WP4: Vulnerability

I never really considered myself a writer and I would often openly state that “I can’t write” or “I don’t enjoy writing” but that is because I associated the action of writing to super structured narrative. Meaning, I would follow the writing algorithm of topic sentence, body paragraph, and concluding sentence, which quite frankly was extremely boring. In high school, I did the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program which was heavily based on self reflection and extensive amounts of academic writing. Shrouded in the mission of IB was the idea of critical thinking, which although is a very important aspect of writing and a versatile thinking tactic, I used the term monotonously, shoving the word in every crevice of my writing to appeal to the graders. This made me absolutely hate the idea of writing as it was more about grades and less about the “meat” of the writing.

Upon joining this class, I wasn’t super excited about having to take yet another writing course that I oh so desperately wanted to avoid, yet I was pleasantly surprised by the completely different structure of the class. Since this course clearly stated the anti-racists statement and considered each students input for all the rubrics, it was very new to me as I was used to just following the teacher’s instruction. When we read Pedagogy of the Oppressed, it was clear that the feeling I had on the idea of “banking education”, which was more so the structure of my high school, was more universal than I had thought. The barrier of voice between student and teacher was very different and prompted less worry on the aspect about structure and more about self reflection.

From this new blueprint of class structure, there also arose a few challenges as this was new territory to me. It was often difficult to begin the writing as the prompts were extremely open ended. However, this discomfort was versatile for the expression of self and the encompassing discovery, that I have the ability to speak in a less guarded attitude, was also quite refreshing.

It felt like each new assignment I was unlocking a new level in the game of writing. As games go, there are always obstacles and new aspects in each level, but this was more about my writing voice, as I would discover and tweak as I wrote. One of the main obstacles was that this class provided a specific template that needed to look underneath the fluff of the stories and actually pinpoint true emotions and discoveries that I never really needed to openly state. Initially, I often relied on the drive of narrative as the relaying of memories provided an easier outlet to convey lessons I had learned about myself in the past, but with I was able to transition from purely narrative writing to more reflective writing.

With the idea of self reflection, the theme that expressed itself the most in my writing was the idea of vulnerability, which was something I never really expressed in my writing as it never really been common amongst the academic writing required from me. Tangentially, there was also the underlying support of speaking on topics that were typically considered to be controversial. Looking at myself, I have my own passions within the realm of film on the topics of censorship. The whole notion of censorship revolves around speaking out against suppression of information, as it implies that the truth is too strong of a motivator for the tide of politics and controversial topics.

With this in mind, it raises the question of why are things considered controversial if I live in a country that is so strongly stating our right to free speech? There is so much dissonance between people who fail to understand the other side of one’s opinion. How can someone who practices their right to free speech provide judgement for other’s who have the same right? It is through these questions that urges the idea of debate and more transparent, vulnerable writing on my part. Especially in this course, I used my sense of vulnerability as a tool for growth and understanding of self, as opposed to denying its entry as an expression to invite judgement. I felt this was especially apparent in my WP2, as I had never placed my truest feelings in visible words and hid them into the depths of my conscience.

Although it is common to read about topics that combat ideas of suppression of information within academic dissertations or opinion pieces, I never was on the side of the writer, as it seemed too risky. With this class, seeing the topics that the other students had written about gave me a more confident voice to speak my own voice. For example, I spoke out in one of my posts, titled Power Over Education, about the students in my high school calling out the acts of racism towards the BIPOC community the school has failed to address, and even more so gaslighting the students who did speak out. It’s obviously that I would have never been able to publish work on this topics during my high school years as that in itself would censored from the institution from the public. It is so often that stories are painted to be in favor of institutions. If you go on the website of the school you can see smiling children and the picture of the white marble mansion, clearly painting it as an institution of growth and inviting joy through learning. Yet, having been a student there, I felt I hardly had a space to breath as the work I presented was not my voice but the voice of the institution.

The feeling of having a voice, that I once was so afraid to speak on these topics, is extremely liberating. This class has given me more gusto to talk about my passions without judgement, which as touched in my WP2, had been a common inhibiting factor to my self expression. The “how” and “why” I think the way I do and what I learned from my personal experiences have come to the surface as I continue to practice my voice as a writer and express more vulnerability in my self reflection.

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