Visual & Written Story #1: School/Life Balance

Visual Story #1 for my art education class. In it I explore and try to communicate the significance of two major parts of my life: social and school. 

School/Life Balance

It’s only recently that the lines, the parts of my life, have started to blur. Converging in places and at times that I would never have foreseen. But life’s like that, right? Tricky. Unpredictable. I kinda dig it. Certain parts have started to overlap, others to intertwine and fuse as one. The more I am aware of it, the more I see it happening, the more fascinated and excited I become. 

So many of my friends keep work life and social life separated, and I get it that. But it’s become virtually impossible for me to do that. And even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. My personal and research interests in media literacy, critical pedagogy, and race education have become a part of my being, fused to (almost) every thought I have and action I take. Now, that is not to say that I’m always able to verbalize my hybridized thoughts; I’m not always able to push back on and challenge other’s comments that are ‘problematic’; or ask how a piece of media makes someone feel right then and there. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking it. And it is only this year, being back in graduate school again, that I have found a network of ‘allies,’ those interested in what I’m interested in; those whose lines of life have been blurred too. As a result, I have become more confident in what I’m talking about, and have subsequently created this personal-professional identity that now allows me to bring topics that I have traditionally reserved for only classroom discussions and friends from school into conversations in both school life and social life. This still doesn’t mean that people necessarily want to hear it and sometimes I feel almost awkward because at times I have difficulty code-switching in social situations. It is hard not to be critical when people discuss the bevy of reality television shows that they watch religiously. Even more difficult is having to bite my tongue more often than not when I hear bits and pieces of racial microaggressions spout out of the mouths of people closest to me. Some know I’m interested in “race” and “diversity,” but that’s usually as far as the conversation goes, and I get why that is. This stuff is not easy to talk about. And ironically, I often find it harder to broach such topics with those who are closest, perhaps because I don’t want to acknowledge the privilege with which we operate on a daily basis; so a big part of this is on me. It is challenging not only to decide when to push to back but also how to even begin to explain what it is that I do and what exactly my motivation and vision are in the grand scheme of things. Maybe that will slowly and someday change…but more importantly, I have an incredibly supportive family who do “get” what I do and want to learn more, always. It’s inspiring.

Regardless, I know I have found a passion, my calling. I know what I want to do with it, even if the professional title hasn’t been created yet. This is me. I am a package deal; school and life are all wrapped into one and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I finally feel like I’ve found my place, and though it may be vacillating between two sides, or more often joining the two together, I’m happy. This is me.