An online space for queer, questioning, lesbian, bi, trans and everything else in between women at Yale

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Learning Vulnerability

Today, I spent what seemed like an eternity doing the final viewings for digital video. (It was four hours) I was the last undergrad to go. I realized about half way trough the class that I'd neglected to come up with a title, and settled rather quickly while watching clips of 'the student body' on 'RJM'.
My video was me, and the sides of me that only make appearances on special occasions, like drag ball, or spider ball. Oh the balls! wait...that doesn't sound right. No matter.
I've got no problem dressing up. I love when I get to be Roman and I love when I get to be Jules (which is what I have named by femme alter-ego). Really though, I just like being Me, track suit wearing softee that I am.
But this video was really hard for me to shoot and edit. I knew going in it wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but still. I couldn't figure out how to shoot party or night scenes as Roman or Jules without looking like a complete weirdo, and the lighting was hard.
But really the struggle came when I had to sit down and edit it. Sure, I had made cameos in my other videos but here I was literally staring myself in the face. More specifically, I was staring at myself three times over.
This was my well intentioned but perhaps poorly implemented attempt to tell a part of my own story, my own journey you might say.
When it came time to show our rough cuts (it did not help matters that I was down to the wire for time), I was so nervous I didn't want to watch it with my professor and TA. Maybe I was worried about the fuzzy line between critiquing my video and critiquing me. Mostly, it felt weird to let people so intimately into my head. Here are the things that I think and feel everyone, enjoy. It turns out, it went quite nicely. My TA made a joke that I missed because I was too busy vibrating anxiously. My professor pointed out some of the really well put together moments (ie, the ones I spent the most time on because i too was really excited about them). In short, I survived it, and came back to make some edits. This round of editing was easier. Thank God.
When we showed the final, my professor and TA were the only people who spoke, which I am unsure what to make of. I mean....comment on something really surface, like the sound levels or something. Anything than sit there staring at the screen, because I don't know how to read that.
Anyhow, during my professors comments, she said something along the lines of the 'party' section seems like it was intentionally created in place of something else (yeah...I couldn't figure out how to successfully shoot a party scene) which keeps people at a distance (which I like) but choosing to put real photographs there instead (hooray for facebooking for class) gave it a sense of vulnerability (i added a picture from senior prom for good measure). and i kind of just kept nodding because i was like "yes, ive shown it. i feel it. lets move on".

I was a huge cry-baby as kid. Cryin Ryan. Of all the things you can rhyme with my name, that's what stuck. I reacted very strongly to everything generally. Then, over the course of my development, I learned, got trained, what have you, to fight that impulse. And as I got really good at it, I swung too far to the opposite direction. I was really emotionally detached from things, or I still had those responses but I exerted a lot of energy to contain them, which, as you might expect, was no fun. One result of this has been to keep people at arms length. (This is a successful physical metaphor, because holding someone away from you on straight arms is way easier than doing it with bent arms- at which point they would be closer than arms length, but I digress). It turns out, your friends don't like it when you do that. So, as any good pendulum will, I've tried to swing back to some kind of balance. A place where I can be vulnerable without being frail.

So I realized, my final video, kind of like this blog, was a window that I opened onto myself. Now, people are welcome to see if they feel like it. Maybe even poke around some. I'm not opening any doors yet, and I imagine that's what you save for your nearest and dearest, but it's progress.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that's amazing... you are amazing. your openness to change and vulnerability is inspiring.