this is to address this colonizing understanding that continues to be asserted regarding my usage of the english language and how i utilize it in my work. this notion that i am simply lazy in my writing style. that the way i utilize punctuation/ or lack there of is simply ‘bad grammar’ and that i do not have the right to alter it :
i do what i want. because my relationship however i choose it. with english is mine. i know the difference between you’re and your. it’s and its. i don’t often care to make the distinction. i am aware that i misspell words all the time. often on purpose. this is not a marker of intelligence. the results of a lazy mind. or an immature reaction to english being the language of global colonization. it is simply an act of agency, which is my right. english and i have a history. a bloody history riddled with torture, abuse, and oppression. and so i use the english language, it does not use me. my altering and rearranging its usage is not a marker of my inability to comprehend its infrastructure. i have an english degree. i studied, took what i wanted, and discarded what did/ does not work for me. i did/do the work to find the best version of my voice in this language, and this often involves changing it to work for me. i give myself freedom in a language that was used to enslave my people, and is still used to oppress us and so many others. i studied it so that i could understand and find the best way to express myself in a language that is not my own. expressing myself. communicating is a natural part of who i am. i would still be a writer/artist in my indigenous language/s. but, as that was not an option, i wanted to find the most beautiful way to do it in english. but. do not attribute my abilities to do so to the overarching grace and poise of the english language. it can be a difficult, rigid, lean, arid, and unforgiving language in its manner. and it has been a long road working through it to hear my sound. it is a fact, this is the language that was enforced upon my ancestors, while theirs was burned from them. and it is an ill fitting and often painful inheritance. ill fitting for so many reasons, one being, it is the language of my mouth, but not my soul. i hate that it was and is used as a tool of oppression. i hate what it has done to and against my people, to poc across the word. does it have beauty. yes. but, how easy is it to remind yourself that the bars of a prison contain beauty when they are being used to imprison you. how easy is it is to appreciate something when you are locked inside of it. does its beauty outshine other languages. no. is it better than other languages. no. it is simply one of the languages on this planet. and so the issue of enslavement, my ancestors, and the scarring legacy of english with myself and my people is a complex, deeply personal and difficult one. what do you do when the colonizer language is the one you are born into. it is my intention in my journey as a black woman born in this country to seek out dna testing which will help me understand more of who i am and where i am from. to reconnect to the language/s of my soul. so in essence, my relationship with english is really none of anyone’s business. none of anyones affair. if you don’t agree with my usage, that’s fine. if you hate my writing, that’s fine. but, the, ‘i think you write this way because you don’t grasp the nuances and finely tuned details of english’ / the racism and oppression drenched, ‘you are not intelligent because you do not use proper english.’ / or the tepid, limp, ’ you’re trying to pass off your laziness as craft,’ are the very tools of this language that i find most oppressive and discard purposefully. when it comes to the english language. i do what i want. and it is something my people have done, with our gorgeous and innovative ways of finding new colors in this language everyday. ways that bring a life so dazzling to this language, you try to steal it from us. everyday. yet try to deem as ignorance at the same time. i do what I want and it feels incredible. so to all of you who like to enforce english on others, maybe if you invested in your freedom in the same way, you would have less time to monitor and police the purity and sanctity of the english language in spaces that are not your experience, and more time to be who you truly are.