What It REALLY Means To Be Trilingual

IDK, I think this is just going to be slam poetry month, ‘kay? ‘Kay. Anyway, this one’s lovely, and touches on a topic that fascinates me both as an English teacher and as a trained linguist. We tend to have this view that anyone who can’t speak ‘proper’ English is lower, defective in some way. But this erases the totally glorious truth, which is that NO ONE speaks English ‘properly’, because what do you even MEAN by English? American? British? Australian? Singaporean? East coast Australia or West coast Australia? Texan or Alaskan? Southern British or northern British? Etc. Like, linguistically speaking, there is NO One True English.

This kind of attitude also totally ignores the fact that different variations of English, even when they ‘mangle’ the original words/grammar/whatever, still have really strict rules themselves. I am, for example, totally fluent in internet English, which is a totally different dialect to spoken east-coast Australian English; while it might superficially seem like phrases such as ‘It me!’ are just being blatantly ungrammatical, actually there’s a new set of grammar rules at play which mean that while it’s totes fab to say ‘It me!’ (or ‘totes fab’), it’s NOT grammatical in internet-English to say ‘It amazing!’ (at this point; internet English even more so than any other variant, dialect, pigeon, etc, changes FAST).

There is no One True English. People who speak other variants aren’t dumb, they’re just using a different grammar system. And unless we’re all supposed to go back to speaking Old English (Wes รพลซ hฤl!), well, grammar systems change with time and geography. That’s just Language. So we can rail about the ‘declining standards of English due to the internet/migrants/texting/whatever’, or we can celebrate the awesome creativity of the human mind, and appreciate different styles of grammar. I think you know which side I’m on ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€ hehe.

Anyway, rant over, enjoy the vid, and your soon-coming weekend!! <3

You Are Amazing <3

It’s Friday the 13th and I refuse to think of that as anything but lucky. This is totally not related to today’s video, but there you are. Anyway, I feel like we could all use a little encouragement these days, and a reminder that YOU, YES YOU are awesome ๐Ÿ™‚ So here you are: a slam poem just for you, to remind you that you’re amazing <3

In Which A Stranger Makes Me Cry

Sometimes, you just really needed to hear it.

My kids are 5 and 2 right now, and they are both clever little beans, and super active. My son particularly is a little perpetual motion machine, and always has been.* So for the last two years, they’ve been doing swimming lessons as yet-another-way-to-try-to-expend-their-energy-and-keep-them-sufficiently-occupied. Y’all know my schedule tends to be packed so tight I can a) barely breathe and b) never afford catastrophes because they throw MY CAREFUL BALANCE OUT…

…but this is not, actually, a story of something that went wrong. The schedule comment is merely to contextualise, and to note that by the time I hit 6pm on the weekday whereon they have their lesson, I’m frequently a little frazzed. The actual lesson itself is fine (once I get over the almost-requisite being-5-minute-late part), but since I get in the water with the 2-yr-old, it means three swimmer-clad bodies to deal with at 6:30pm when we are all tired, in a crowded public change room where we often have to queue for the kids to use the open showers (though at least this means they don’t need a bath at home, and serves as their weekly hair-wash if I don’t get to it at any other point in the week ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ #MultiTaskingFTW), and then, because my kids are slooooooooooooooooow and everything is a biiiiiiiiig deeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaal when you are 5 and smart and tired, we usually have to queue for a cubicle so I can also strip off and change while they change, and look, it’s not aย problem because we’ve been doing it for 2 years and have our routine down to a fine art (requisite tears x 2 + 2 x optional bonus rounds of tears included**), and it works, and I wouldn’tย not do it because they both LOVE swimming (baby especially, who’s been swimming since 14 weeks*** o.O) and they need to learn to swim (this is such a compulsory Australian skill that most primary schools include a course of swimming in their sports curriculum each year), but it’s… a juggle. You know. I don’t mind it, it’s definitely not horrible, but it’s not the most relaxing 25 minutes of my weekly life.

