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Updated: Jan 9, 2021

I’m thinking about the woman next to me, watching me journal. I wonder if she journals, and what she journals about, and if she too catches herself in her own lies and greatness.

I really feel like I’ve figured out the key. I think about how much I used to write about the outside world. Now I write so much more about my inside world and how it feels to be in my body. I’ve come to realize the more I focus too much on the outside world and ignore my inner, I end up fucking up both. Definitely learning that balancing act that we call Life.

Ebrima said some real ass shit, about children not being allowed to experience for themselves holds them back from experiencing Life through their own eyes. Then they end up becoming adults who are like 30-40 years old, still trying to figure out how to “rule the life.” I feel like the way he organizes his choice of words to say things in English makes them more potent. Because he says everything so plainly. From what I’ve learned about some African dialects, it’s just that. I find it to be remnant beauty of such an Original language. Plain stating diction that’s been passed and developed throughout, without institution or corporation standardizing it. Appealing to not the political or economic context of its culture, but by the humane consciousness of the people in that area.

I remember one time we got into an argument about something, I don’t remember what exactly it was. I may have been wrong (HAHA) but I remember trying to make my point anyway. It’s so funny because I really could have been a lawyer the way I am persuasive as hell at times, some would say borderline manipulative. But the real funny part was when he stopped me and said, “Niccole I don’t know why you people use all these words to say something without stating the very thing you are exactly trying to say. You use all these different words for one thing, and call it intelligence. You hide behind your words.”

And I was stumped. There was nothing I could say to it. Ironically, one of my biggest pet peeves in life is people who love to focus on semantics and peculiars, instead of getting at directly what is being addressed, or confronted. Like “YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT.” *ROLLS EYES*

And yet here I was, doing the same shit.

Learning an unwritten, indigenous language has taught me a lot, or moreso a little, about human nature, untainted. In Mandinka, you say “Sickness is with me” as opposed to “I’m sick.” And when people ask you how the sickness is coming along, you could be laying on your deathbed and still respectfully respond, “It is getting better.” It’s fascinating really, the way we somehow presumed ourselves to be more intelligent in the West. Yet, we use our words selectively in circumstances to manipulate and hide, but somehow missed the meticulosity in choosing our words to affirm positive outcomes. The way a culture can detach themselves from identifying with illness, thirst, or hunger can say a lot about them and the resilience bred in their mentality alone.

Words. Words, language, communication, and essentially relationship. It’s fascinating really, the way words, language, and culture evolve together.

What they can reveal about the people in it.

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