The Dreamers, the Doers, and Me
I have a clear memory of waking up the morning after my first French dream. I don’t remember now what the dream was about. It was so long ago. I just remember the feeling of pride; I felt as if I had arrived. There was something about the language entering this state of my subconscious that made me feel an internal sense of validation. Language learners are always striving for the accomplishment of becoming truly bilingual.
In the end it is the inner measures which matter most, but we decide how much to let those outside measures influence our inside measures.
Bilingualism means different things to different people. For a long time the standard for bilingualism was set by monolinguals. Language learners were forever to be compared against a standard set by those who spoke only the “other” language. For a long time, and even sometimes still now, I would catch myself judging and measuring my worth as a language speaker against these external standards. At some point I made a decision to feel enough. Not because my language expertise reached a state of true perfection … I no longer believe this to be even a possibility for anyone (though I must confess my certification for « perfectionnement du français » from Université Sainte-Anne went a long way towards boosting my sense of confidence). There is something so strange about outside validation. In the end it is the inner measures which matter most, but we decide how much to let those outside measures influence our inside measures. I am able to claim the language now for the joy it brings me, and for the enriched sense of self I feel now that I am a speaker of this tongue.
I am grateful to many people who have shared their knowledge and cultural teachings with me as I have been a language seeker over these many years. I hope to repay them by holding the words close to my heart and on my lips. I will honour these gifts by holding them up, and dedicating both time and space to the language in my life.