English is like Make-Up

Hiding behind a second language–bilingualism

Homework task: I as a writer.

I wrote my first stories when I did not yet know how to spell properly. So I substituted the difficult words with drawings in the middle of sentences. Poems, diaries, two novels (that patiently wait for my sporadic attention), blogs (Garment Witch and With Heart Mind and Soul) and random short stories are part of understanding life.  They are friends and foes alike: friends if I can use them to make sense out of the mess in my head, and foes if they are a mirror I do not want to look into.

As I grew older and learned English in school. I fell in love with the language. English lends itself to story telling, maybe because it is not as precise a language as German? Maybe it is because even with the most basic knowledge I was already able to tell stories. Yet, writing in English came with an unexpected benefit. I could hide behind it.

English is not my mother tongue so anything I write is slightly dissociated from my Self. It is like putting make-up on in the morning to hide behind a thin mask of perfection. English is a thin mask of not quite what I would say, how I would say it in German or who I am, and yet still me. The features are still clear but you cannot see the scars, the spots, and the shiny nose. So writing in English will show me but not quite. Writing in English unexpectedly created a safe space; a room to express, experiment, argue, be cynical, funny, and sometimes go outright bonkers. English is a space where repercussions hold the superposition between reality and fiction—never entirely true either way


  1. The only problem is, the more you speak and write in English, the more comfortable it will become. And at some point, it might feel more natural than your mother tongue. :-/


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