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My Reflection of "The Struggle"

My digital storytelling piece is entitled “The Struggle.� It is about a bizarre dream that constantly reoccurs for me. Many psychologists believe that our dreams tell us much about ourselves and can help make sense of our lives. I never realized how true this might be.

In my voiceover throughout the piece I describe the dream, as best as I know how. My favorite reflective instrumental plays in the background. The hardest part was putting in the visual clips. I had originally started with different pictures and a different plan, but the story took a hold of me and seemed to tell itself. I soon realized that I would have to look elsewhere for meaningful pictures. Finally I settled with images from the main struggle in my life, my recent head injuries.
I had many problems with the images, trying to capture them with my camera. After many hours of effort I realized that I could scan the actual documents into my video. I went through the doctors’ notes and any other related papers and scanned them in. There are documents of the hospital visits and then documents of the repercussions from the head injuries. This may be a video that the viewer has to see more than once to get the full story. The viewer must be able to piece together the petition to drop classes, lost driver’s license, and AWOL from work, to see that they are all direct effects of the injuries. Theses start from the initial date of the head injuries to just a couple weeks ago. My biggest fear in putting this piece out there is that the viewer won’t be able to see the correlations. I don’t want my message to fall short.
This project caused me to stop and reflect on my life. When I finished I saw how hard I had worked. I felt how proud I was of my project. I also felt how afraid I was that my message would not be conveyed across to the depth that it was intended. I realized that I really cared about getting my message out there. This is quite shocking to me. When I finished and watched the final video I actually felt moved. And then I felt a huge epiphany. This head injury is not okay. Everyday I wake up and tell people that I am fine. I tell myself I am fine. I tell myself that 3-5 seizures a day is normal and it will go away. I tell myself any line that I can to make it through the day. But this is not okay! It is not normal, nor is it healthy. All of the struggles I have gone through are big deals. They are huge in retrospect. They are not okay.
And finally I am realizing that. I am not okay. These things are not okay. Finally I have come to peace with that. I am okay with the fact that I am actually not okay. I realized I cannot be everything perfect. The best effort that I can put in, even when it yields the best possible results, will never be good enough for me. I may not get better in this struggle. I may not win. But I will stand up and try again.
I am okay with the fact that it is a struggle I will never win. But I will keep trying because it is the only way I know. Until that day when I tie my ladder and manage to climb away from my problems this struggle will continue. My biggest fear is that I will only be able to let go of the strings temporarily. I wish I were strong enough to find a way out of the tunnel and leave all strings behind. I just can’t see that happening.
Even though one can make no progress in a vacuum I feel that I have. I have never been very artistic, which I think may be because I keep my feelings boxed up. In the past month I have learned a lot about feminist art. Today I realized that maybe the art is not about the art, but about the artist instead. I often forget that people make art for themselves, not others. This often causes me to be overly critical of others’ pieces. Feminist media is a liberal topic, well named because for the media maker it is liberating.
In the Reflections reading, Chapter 2 my favorite line is, “…their pictures are made, not taken.� I found this to be true on many levels. Although my images are not the average images being used in these projects I made them just the same. I may not have typed out the patient prescription information, but I did copy, cut, and highlight it, making it into the image that I needed it to be. I made each image exactly they way I wanted it to be, in order to portray it the best way I knew how. I tried to get the most out of every picture and I feel I succeeded.
The images were not the only thing that required my effort. The script I had written was too long and wordy, as most of my peers let me know. I shortened it and revised constantly. I referred to Lambert’s “Digital Storytelling,� Chapter 4 when editing. The mentioned index card activity had worked wonders, so I saw what else he had to say. Each section within the chapter had helped me when I originally wrote the paper, and it helped me again near the end. “Getting to the Scene� helped me move my piece along. “Character Studies and Personal Story� helped build the guidelines my piece needed. But the last section is what really gives my piece its true character. In bold, the third paragraph starts, “What works is truth.� This rule, which is often true in everyday live, is the foundation and underlying theme of my story. The truth is my struggles are not okay. It is the truth I was hiding from everybody else. The truth I was hiding from myself. It was the truth I desperately needed to see. The truth that I finally have.