I love to learn new words. I find it immensely satisfying to dig up the etymology of a word so that I can begin to understand where it has come from, or where it might take me. I love testing out new words on my timid tongue, letting them flop out clumsily, or fumble around in my mouth. I love to think about all of the things these new words mean in relation to what I already know, or the ways they might stretch out and unravel in my lexicon. Growing up poor and having mostly horrible experiences with education always made me feel like I had so much to say but that the words just never came out how I wanted them to. Entering post secondary was a very intense decision for me, and kind of a big deal. I have quite complicated feelings about it now. On one hand I feel like I have been given the powerful ability to use language as a weapon. On the other, I can see how education is a powerful and pervasive form of assimilation. I often feel as though academia rips me away screaming from my working class roots and disconnects me from the very communities that have sustained and nurtured me. I’m not sure how to tend to this unpleasant clash of identities other than getting the fuck over my unhealthy love for nuance, or reading lots of Anzaldúa. The truth is, connecting to my poverty allows me to play with language in really interesting ways. I am totally over pretending I can’t hear that poor kid inside of me because they are sure as shit not done screaming yet. Learning about language and the places it can take me feels really dangerous in those atrocious and disgraceful ways that I live for.
- Majestic Legay