Choosing a Language
Self-expression, find out when you are you the most, find out what it is that you like doing, and pursue that something. Adah’s lecture was a ‘treat’ as Marc would say. She isn’t afraid of being her own person, at all. Very admirable.
It’s happened to all of us; wanting to find ourselves, to better ourselves. Some get on a boat and sail to a different country. “There, you can start again. Be whoever you want. Nobody knows you”. That’s what I did. The idea of being a whole new person excited me. So I traveled oversees for my fourth year of high school.
And my personality did take a different shape, and I did enjoy it very much. Suddenly, I was able to talk about topics I had never dreamt of mentioning and act in ways I had never imagined would suit me.
Once back to Italy, it was hard to explain to my friends why I had enjoyed my stay in the US so much. It had made a complete new person in the matter of nine months— surely they’d see that, right?
They didn’t or better, they couldn’t. I wasn’t a different person with them. I was the same old “Flaps” I had always been. How disappointing. At the time I attributed the reason to our long-lasting friendship. That was my only way to communicate to them.
Surely people at school, teachers, could see it, see the new me, right? Wrong. Maybe if I met new people, I could finally act as my ‘new and improved self’, right? Wrong.
I kept looking for that new and improved personality I really liked but just couldn’t find it in me anymore, anywhere. I came to the conclusion that people are different depending on the group of people they talk to or on the situations they find themselves.
It was only a year later, when I started university in the US that I realized it wasn’t the people, nor the situations, it was the language.
By not thinking of the English language as mine, by not really recognizing my own voice when speaking English, I was able to say whatever I wanted to — it wasn’t really me after all, was it?
I couldn’t but wonder if there were other people out there co-existing with two distinctive personalities. So I started my research. Slowly I found stories of people moving to different countries because of the way they felt when speaking a different language. We were all chasing a language.
What Adah’s lecture taught me is that we shouldn’t accept any compromise when it comes to our being. My next goal is to find a way to make sure language doesn’t dictate my personality anymore. I want to feel both confident as my Italian self and free as my English self, at the same time. Let the game begin.