Brains… and words

Honestly, this past week has been… well, pick a bad word.

I’m alive. Everyone I know is healthy. I have food and shelter and am in decent health. I have blessings and I know this.

Still, sometimes depression does swamp me and at times, it’s good to take a moment or five hundred to breathe.

Today was going to be one of those days but… life took a turn and well, just dealing with all of the stuff that comes with being an adult.

I hope you all are doing well. And that you take a moment for yourself.

Today is Borking Friday!

Fresh off his new bed, the Blond Potato was napping when his Auntie Jessica came over but once he spotted her at the open door, he was raring to go.
While we have good air quality (relatively) it still is a bit overcast with orange but the weather is cool. He came back not quite so fatigued but still needing some water because WALKING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.
But he is home, happy and content because he got Jessica scritches and belly rubs.
From his Aunt Jessica:
Gus had a fun Bork this morning! So glad it cooled down this weekend! Gus loved it too.

Code Switching or W(hy)TF Should I Speak Proper English?

I say “no worry” A LOT.

Speak proper English.

I heard this a lot as a kid. So much so it became something to live up to. I worked on it, adopting the clipped proper English spoken by some of my relatives (influenced by the British-imports in my family no doubt) and pushing down the Hawaiian, pidgin, Portuguese and everything else accents I grew up with.

Pidgin does have regional dialects, influences from island to island. I grew up on O’ahu but most of my family is from the Big Island… country side so I heard that a lot. I can slide into a deep pidgin. I know that. I also tend to drift into a casual pidgin when speaking with other locals or friends from Hawai’i. It’s not a habit. It’s more like a comfort food… like a mental loco moco. Easing back into that lingual shift.

As I got older, I realized I was in the same boat as many First Generations Americans (technically I’m First Gen because Hawai’i became a state only a few years before I was born.) We FGAs are told in order to be truly American… to REALLY succeed… we must sound for all intents and purposes, Upper Class White.

Common thing. Many regional and cultural accents are discarded / repressed in favour of this proper English. We’re told we’re stringing the words together wrong, speaking “trash” and in the words of Mrs. Brennan, my sixth grade teacher from Minnesota; “You sound like a grunting monkey. Speak English.”

I was speaking pidgin to someone at the time, outside of class and certainly not to her.

I hate that regional dialects / vernaculars are being suppressed and ridiculed. It angers me when someone says; Oh that person talks like they’re from the ghetto / they sound stupid like they don’t know how to speak. You know what? They’re speaking from where they are from. There should be no shame in that. And yet, here we are. Mocking how someone speaks.

But I understand. I hate that I do. I hate that we still have to smooth over how we speak in order to “pass” our English off as proper.

From Thought Co.

I do code-switch a lot. I have also been shamed for doing so. Even by some of my closest friends (usually when visiting an Asian restaurant) and I’ve sat back and listened to their words in my head, trying to understand where that comes from… why the shaming… why the discomfort or mockery of the “Asian half-English / pidgin” I’ll fall into when speaking to people I feel comfortable conversing using it.

There’s a struggle for me in understanding why. Is it like maybe speaking in a foreign language they don’t understand? Is it because they have no other base language? Or do they not understand that pidgin really IS my base language and my words are not strung together like English is. That it’s comfortable for me to slide into pidgin and I should never be made to feel ashamed for using it.

Because I will not be shamed for refusing to be erased.

See that’s what I feel when I hear someone say; Speak Proper English. Like I’m being shamed for interacting in a way that’s beneath them. Beneath their notice. I get all the perks you get for speaking English in the way it was constructed. I do. I also feel white-washed at times and tired of fighting to keep that English foremost and front-facing in my mind. Sometimes I just want to let go of the pronouns and syntax and clack-clack-clack of its rhythm and go back to the bubble-pop of my native sounds.

I worry we’re losing our muchness of who we are. Of where we came from. Of the us-ness we have right in our family because it’s frowned upon to speak anything other than “proper English” in order to pass in America as… a citizen. As if our skin colour or our facial features weren’t enough to be ashamed of, our language will mark us as foreign, as undesirable. Erase our names, erase our accents, erase our language… that’s what our parents and grandparents taught us.

