Yesterday I attended a much-needed event at the Harold Washington Library. Hosted by Columbia College Chicago Fiction Writing Department, playwrights Tanya Saracho and Regina Taylor discussed their writing styles and processes, obstacles as minority writers, and how language and words affect stories. I have attempted to blog about language and self- definition for a few days now, but have struggled to put my ideas in a context that would lead to the heart of why this subject matters to me on my journey of personal goal planning.
Tanya Saracho shared with the audience that her plays explore the border as represented physically and emotionally in her Mexican heritage. Saracho speaks of multiple languages that exist within her daily life: English, Spanglish, and Spanish. I relate to this as I find myself speaking various languages as well. After looking at a few definitions of language I have selected one that provided the most insight on why understanding language matters to me.
Language is the expression of human communication through which knowledge, belief, and behavior can be experienced, explained, and shared. This sharing is based on systematic, conventionally used signs, sounds, gestures, or marks that convey understood meanings within a group or community.
– National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
For years in my daily life, I have tried to balance my artistic background, my social activist calling, Chicago upbringing, and even my more formal management training. Each of these aspects of my life have so far, required a different language- a different tone, a different behavior. It has become exhausting, AND more importantly, I feel as though my authenticity is at risk of being compromised. There has to be a space where I can speak one language. A space where every single thing I do is headed in one direction.
In the essence of who I am- a solution seeker, a collaborator, a friend, a poet, etc. I decided that I needed a personal statement or focus that would become my moral compass. After a week, I have drafted a statement, a one liner. In continuation of yesterday’s blog, now when people ask me what I want to be when I grow up I will say:
I want to creatively impact urban change by designing sustainable communities.
I’ll let someone else figure out the title or job description….
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Below is a link to Dr. Phil’s website that discusses the importance of defining your authentic self.