I saw Breath Implants: An Evening of Spoken Word at the Multicultural Center at UCSB. I enjoyed and appreciated the performances, some of which were funny or serious, but all of which were personally meaningful.
I enjoyed Andrew Hamlin’s performances because he was so passionate and emotional, and I could tell that what he was telling the audience was meaningful to him. In his last performance, he talked about how growing up people would always say “boys will be boys” in response to immature, or reckless behavior that ranges from taking a cookie from the cookie jar to a bully spitting food in his face. So the term “boys will be boys” is confusing in what it really means, and it also justifies boys behaving inappropriately to the extent of abusing other people. As a gay man, Andrew has been insulting for his sexual orientation, and his assaulters were justified as “just boys being boys.” So at the end of this performance, he says to the audience “who will you be?” in response to the societal standards of masculinity that oppresses homosexuals and encourages violence and hostility.
Another performance I enjoyed was by Darcey Lachtman where she talked about her vacation trip to Australia because it was both funny but serious at the same time. It was obviously very emotional for her, and she played out her emotions in front of the audience how she felt when she discovered her breasts were exposed in a videotape taken while she was drunk. She pretended to cry, which I noticed a lot of people found humorous because her played out emotions. At the end, she decided to come to terms with what happened. She is unashamed of her body. But at the same time, she doesn’t want people to find it and recognize her. In our society, women’s bodies are objectified and shamed. On one hand, men “appreciate” women’s bodies by watching such videos of topless women, but at the same time those women are considered immoral and trashy. So I sympathized with this girl, because it really is sad to have such a video out there, especially knowing that she would be seen not as a human being (by men watching it), but as a sexual object (as our culture sexualizes women’s chests but not men’s).
Overall, I felt like each of the artists had great stories and ideas to share with the audience, and that the emotional expression was moving. I am glad I went to see the show and would like to see another spoken word show.
I watched First Person Plural by Deann Borshay Liem. In this film, she talks about her story as an adopted child in a white American family. She grew up forgetting all about her cultural heritage, and even her language as she adapted to American culture and her new home. She had a loving family who immediately accepted her as their daughter/sister, but at the same time she felt like something was missing because she knew nothing about her cultural identity or her biological family. Before she was given away to her new family, the Korean orphanage told her not to tell them “who she really was.” Apparently, she actually did have a family but was given away. She would have dreams in which she had flashbacks of Korea, and knew she had to find out the truth about her past. When she wrote to her old orphange, she received a letter from her brother telling her the truth and they were certain she wasn’t really Cha Jung Hee, and that her real name was Ok Chin Kang. So she ends up going to visit her Korean family, first alone, and then with her American family. It was a very emotional reunion, and her brother and mother ended up explaining why she was given to an orphanage. When she was young, her family was very poor. After the father died, the mother struggled to take care of all her kids and could barely get them enough to eat. So she ended up giving Liem away so she could have a better life and would be able to receive an education. At the end of the film, Liem decides to gradually get to know her Korean family, and fully embraces her American family as the family that loved her and took care of her.
Here, Liem is narrating her story about the feelings she experienced in the process of discovering who she really was. For a while, she was depressed and lived by herself. And during that time period, she had flashbacks of her past. For example, while she was driving, she felt like she could see the image of her father. Liem also details the hesitance she had in telling her American parents that she wanted to meet her biological mother, but how it was important for Liem.
Liem’s American cultural upbringing shaped her identity, but at the same time she yearned to learn about her culture and the family she came from. She was active in doing activities to fit in with the American culture, such as cheerleading, but at the same time felt and knew that she was different because of how she looked. Looking at her white family, she could not help but see the differences in appearance and wonder how she fit in. When Liem first visits Korea and sees her biological family, she is relieved to see people who have physical similarities.
The Korean orphanage gave Liem in the place of Cha Jung Hee who was actually picked up by her father. It didn’t matter to her family, because they accepted her as part of the family immediately. But, the Korean orphanage erased Liem’s identity completely by presenting her as another girl. It was said in the document that she had no family and that her mother died when she was born. So, Liem had to find out on her own who she really was.
