“I say see it to believe it. Ghosts shows up to some people, and some people they don’t. But I’m not scared of ’em. I’m more scared of live. But hags, that’s real. When you get to old age, you turn a hag. Hags come to your house and hag your children. Children can’t sleep, or a hag take somebody child and put ’em under the bed. Sometime a hag sit on you and keep you from getting up, try to smother you.”
—Janie Hunter, interviewed for Ain’t You Got A Right to the Tree of Life?, 1966.
It’s refreshing to think that a foreign language might not have words to express a concept that is toxic in ours. Our language, presumably, being English. (Mine is.) And it’s all I’ve got. I don’t speak any other. But if I did, I would want it to be a language in which there were no possible way to say this: I hate myself.
I would like to speak a language in which that concept couldn’t even exist. No way to say it, no way to think it. And therefore the children wouldn’t be able to learn that feeling, as young innocents, and teach it to each other. This comes in order: feel it first–i hate myself–then spread it around to the other kids, depending on the strength of your charisma and charm. Just a little jeering or scorn amongst friends and peers, and voila! But don’t blame the friends and peers, they didn’t create the language, or the world from which it sprang.
Luckily, we all survive these vicious thoughts and feelings.
(Most of us do.)
We just carry the self-hatred around in our purses, in our briefcases, in our back-pockets. In a paper bag with a beer. We shower with it, always. If we are in a restaurant, or at a party, it comes to the bathroom with us. You wouldn’t want to leave it at the table with your friends and peers. No, it might hear something horrible, which would feed it, make it stronger. It’s strong enough already, thank you very much.
I need to find that other language and go live in it.
Art= self-portraits by Rembrandt