Part 3: “You Can’t Get Like Me”

“Language invites permission.” -JBH

My best friend is Sicilian. There are words she and her family says that I can’t. It is the for the respect of her, her experiences, but I don’t repeat those words.

They are not mine to say.

Most communities have trauma-inducing words: some language has a history of harm. Because language involves intimacy, acknowledgment, and intelligence, it is essential that we understand that they are just some words you don’t say. Or if you do say them, you have to deactivate the trauma, they may be within them.

Then the greater question becomes: who owns language? While there is no easy answer to this, there is a resolution to it.

The resolution to this is found in respect. The person who is speaking, who has the experience to convey their thought, and share their intimacy, through conversation. They are the ones who own the language of that space.

if you were not the person in the space, by which the language, the idea, or experience is geared toward or taken from, you are not essential to the conversation – you are a participant and an active listener in the conversation.