I have enjoyed being introduced to different forms of art, even though it was difficult at first. It was overall a challenging but rewarding experience. My favorite project was the sequences project; I have never previously made a zine and it was cool learning how to do it. It was definitely useful because I would like to make more artwork in a book format. Because the projects for this class were so open ended, it was often a challenge to simply come up with what I wanted to do. So it pushed me to think of art in a different way, because I am used to either painting or drawing. I am still planning to focus more on visual based art than performance, but I appreciate the skills I learned from this class. I feel that each of the projects had deeper concepts to make me think.
I plan to go to LA to stay with my boyfriend, and visit my mom. Afterwards, I am planning on taking summer classes for session B & F at UCSB.. I originally didn’t want to have to take summer class at UCSB because I’ve been homesick, but I couldn’t find the classes I needed at any other colleges in LA. But it’s just for a month, anyways.. And I really want to graduate on time next year.
Towards the end of the summer (like in August) I might visit my dad. He lined up a job to take pictures of his rocks for me, so I feel like I should go see him to take that job.. He does want to help me out, and I appreciate it. I’m just not very close to him, and especially not to his wife.
I’ll take the time for much needed relaxation, but also will try to be productive and not lazy this summer.
I described in my diary entries what I experienced being visually impaired for two days. Overall, it was tiring for my eyes at first, and my eyes felt sore for the first day, even though I wasn’t doing much. The fuzziness of everything made it so my eyes naturally squinted a lot at first. I felt the need to avoid using the computer because it would make my eyes feel dry, but still read and just held the paper close to me. After not being able to see for two days, I feel like I appreciate being able to wear glasses to correct my vision more. Before, I would get annoyed because I have to wear glasses all the time, especially because I felt like wearing contacts was a hassle. But it is wonderful that such devices exist that can correct someone’s bad vision!
While being visually impaired, I regretted choosing this alternate persona a few times because it was a struggle simply not being able to see. But I chose to do this because I know that there was a time that there were no vision correcting devices, and some people don’t have access to them. So if I was not be able to correct my vision, technically I would have a disability. While I was visually disabled, I felt the need to be more careful about my surroundings even though I was only walking in familiar areas. I was not able to see peoples’ faces or writing on signs. And I felt that it was harder to find things in my messy room. If I was always visually impaired, I know that I would have to have all of my things in order to be able to find them since I can’t see any details, and that I would not be able to drive at all. It could also cause complications to not be able to see peoples’ expressions, although I did not encounter any within the 2 days. I could not see what peoples’ emotions were in response to what I saw, and it could potentially cause difficulties in communication. I just conversed with my housemates or boyfriend who also understood what was going on, and it did not affect our communication at all because I knew them.
I would not want to go without a visual correction device for an extended period of time again, because it was plain uncomfortable. I was so relieved to finally put my glasses on today in class, and it was a good feeling being able to see again. Sometimes I felt like i missed out by not being able to see things, because I could not see what was going on. Also, while passing out the slips in class today, I could not see who was who and had to ask where the people were seated.
So this was definitely an experience that made me appreciate having my glasses & contacts so that I can always see clearly andI realised just how dependent I was on having them. I know that not being able to see other people or read anything unless it’s right in front of my face would get to be even more difficult over an extended period of time, because then I would really be missing out. Also, I would not feel safe to be by myself in an unfamiliar place because I wouldn’t be able to read anything including what street I was on. In this way, I’d become visually dependent on having someone tell me what things say and where I am.
On Monday, I once again got up without my glasses. My boyfriend Titus was driving me from Alhambra back to Santa Barbara. As I rode in the car on the freeway, I tried to look around outside but everything was blurry and I couldn’t read the green signs at all. All I could possibly see was shapes. Titus asked if I could see something in the distance, which I of course couldn’t. So I closed my eyes to take a nap.
When we got to Santa Barbara, I had to go to the library to print my class schedule to attach to my work application at the Arbor. I tried putting the copy card into the slot to print the paper, but missed the slot at first and had to lean in closer to be able to see it & put it in. When I got to work to pick up an application, I could not see where it was (even though I knew the general area where it was) so asked the manager as I leaned close and saw what it was. I held the paper up close and write the hours I won’t be available. Next I went to my doctor appointment. I didn’t need to see because all I would be doing was talk to my doctor about my medication. But when I was walking through the hallways of the health center, I wondered a few times if I was going the right way since I couldn’t read the signs.
