Archives for posts with tag: language

You can call me a “survivor”. If I am alive, I consider myself to be surviving. I hope this is true for a long long time. I know that for many, it is not.

You can call me a “warrior” but I’m not fighting anyone. I am a pacifist, after all. War is a battle fought between peoples.

You can call me, “victorious” over cancer. The best I can be at this point is “no evidence of disease”. That is a gray area, to be sure. A victory is not the same as, “no evidence of defeat”.

You can describe cancer with other human metaphors, a thief, a rapist, a robber. To me, it is a disease, a natural disaster that works from the inside. It is a disease that is very good at reproduction. It is not sentient. It has no will, just a way.

Words are powerful. Cancer is more powerful than words.

But people have a will, people have a way, science. People have compassion and drive to help others.

When there is a cure for breast cancer, you can call me anything you please. Because the only words that will matter are, “Thank you.”

I remember the thrill of discovery when I was in high school German class. There was a second person plural tense, “You all”.

I was raised in the northwest of the U.S. We are considered to have “no accent”, if that is such a thing. In any event, the closest we have to a plural second person is, “You guys.” As a feminist and inclusive person, that convention leaves much to be desired. But when I was learning tenses from Frau Johnson, my high school German teacher, I learned of the miracle of a second person plural tense. How cool was that?

When I moved to the South, I was inundated with this tense, “Y’all.” Again, how cool was that?. But as a person from Seattle, I really couldn’t pull off, “Y’all.” I just didn’t have the cred for that. Although I did acquire a Southern accent while I lived in North Carolina for six years and northern Florida for one year, I thought saying, “Y’all” was not genuine for me. I did not acquire my accent purposefully and it was not a full Southern accent. Throwing out the term, “Y’all” would classify as being a poser. (Yes, I could write “poseur” but since I do not know French, doing so would make me a “poser” twice over.) It was too different from my native dialect.

But I liked the tense. It appealed to my logic as well as my inclusive sensibilities. Consequently, I settled on, “You all.”

Yes, it is pretty nerdy but so am I. And I am not a real Southerner. But I can say, “you all.”

Time and time again I put my feelings and thoughts out on this blog. Sometimes, and rather recently, I have the fear that I am a big whiner. But I also know that many of us do not disclose our complaints, our fears, our anger, or our sadness because we fear that we are to “get over it” by now.

Yesterday, I posted about my anger and my anxiety. It is not overwhelming but it is unpredictable, bothersome, and sometimes scary. A number of you out there, people whom I’ve never met, responded with a great deal of emotional support.

My first response was regret that I had caused you worry. And then I remembered the many times during which I have been happy to offer another support when he/she was having hard times. I remembered that seeking support in each other is not just a part of life but it is also a beautiful part of life.

I have a lot of gratitude and I would like to say to you all. You all are sweet. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Art, Science, Heart ❥

journals of a mature student nurse

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George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (


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