Bell Hooks took me on a journey today. The past few days have been full of work-related rejections with academic papers I wrote, one protocol and another a debate paper that I will dwell on another day. For now, transforming the language used by the rejectors is a profound passion. Bell Hooks reminded me of this. I am in the practice of freedom and language may be the deeply felt connection to rethinking how I deal with rejections, to reclaiming it for my own, even when it’s used to distract or keep you trapped as if you don’t know of all your untapped potential.
So I imagine language is always supposed to seduce you. Reduce you to nothing as it’s words intrude your thoughts, your being, you, even when used to reject you.
I imagine language is also supposed to be intimate. Fixate your thoughts to the way words violate you, or sedate you, as you anticipate the next sentence it creates, sentences that still may neglect you.
I also imagine that language should always be yours to possess. Caress too as it professes, rejections so intense, that no words can fully express, even as you try to digest the many ways words are used to suppress you, even upset you.
I still continue to imagine that language is supposed to be deeply luminescent. Omnipresent too as a weapon for every persistent resistance, even attempts to denounce you, that you can turn around in ways so profound that it astounds even you.
That’s what I am choosing to keep. The power of language. We have so little knowledge of ways to turn it against itself. We also downplay or ignore it’s essence as an oppressive weapon that can also be a blessing.
So I imagine that language is supposed to disrupt spaces too, interrupt oppressors that use it to only to obstruct where diverse voices seek to erupt. And so rather than speaking only in the oppressors language, I can be free to reconstruct language at my own will, not to destroy but to build me. So let me close in a vernacular that belonged to my forefathers and mothers.
I close by saying, language go have to change one dey. Even wen them dey use am to make you feel bad. Abeg free yourself. No be only them fit use this language too. Dem say your work no mata, no wahala. Show them say e go mata. No be them get this language alone. No be you sef too. The language wey I sabi speak supposed be the language wey I dey use all the time. Like for this tins wey I like to write but because I know say people no go understand wetin I write, that’s why I dey use their English. Yet many more people wey I know dey speak Pidgin English. I no say no be for everyone but if we go begin to change dey wey we learn from school, then people supposed to sabi Pidgin too. E fit help us all know each other better. E fit give us that freedom wey all of us dey look for. So even as I dey struggle with work, I know say dem no get anything where I dey because even the work no dey speak the language wey people I wan help dey use. And dey wonder why our work no dey last. How e go last when we dey use their language to talk to our people. Abeg may we free that mata for now. Instead, make una keep Pigin English and other broken English for your mind ooh especially if you dey in this business of health wey I dey.