I had French class right before my artst 7a class. I was afraid of my vision impairment affecting my understanding of the class, but it I was fine, because I was having a quiz so the teacher did not write anything on the wall. I just read the pages a little bit, and then took it. I had to look much closer at the typed words, and it was more difficult to read. But I understood the material overall, so it was fine.
After this class, I went to my artst 7a class.
I brought my glasses just in case I decided to wear them for the final. At first, I came and sat down without using my glasses. But when class started I knew I would need them to be able to see the overhead projecter images. So I decided to break out of my alternate perona for this class so I could take the test and not. I was also curious to see the other alternate personas acted out, and wanted to be able to see what the TA’s were presenting. After not having worn my glasses for almost 2 days, it felt so nice to be able to see clearly once again. I got used to seeing things in a blur, so once I put on my glasses I noticed just how drastic the difference was. After class was over, I put away the glasses once again.
When I came back to my bedroom, I remembered what a big mess I left it. It was that time in the quarter again where I let my room become a huge mess. It was difficult to look at, especially because I couldn’t see where things were. I wanted to find a hairband to take a shower, and tried looking for a while, but gave up right away. I cooked frozen food, and wrote my first diary entry and struggled to hold the screen close to me as I typed. Looking back, I should have zoomed in so I did not have to look so closely at the computer. I minimized my computer use, overall, because I felt it would tire my eyes out. I then looked for images in my housemate Brittany’s National Geographic magazines for pictures to inspire my paintings. I When I found some, I read the manga Fushigi Yûgi, which I talked about in my previous entry about when I visited the arts library. It was not difficult to read at all, especially because it consisted mostly of images. I did have to hold the book up closer, though.
I could not wait to wear my glasses and be able to see again.. Pretty much since I started to not wear my glasses. I missed being able to see clearly, but at the same time my eyes adjusted to not being able to see well in that I did not squint as much anymore. It was as if I came to accept the blurriness.
I decided to not wear glasses or contacts for 2 days to correct my nearsightedness. This entry is about my experience on Sunday.
I woke up this morning and refrained from putting on my glasses, which is what I routinely do. I stored my glasses away in its case in my backpack, so I would not reach for it. My vision is -5.00, so without my glasses, I can see basic shapes and colors but cannot see details or read words. Everything is rather burred out unless I have something close up to my face. But it was ok since I was just walking through familiar areas. I ended up going to Wahib’s, a Middle Eastern restaurant near my boyfriend’s house. Of course, I would not be able to cook at all today with my impaired vision.
When I read the menu, I had to hold it very close to my face to make out the fine print. But I ordered what I usually got, the grape leaves dish. I was not used to having everything be blurry and not being able to see peoples’ faces. Back at my boyfriend Titus’ house, I played my Nintendo 3DS, which was perfect for my impaired vision since it was a small screen that I held up close, so I was able to see everything just fine. I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for a while.Titus cooked me fried tofu, and put the TV show Futurama on the TV. I found it to be blurry and hard to see since it was on such a big screen; the characters were all discernible, but I could not see their facial expressions and thus relied more on their dialogue to see what was happening. But it was still enjoyable to have in the background, especially because I’ve seen some of the episodes before so I knew what was going on. I did find myself wanting to be able to see, and read things though, and the background details were especially indiscernible.
I talked to Titus’ mom for a while, since TItus went off to talk to his dad. I mostly listened to her talk about growing up and her family. Then I went to bed, as I knew we would have to wake up early to go back to Santa Barbara. My eyes felt tired and more worn out than usual. I didn’t do things that required that much eye focus, but the fact that I was not able to focus my eyes led me to squinting a lot involuntarily. My eyes felt dryer, and on multiple occasions I missed being able to see.
While typing this entry, I turned down the lighting as low as possible because I have to look up close to be able to see what I type. It does strain my eyes to read the computer, so I have been avoiding computer use. I hope by not wearing glasses for the day, that I didn’t make my vision even worse because my eyes have to struggle even more to see.. But I decided to be visually impaired so I would know what it would be like if I had to manage without relying on something that would fix my bad vision, because there are people out there who are not able to have it fixed. Of course, I am not used to managing with my bad vision because I’d always wear contacts of glasses, so it is very uncomfortable to not be able to see.