As an individual that is a part of many communities, the one community that I am proud and blessed to be a part of is the Haitian community. Many of the people in Haiti speak Haitian Creole. Haitian Creole is a language that shares a combination of French dialect and African languages. It was formulated based on lath 17th and early I8th century French that is combined with Spanish, English, Portuguese, countless west African languages and Taino.
A statement that is well known and used in my community is “Wap konn jój”. This is something that is usually said to children by their parents or guardian. When translated to English Word for Word it doesn’t entirely make sense as it means “you’re going to know Jorge“. However, when this statement is said by an elder it signifies that the child that is being spoken to is in trouble and for them to get ready for punishment. In the Haitian community parents raise their child to be respectful and polite to everyone that they meet no matter their status and whether they knew them or not. Whenever a parent felt like their child was being disrespectful around another adults it would make them feel embarrassed and this is a statement that they would use as a warning.
As a little girl this is a statement that I would often find myself hearing mainly from my mother and grandmother. This wasn’t because I was a bad child but rather because I had a listening problem. I used to find myself in trouble with a mother for doing the absolutely opposite of what she would tell me to do. I was the most well behaved child in a class or any room, you would never hear a peep out of me but when it comes to me following instructions that’s when the problem would start. She would usually give me a warning by giving me a hard clear glare and by saying “fe respew tande”. Once again when translated this means “do your respect, listen”, but the real meaning is to watch yourself or to tread lightly. A core memory of mine would be the first time that my mother would say this to me as a small child. It would always make me laugh and I would respond back with “who is jorge mommy”, for a very long time the true meaning of the sentence would fly over my head, like many things did at that age. The first time I really felt the meaning of the statement is when my mother was sick and she was the only one taking care of my brother and I at the time and she trusted me to take care of a task on my own. Like the child that I was I didn’t fully understand how she was feeling at the time and the state that her body was in and I kept playing around and not listening to anything that she was saying to me and I kept playing around. There came a certain moment when she got tired of it and she raised her voice and said “ Map few konn jój”. This came as a shock to me because my mother was a very soft-spoken woman and that’s the moment I realized the severity of those words.
There are two forms of the statement that can be used when speaking, the direct and indirect form. “Wap konn jój” being the indirect form which means “you’ll get what’s coming for you”. While, “Map few konn jój” on the other hand is the direct form. The direct form for the most part is used to put emphasis on the person that is saying the statement. Which means that in this case it would mean “I got what you looking for”. This statement has such an incredibly wide range of definitions, depending on the individual that you’re referring to it can come out light-hearted or more aggressive. When this statement is said to children they don’t take it as hard as when an adult says it’s one other adult depending on how close the relationship is. a child I used to be around many adults listening to conversation I was not supposed to and I found that when they were giving each other advice, and one wouldn’t consider such advice, they would say this in a joking matter. In addition, this is a statement that I enjoyed hearing Because of the many different ways it can be used in a sentence.
Even though this statement is mostly used and said to intimidate or put a child in their place, It can also be said in other manners. It can be stated in a joking matter from a mother to a child as well as from one adult to another. On the other hand, it can also be said as a way to start a conflict. I have seen two adults start a physical altercation based on the exchange of these few words. This is a statement that holds a lot of power depending on the person that is saying it.
In conclusion, the statement “wap konn jók” is very important to my community due to the fact that it is one of the many statements that has been passed down from generation to generation. Many elders in my family that I have spoken to has told me that when they sit down and reflect on their childhood this statement is one that often pops up during their happiest time as well as their saddest time as a child. When I was younger I used to always say that I would never say “wap konn jój” because it creates too much confusion. However, now at 20 years old I find this statement to be a part of my every day vocabulary using it with my younger siblings or during an argument to add pizzazz or to make my point. I find it to be very essential for me to continue the very confusing get well needed traditional use of the sentence.
My journey as a writer hasn’t been easy, honestly it has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Inspiration is a fickle thing and motivation is just as much so. See I love telling a story and immersing myself into a world of my own creation. But creating those passions into a form in which it is enjoyable for someone else to read has always been a bit of a hassle for me. I learned very quickly in writing that the only way to get better is to suck at it at first. No amount of literary knowledge or subversion of expectations can make up for plain old bad writing. One thing I’ve learned about myself through writing is that expressing my feelings has never been a strong suit of mine, which is ironic. That is very counterproductive when it comes to writing because most good writing is just the feelings of the author prescribed onto the page. See, I’ve learned that I differ from most people, especially from most writers due to the lack of ability to express myself , I wouldn’t really consider myself a writer in all honesty. I always think if maybe my vocabulary was more extensive, if maybe I had more use of foreshadowing, and maybe if I just told better stories, I would be a better writer. But, my lack of writing ability stems from my lack of expression, it’s not apathy but rather inability at least in my own opinion.
I found myself dreading the thought of writing and English class. This is my third attempt at taking this class, without dropping it. As English is actually my third language, I have often found it difficult for me to put my thoughts into words. I always feel like my vocabulary is not as advanced as the other students , which in the end made me feel like my writing was subpar. Getting through with this class has been a real obstacle of mine. Working a full time job 6 days out of the week, I found staying focused really difficult. My main goal this semester was to use my full potential and actually try and enjoy the beauty of writing. Unfortunately , I feel like I failed that goal. I have learned many things through the course of this class. The multiple exercises have shown me how to properly brainstorm and break down each part of the assignment to make a perfect rough draft. However, as an individual I always expect everything I do to be perfect, I always felt like if my words didn’t flow effortlessly on my paper it wasn’t worth being read.
My favorite unit from this semester have to be unit 1, the reason for this is because it allowed me to be my true authentic self. I am a woman of very few words and it shows a lot in my writing and that is not something I am proud of, however, this unit allowed me to look past that. Writing of my home country and experiences growing up was very nostalgic to me and it made the words flow easier. I was so excited about the topic that I put my pen to my paper and let my memories take over. I was actually very afraid that people wouldn’t be able to understand my writing but I pushed that past me and was very happy with the end results. The other two units were very difficult for me because it really challenged my brain. Research papers were always my weakness from the very start, I never really knew how to structure it for all the information to flow and because I was so focused on the research aspect of the unit, I totally forgot about the personal aspect of it.I was having a very difficult time at not only picking my topic but stating how I related to. I spent most of the writing picking and changing my topic because I wanted to write about what other wanted to hear and not what was meaningful to me, which defeated the purpose of the unit because it was about me finding my beat. When it came close to the due date, I finally picked my topic and got to researching and writing, however, the topic that I chose was a topic that hit really close to home and all the memories and experiences based on that topic were that I suppressed. Which in the end made that paper, my very least favorite writing.
All in all, I found that when it comes to writing I have so much more to learn and this class is the real start of my writing journey because every unit has shown how afraid I am to really opening up to my audience. And in order to be a successful writer, you need to be able to captivate your audience and make them feel every word on those pages. I hope to be able to really unlock my full potential in writing step by step in my college journey and out of it.