I am What I Am Because….
“Hey. How was ya day?”
“It was fine mom.”
“What you do?”
“Nothin? How come you never do nothin? Make sure you clean up after that dog, I been watchin ‘em all day.”
“I don’t know I jus don’t. And okay.”
The conversations with my parents are very chill. I do not use slang around them but it is still like having a normal conversation. I was raised to respect my elders, and to keep whatever I learned in the streets out in the streets, which is the reason why I don’t use slang around them. That is what I have always done. I separated my family, friends, and business.
My family is from the south so we use y’all a lot. My parents’ language was never the best either, so I don’t have to try to be proper. I think that it is actually easier to talk with my parents more than friends and siblings anyway. I don’t have to worry about the slang or the cursing, so sometimes it is easier to get my point across.
With my brothers and sisters it’s also pretty chill talking to them to, but it gets really hard trying not to curse in front of them, since most of the time they do stuff to make me want to curse. But I’m not stupid enough to do it because I know that they would snitch on me in a second. Around them I learned to keep my comments to myself, and just say my smart remarks out loud. It pisses them off sometimes but they can’t say that there not funny.
Talking to my friends is completely different. “ Hey girl!”
“Hey boo! What you doin?”
“Oh my God, let me tell you with this n***a said to me.”
“What he say?” “Look at this text message.”
“Oop no the f**k he didn’t, n***a bout to get murked. And what chu say?” “Here girl read it.”
“ Yes! You let him know because….”
When my friends and I are together they bring out my crazy, funny side. Our conversations are hilarious, but we use a lot of profanity and slang. I personally do not use as much slang, but I still have to know what it means, or I will start to feel out of place. Even if it is my first time hearing it if I don’t know what it means I always ask some that won’t laugh at me.
The way my friends and me talk might be confusing for someone that has not been around us that long, just because we don’t always talk. You have to know our signals. Our facial expressions will say it all. We can have a whole conversation without even talking and just by making sounds and giving facials expressions.
I still know how to keep that side of me away from the side that I only show parents. I don’t think my parents would like to see how I act when they’re not around. I do not change myself I just show different sides of myself.
My business/ serious personality is also a main part of my language. Around teachers I have to be respectful because that is what I have always been taught. I keep that same side showing for my boss even though she has known me for years and knows how I act; I still have to keep it professional. I would never use slang, and will always pronounce things correctly and annunciate my words.
Your language is your identity. How you talk makes you who you are. My language is in categories from how I talk to my parents and siblings to how I talk to my friends and bosses. You always need different sides of yourself, because that is what makes you. In the book Borderlands/ La Montera by Giona Anzaldúa says a quote about language being your own identity. “What recourse is there but to create their own language? A language which they can connect their own identity…” p.77.
For centuries people have created their own language to communicate. That is what makes an identity. Slang is like a language created by people to communicate with each other. It’s something that people can choose to use if they want and something that is picked up on. My language is my own identity. It is how I talk to certain people and makes me who I am.