Language is a place of struggle
I’ve been struggling to find place and space for my thoughts through writing. I can’t. The more I try to consider my depression, the more alienated I feel from myself. Why are the words so difficult to recover? Why am I stuck on the flashing cursor, when I have so often turned to writing for comfort?
But here is bell hooks with the answer. I have no words to add, merely tears to shed reading this passage:
“I have been working to change the way I speak and write, to incorporate in the manner of telling a sense of place, of not just who I am in the present but where I am coming from, the multiple voices within me. I have confronted silence, inarticulateness. When I say then, that these words emerge from suffering, I refer to that personal struggle to name that location from which I come to voice…
“Language is also a place of struggle. I was just a girl coming slowly into womanhood when I read Adrienne Rich’s words, ‘This is the oppressor’s language, yet I need it to talk to you.’ This language that enabled me to attend graduate school, to write a dissertation, to speak at job interviews, carries the scent of oppression. Language is also a place of struggle…We are wedded in language, have our being in words... Dare I speak to oppressed and oppressor in the same voice? Dare I speak to you in a language that will move beyond the boundaries of domination — a language that will not bind you, fence you in, or hold you?…The oppressed struggle in language to recover ourselves, to reconcile, to reunite, to renew. Our words are not without meaning, they are an action, a resistance.”
— bell hooks, Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Practice
I live in a space of unbelonging, where each day demands that I begin anew the task of explaining myself. I cry with those words because they see my unbelonging.