Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Therapuetic and Emotionally Healing Workshop

Today I woke up and I was running a bit late. I could not decide on what to wear and I also needed to go get breakfast. After noticing that my cohort went to go get breakfast together I had to find other people to go eat with. After I managed to reach my destination I quickly ate and met two girls named Eve and Avery. They were nice enough to lead to me to our class since I get lost easily and I needed help.

When I walked into class I noticed that we had a guest who happened to be a male RA by the name of Toye.  I immediately knew that this was going to be an interesting new dynamic in our class to implement the male prospective into our discussions. We usually have a stable support group when it comes to discussing the obstacles that women have to get past, but Toye would have to be the only voice for his gender’s point of view. As class began we talked about how there are certain characteristics associated with certain genders such as women  being dependent or soft. Society has implanted an image in our hands before we even step foot on this Earth of what we are supposed to be like. Boys get race track themed nurseries with sports teams surrounding their cribs in order to preserve their presumed masculinity for the future. For girls they get dolls and everything on the room is ‘Pretty and Pink’ so that they learn how to emulate a “proper” women based on societies’ structure norms.We also discussed how women are trapped in these preconceived notions on what they should dress, act, or talk like and women who do not conform to those ideas are ostracized.

After discussing the assigned reading from last night I participated in a gender gallery walk. The gender gallery walk entailed going around the room and observing the pictures of how men or women are portrayed. These pictures gave me a physical  image of what stereotypes and prejudices women are stricken with. We also had to connect the picture to a course concept to learn how to think critically and eventually make inferences in the future. The overall goal is to come up with an action plan which I am very nervous about due to the fact that we have to present in front of the entire Leadership Institute at Salomon Hall—a large auditorium used to compensate for large groups. After class was over I went out to eat with some of my friends. 

After discussing our action plans my friends and I left and went to go get frozen yogurt and talked about how we are really starting to like going to Brown University. I am enjoying going to Brown University however, I am trying not to get attached to this school, because you never know if you will get accepted or not. I never want to become emotionally invested into a school and then get my heart broken by all of  putting my eggs in one basket which  would not be the smartest thing to do.

We got a headstart when we realized that the workshop was held at Smith B. Hall.
At first I did not feel like attending the workshop, because talking about certain topics brings up a lot of feelings or memories that I don’t like to relive. In the beginning of the diversity workshop we were asked a series of questions and had to go stand next to the term that described our daily life accurately. There were signs in various places in the room labeled gender, ethnicity/race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability/disability, and age. The objective was to show us how diverse we may seem but in fact we are all dealing with the same issues, but just in different ways based on cultural  barriers.  The group was asked to move to the sign that described one of the traits you are most aware of on a daily basis. I moved to ethnicity, because every day I find myself being a part of a small group of African- Americans in the room and I usually get excluded from a lot of cliques. Throughout my life it has been hard to make friends, because I am judged by people of other races and ostracized, but I am also left out by my own race based on the fact that I “ act” different. I have been labeled as “white-washed”, an “Oreo”, prissy, snotty, or stuck-up, because black people imply that I act like I’m better than them. People are surprised when they hear me speak and are curious to know why I am so articulate. If I am speaking articulately and excelling in school and this is seen as a predominantly white characteristic then I am not acting like a black person. I want to challenge that theory, because the fact that I heard this mostly from the people of my own race is a disgrace. I feel like the African-American community is so crippled and damaged by the ideas that society has constructed that we actually start to believe these ideas and raise our interact with one another  accordingly. I shed a few tears today based on the simple fact that I am frustrated with how I am portrayed in society. I met Seenia, a young African-American women, who was bullied throughout her adolescent years , because of her hair, skin tone, and socioeconomic status. She inspires me so much, because she is still a sweet,  kind- hearted young woman, who has been through a lot of torment but still has managed to come a long way. I could identify with all of the experiences that she has gone through and this experience really motivated me to make the best action plan to my ability. This workshop made me question if I was focusing on the right category when I decided to develop my action plan and now I have to contemplate changing  my plan entirely. I really feel as though by meeting other young women who are going through the same things that I am it confirms that I am not alone. There are people who face the same challenges as you and you should not be ashamed to tell someone that you need help. I feel as though this program offers me a substantial amount of emotional support which I am in dire need of, because I felt a bit homesick yesterday. I am happy with how everything turned out, because if I wasn’t here at Brown University I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to heal. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and  I have unleashed  this pain within my heart. I have been freed from the chains that have held me captive and prevented me from trying new things. I can now move on with my life and help somebody else who might be going  through the same things that I have. 
Healing One Step at a Time

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