So this week, I was going through all these motions as usual, had queued for a cubicle, and was just ducking in, and another mother came up to me.

I’ll admit, my heart sank a little, because the last time this happened it was a mother very politely and with much embarrassment on her part informing me that my son had been pushing her son into the pool >.<

But this lovely woman, looking – let’s admit – not a whole lot less frazzled than I, leans in close, and goes:

I just wanted to say, I think you do an amazing job.

I blinked, stunned, managed to beam and thank her appropriately, locked myself in my cubicle, put the baby on the fold-down table and instructed my son to set up under it, as usual, and promptly burst into tears.

I hadn’t been feelingย especiallyย frazzled this week, not compared to some weeks. And I hadn’t had a bad day at work, and I wasn’t feeling like I was teetering on the edge of sanity like I sometimes am. But Iย had managed to accidentally hurt Mr 5’s arm as I directed him out of the showering area, and the general frustrations of trying to wash, dry and dress two baby octopuses with Strong Opinions and Independences of their own in a crowded space on a tight schedule is always… well. You know. It is what it is.

And so even though I hadn’t been going, ‘Man, I could really use some encouragement right now’, apparently I still needed it, and it really hit home, and I am so, so grateful to this woman.

The take-home point is this: Modern Western consumer culture particularly sets us up to be in competition with each other – as men, as women, as non-binaries, as teens, as adults, in the workplace, in comparing homes, in our hobbies, in our social media. People who are united, gracious and forgiving of each other, always striving to encourage and lift each other up – these are not the kind of people who are susceptible to advertising, propaganda, consumerist values that drive corporate business. It’s not in the best interest of the people who currently run our society for us to encourage each other.

But we need it. Oh, how we need it. For the sake of our self esteem, our sanity – and, simply, our humanity.

So do something rebellious with your life: Become an encourager.

I bet you’ll be amazing at it <3 <3 <3

 

 

* Like, always. He nearly cracked one of my ribs in utero o.O

** One from Mr 5 at some point because he wasn’t listening to what he was supposed to be doing and got hurt (slipped on the wet floor, bumped his head, got soap in his eyes, take your pick), one from the baby when I wash her hair, and optionally up to another one round each while actually in the change cubicle because Tired and Wet and Getting Changed Is Hard).

*** Initially as a) something to do while Mr then-3 began lessons and b) as a bonding activity with my sister, who was also on maternity leave at the same time ๐Ÿ™‚

Dealing With The Blues

Extract from a random conversation with Liana Brooks on learning to live with negative emotions – sharing because…?? I don’t know? Someone else might find it useful? My brain is a weird place and I feel you deserve full disclosure of that? Something. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

this is different

it’s not bottling

i know bottling

i come from a long hereditary line of bottling

this is just… acknowledging that the feelings are there but that that doesn’t mean they have to be in charge, right

yes, okay, i’m feeling blue

it’s kind of a light summery aqua, not a navy, so it’s easier

but it’s like

okay

there is blue

this does not actually change anything

yay blue

hi blue

blue is fine

blue is not in charge

red is not in charge

purple is not in charge

blue is not in charge not because it’s blue, but because it’s a feeling, and feelings don’t get to be in charge

they get to help

lots

they get to advise

but they only get to be in charge when I decide they are in charge

and right now, nope, not in charge

so

yes, i see you blue

you are there, and you are blue

and you can go and sit in your little blue corner and be blue, and that is fine

but while you do that, i’m just going to be over here being competent

and you can join me when you’re done, m’kay?

/nod.

/endrandom.

#BeInspired This is a warning: never let the oil in your lamp run dry, never stop making your music.

Okay I promise I’ll give the poetry a break next week, but did I mention I am a total Fangrrl when it comes to Omar Musa’s work?? AND YOU GUYS. I GOT HIS NEW BOOK, signed and everything! So much happy!!! <3

So yes. Enjoy this one – one of his earliest poems ๐Ÿ™‚ <3