Having grown up in a culture other than the one my parents grew up in, I have a mixture of the two that is the definition of me.
It has been almost 5 years (4 Years 10 months 10 days, and I've lost count of the hours now...) since I left the culture that I grew up in. I have used the language only slightly since then. I keep some parts of it up in songs, thoughts, dreams, and occasional reading of letters that people had/have since then given me. I have felt the steady decline of less-used words. Things don't come as easily, and I sometimes stayed for hours, trying to translate "simple" words that I had completely lost the meanings of. Then, there are the times where random words fly at me, and I instinctively "know" what they mean...and then I begin to question myself. I roll the words around on my tongue, finger the meaning, and try to remember if I was really sure as to its meaning.
Opening my Cebuano Bible is a rare occasion. Every time I do I am confronted with words which I never really understood. I am still somewhat ashamed of how I stuck with the slang, but not that the old words were used that much either. Englisera and mishmash had taken the place of a lot of "functional words". Religious terms thought up/applied by the original Bible/song translators have little normal use in the first place. Almost like a ghetto child would hardly be able to comprehend the meaning of an KJV passage.
Last night, I was suddenly struck with a mental image that I knew I needed to turn into a poem. The problem is, that the image was in Cebuano (don't ask me how, it was), and I could not get the words out of my head. I "knew" but I could not form it into a cohesive word package.
It was then I realised that I was TRANSLATING. I was taking english expressions, phrases, the turn of the words....I was trying to fit them into this Cebuano picture. I could not help but burst into tears. It was like I had lost a peice of myself. I could no longer meld into my other half, the side of me that was brown, with brown eyes and black hair, the side that gets goose-bumps (it had happened) when the temperature is below 65, and others are working up a sweat. Next thing that will happen is that I will forget how to swim!!!!!!!!!!!
Then as I cried, a little voice started coming through. I wrote out the most lovely poem I have ever written. It was a heart-poem in my heart-language (one of them, at least). It came for someone who was struggling. It came from someone who was struggling.
Our struggles make us. Our struggles break us. Our struggles force us to take the little million peices to the foot of God's throne. Our struggles make us say: "Here, You take them, because I am at the end of my rope."
Life is a struggle.
I am in little peices.
Oh, and just an FYI: The poem is not available to read. I often find that putting poems up is a very open/vulnerable thing. When I am dead and my older sister publishes all the bad ones in a posthumous volume, you can look for it and remember.