In my quest to learn languages, I have fallen deeper in love with my own. I am not referring to the syntax of American Standard with its confusing homophones and homonyms. I am referring to Black Girl Magic and the underestimated power it holds. Black Girl Magic* is a mix of AAVE and American Standard. It is literary, it is poetic. It is scriptural, it is spiritual. It is bathed in hyperboles and founded upon metaphors. It adorns itself with proverbs and pop culture, blending with the slang of the Black LGBTQ ballroom world. It supports and empowers. It channels Lemonade in its power of expression, and its beauty sings praises to the Most High. It comes hidden within big hair and pressed curls, tucked away under wigs and clings to relaxed roots. It can be found embedded in the labels of Shea Moisture and Cantu creams. Its complexity lies in the million translations of “YAS” and “Girl”. It is undefinable.
I’ve written about loneliness before, and it comes not just in lack of personal interactions, but in lack of hearing and understanding something as your own. For me, “te amo”does not hold my heart like “I love you” does, the same way I can only recite the Lord’s Prayer from the New King James Version. A beautiful warmth lies in the familiarity of language when tones and lexicon strike not only eardrums but heartstrings.
When they came, they spoke as I had not in months. The colored language so vividly painted the sky as it erupted amidst laughter. In a land not its own, it stood confidently, daring defiance or challenge. It at once sounded familiar and foreign. And on a (personal) rocky boat, it assured my footing.
They say that you slide into different personalities when you change languages. In French, I am confident and suave. In Spanish, I am reserved but eager. In Portuguese, I am melodic and flowing.
Under the tongue of Black Girl Magic, I am life exuding.