This is us. From us.
We have reached the end of the journey and before we say our last words I want to thank the nine other individuals who have decided to be vulnerable about how they want to be defined. Today’s final entry is the writer’s choice. It was pretty cool to read what people chose. Enjoy.
My biggest passion, together with soccer. It started before I was even born when my mom and dad traveled all over Europe while my mom was pregnant. I still remember the thrill that I felt the first time that I stepped on a foreign country’s soil. One of my goals in life is to visit one new country per year. To me traveling is the best way to immerse yourself in a culture. Before I travel to a new country I read about their history, their traditions and I try to educate myself to make the experience even richer.
“I could just snap you in half!” “You’re so tall, you must play sports.” “You should be a model, you’re so thin.” I heard these phrases growing up regularly. I didn’t choose to make appearance a main identifier, but inevitably it became one. These words embedded themselves in my identity. Basketball gave purpose for my frame , but otherwise I floundered to find a use for this body people talked about so much. At some point, my thinness adopted an importance of its own that I neither sought nor fully understood. My appearance, for me, is riddled with contradictory feelings: pride, shame; power, regret; confidence, doubt. Check out Kara’s blog: MyQuestionLife.com
Pitching used to be something I hardly thought about. It was just something I did. When I tore my UCL and had Tommy John Surgery, I lost my feel for pitching. It took 19 months of rehab before I was cleared to compete again, but pitching wasn’t the same. My mechanics no longer felt natural, and anxiety-filled my chest every time I took the mound. Some days I felt normal again, and some days I felt like I’d forgotten how to pitch. I recovered from my surgery physically, but not mentally, and that’s something I’ve struggled with and accepted.
I’m a part of so many important teams. It means sacrificing the me, for the we; recognizing that no matter how well I do, I couldn’t succeed without the contributions of those traveling with me. It means asking my teammates for their best, and reciprocating. It’s also recognizing when I am not at my best that I have people with the same goals and aspirations around me, to help carry me. When I am on the sidelines, I am as important to assuring success, as I am when I am taking the big shot. Every victory, ours; every defeat, ours.
My first language is English, but at home, my parents float easily between their native tongue, Tagalog, and English. They were intentional in their decision not to teach my sister and me, and I feel cheated by that. I understand Tagalog fully, but I struggle to speak it. I am devastated not to be able to teach it to my own children, as I see it as a missing bridge of connectivity to their Filipino-ness. Though I feel a tremendous sense of loss around this part of my identity, I know my parents made that choice to protect me.
Drew, Second-Team Athlete
I was never a rising star in any athletic sport but I was always good enough to contribute. In the world of sports, some would call me a role player. Growing up I played a different sport each season and never really focused my energy to be the best at one thing. I learned a lot about myself during those early years that has translated into my life today. For example, I work well with others, I can recognize areas that need improvement, as well as who is best suited to carry out those tasks the most efficiently.
In high school, I bought into the idea of the “dumb jock” theory. I could not have a different mindset about that now. It’s leaders like Lebron James, and Megan Rapinoe who have shown me the privilege that I have being an athlete in a time where social media dominates the world. Being an athlete gave me a platform to not only fight for what I believe in, but it gave me an early insight into different cultures, backgrounds and life lessons that I don’t believe I would have experienced in the same way in any other sector.
Russell, Music Lover
I am a lover of music! Especially songs from my childhood. Music that my parents used to listen to brings back so many memories. Some songs bring me right back to being in the backseat of my mom’s Oldsmobile Regency 88. The red interior and 8track player. There’s also a lot of songs that remind me of going out and partying with my friends. I like listening to binaural beats while I meditate to help calm my body. Music can change my mood and make any boring day into the best day of the year by playing the right song.
Talibah, Young Adult
Living as a young adult can be extremely frustrating. There are high expectations for you to perform and know what you want in life meanwhile you aren’t given the freedom to explore your options. Parents still feel that they are the authority when legally you’re expected to make decisions for yourself. I’m in a constant limbo of trying to respect my elders and doing what I want to do. Everyone wishes they can be in our shoes but we wish we could be older and have more control. It’s interesting. One day I’ll be wishing I was this age again.
I’m still not sure what compels humans to want to create art. Since the beginning of our recorded time we’ve picked up materials around us to create some sort of beauty, and with such fervor that it would seem to be essential to our living from an outsider’s perspective. And I think it is - I’d go mad if I couldn’t scribble and sing. At times, the ability to create feels like a cursed love, a sick joke - that pretty much all I’m good for is something others see as trivial. But it feels like touching God, so I continue.
Thank you for traveling with us.
Previous Posts in the Picture is Worth 1000 Words Series
Day 1: Wednesday, March 25 - Introductions
Day 2: Thursday, March 26 - Occupation
Day 3: Friday, March 27 - Skin Color
Day 4: Saturday, March 28 - Gender Identity
Day 5: Sunday, March 29 - Family Role
Day 6: Monday, March 30 - Socio-Economic Status
Day 7: Tuesday, March 31 - Sexual Orientation
Day 8: Wednesday, April 1 - Ethnicity/Heritage
Day 9: Thursday, April 2 - Religion
Day 10: Friday, April 3 - Political Leaning