The Danger Of Being Bilingual

The Truman Show
The Truman Show

Language is a funny construct. It is the basis for our communication, separated and splintered over the world. There are roughly 6,500 recognized, spoken languages in the world. Language, however, is far more expansive.

There are languages made for emotions and states of mind. There is a language associated with being honest and one associated with lying. There is a language for hate and one for kindness. There is a language for acceptance and one for excommunication. For many people, these languages are not consciously tapped into. We naturally use them when we need them. However, there are people who recognize the existence of these languages and their purposes; this in turn allows them to use these languages as they see fit. Everyone can pretend to feel a certain way, but not everyone can be truly bilingual in this way. Not everyone can recognize and apply the nuances of feelings as they deem necessary.

For some occasions, being bilingual is useful. Being able to be truly emulate and falsify an emotion has its merits. A more harrowing purpose, however, exists for this familiarity with the languages of emotion. Deception occurs as often as breathing does, and being bilingual is one of the most effective ways to ensure the lie’s success. Why is it that we tell lies? More often than not, it is to cover something up.

Knowing the language of being stable and normal keeps people away from the damaged personas that are kept locked up. The ability to come and go as we please, never being identified as the truly broken individuals that we are, is a dangerous skill. In a very twisted way, it’s an art form. Ensuring that the structure of such an expansive lie doesn’t crumble around you takes effort and practice. Never letting the wall you’ve built around you crack and be seen through is difficult. You have to be flawless in the language. All of it. The words. The actions. The looks. The movements. You have to consciously put effort into making it all cohesive and natural.

You have to be truly terrified or ashamed of what’s behind the wall to almost completely give up your “primary language”; the fact that the language of happiness and stability isn’t your primary language in the first place is troubling enough. No one, or at least very few people, will ever hear you speak the language you learned through experience rather than the one you learned through the necessity to shield your fractured being.

So we go about our lives, a fake smile plastered to our face. Our words always appropriate and cheerful. No one ever the wiser that they’re conversing with a shattered being ready to just collapse, waiting for a reprieve from the intricate falsehood we’re constantly composing. People who are bilingual in this way get told, “I never would have expected you to be depressed.” We don’t attract suspicion because we have a gained understanding of what normal looks like. We know what stability looks like. We understand what happiness looks like. We know all of these things because we know that they are the opposite of what we feel and what we are.

You’ll hear the words we want you to hear. You’ll see the things we want you to see. We’ll use our second language’s words to drown out the outcries that we want to make. And that’s what’s happening behind our words. We’re vehemently wishing that we could just drop the lie so everyone could understand what our pain actually looks like. We wish we could show people the scars we have and how they’ve shaped us. We wish we could do these things. But we don’t. We’re scared or ashamed or some combination of the two. We fear that everyone seeing behind our mask will create an even more isolated hell than the one we created for ourselves. So we remain paralyzed in that place and dig ourselves deeper one word at a time.

We’ll keep speaking that language. We’ll keep trying to convince you that we’re something other than what we are. We hope you’ll see us. We hope you’ll catch us. Because we don’t want to keep hiding. We don’t want to keep using this language when we don’t mean it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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