far, not just to get this far. I did, I do, and I will do, again and again and again until it gets better and better and better.

“It’s time to more than just survive. We were made to thrive.” (Mark Hall)

Grow, expand.
Don’t change.
Embrace.

It’s less about finding yourself,
more about letting yourself be found.
MG