I say we should never do that and yeah, I think if someone says something to me again about code-switching — even if it is someone I love dearly — I will gently correct them. Hopefully gently. English isn’t my first language and I’m not going to be made to feel less because I go back to my origins in order to speak to someone. I do lose English periodically. There are times when I am so tired I can’t even string together the words I need much less remember stuff like modifiers. It happens. I’ll even say that. Lost my English. Sorry. And it’s more of a… sorry if you didn’t understand me but not sorry that I’m not speaking it.

And if you have a regional accent, I would love to hear it more. I think it’s like verbal spice. We flavour our language with those tones and richness of spaces where we’re from. We don’t celebrate that enough. I want to celebrate hearing those differences.

Much rambling. More wording to do. Sleep good, okay?

Borking Potato Day!

Today was BORKING DAY!
It’s relatively cool today which is nice and the Borker went out clean and fluffy… and returned a bit grubby but happy.
As usualy, the Blond Potato had opinions about the world, the cats, and life in general and had NO qualms about telling his Aunt Jessica all about it. He probably also was giving her his take on bathing and brushing since he was a fluffy poofball heading out into the world this morning.
He came back, got water and lots of scritches from his Auntie before she left. Right now, he’s staring at his food dish with a soaking wet muzzle from snorkling in the water dishes around the house.
Because he’s a weirdo.
From his Aunt Jessica:
I hope Gus had a fun Bork! It was pretty nice out this morning, not too hot! I’ll see him Friday!

Pretty Is As Pretty Does… Or What the Hell Am I? And Why?

I don’t talk a lot about gender. Or gender identity.

Lots of reasons for that. Most of which are I haven’t quite dug down deep enough into my own id. And if I’m going to be stripped-down, nekkid honest, I always flounder about who or what I am.

I am not by nature an “aggressive in your face, accept me as I am” person. For some reason, a lot of people assume that means I’m a pushover. Asperger’s does make me flighty and distracted and sometimes laser focused on the wrong things so my mouth and brain don’t stop running at full tilt and I don’t see any social speed bumps. Coupled with a cultural inclination to keep a polite public face, I’m usually fighting between what I’d like to say and what’s proper and well, Asian-nice.

Apparently this has led some people to believe I’m a pushover. I’ve had someone tell me in an interview once that they didn’t think I could do the job because people would run me over.

As anyone who knows me probably for more than five minutes, you’d know they are wrong. Continue reading “Pretty Is As Pretty Does… Or What the Hell Am I? And Why?”

Last Day of Sinners Series Sale! Grab all of the books featuring Miki “Sinjun” St. John and the rest of the band for 40% Off. AND 25% off all other Rhys Ford books.

Final Sinners Sale Day! Grab the Sinners Gin series by Rhys Ford with Miki “Sinjun” St. John and the rest of the band! Series is 40% off AND snag the Sinners Anthology at its regular price of $3! Both Eng. and French on Sale!

BORKING REPORT! Monday’s Bork!

First off, it’s really hot and muggy here. Was a bit concerned about the rising temp but it was still cool enough for him to go out. The Blond Potato was in no mood to be denied.
Sure as heck, as soon as he saw his Auntie Jessica, it was a scolding bork for her to hurry up the walk so he could go! Not even a glance back.
He’s in his cool down and probably later, I’m going to have to give him a bath because I think someone put fish emulsion on their yard or something because he’s… hauna. That’s a good Hawaiian word for all of you to learn. Hauna (HOW-nah). It means stinky. He’s grubby and a bit… redolent.
From his Auntie Jessica:
We took a long shade break about half way through. I wanted to make sure Gus stayed cool on this hot day! We had a fun walk though!

Today was BORKING DAY for the Blond Potato!

Today was BORKING DAY!
The Blond Potato was MORE than ready to go today. And was very scoldy about the time his Aunt Jessica and I took to talk about where the waste bags were by the front door.
The garbage truck came by while he was on his walk but apparently that didn’t phase him…which is awesome because dudes, freaking loud and scary. But nope, he shrugged it off apparently. So a woot-happy day for the Borker.
Right now he’s doing his cooldown walk around the house. And came for scritches. Then rolled around because the AC is on, the house is cool and he’s snorfled in the water dish.
From his Aunt Jessica:
Gus was so excited this morning! So much energy! He barked a bit at some people but was pretty good. I hope he stays cool inside.
Best, Jessica