Me: How is your heart?
Student: My heart. It’s a mix. It’s full of . . . mmm. It’s weird. It’s like a cloud full of thoughts and it grabs on to everything that come to it, but only expresses the good. But sometimes the bad just stays there. And it tries to mix the good and the bad to see what happens, and to see how it can function, so that it can keep nourishing me with things that will help me grow.
Me: It seems like it was difficult to answer at first. Why?
Student: I don’t know. It’s just thinking about it. Because you never think about it until someone asks you.
Me: When do you feel the most powerful?
Student: When I feel . . . When I know. . . I feel connected to my cause. And I know it’s going to benefit not only me, but others. And I know that nobody is going to do it for me, so I have to do it by myself. When I know no one’s there supporting me. It’s just me. It’s just that decision that is you. So that is when I feel more . . .
Me: When do you feel the most powerless?
Student: When there is people around me and I feel that I need them, and I feel like if I do something, they don’t like it, they are going to be separate; they’re going to leave me. I don’t know how, but I feel like when there’s more people, I feel like I might be wrong, and I don’t be right for them. Even though I know that you have to do it by yourself, I feel afraid for showing. And, when also when there is someone really powerful, it keeps you (student creates a motion of pushing down with her hands), and there is nothing you can do about it; or you don’t have the control of the situation.
Me: When do you find that you show your true self? When do you get to show your true self or you get to be the most authentic?
Student: When I’m doing something related to art. It’s like an extension of me. It doesn’t matter how. It could be music, it could be paintings, it could be poetry, it could be writing something, but if it’s art, I feel like that is my mayor honor. And I feel that when you express your feelings, things go away and I can just be me, because it’s just an extension of me.
Me: When do you feel that you are the least authentic?
Student: When I’m expected to say something or feel like something from the world. I feel like, like in school, mostly, I feel like I have to be in a box because I have to do whatever they think for me to do it. And if I don’t do it that way, I’m not going to get the degree or the diploma because I have to do it how is it right for. It has to be in that exact way – how they want me to be.
Me: So would you say that the time or the place you are the least authentic is in school?
Student: Yeah. Not by acting, but by showing my feelings in the work that is requested. Mostly like that.
Me: Who are you?
Student: I feel like I am a breeze that grabs from everywhere. I can’t say that my ethnicity is just Mexican, because my grandparents are from Spain. I can’t say I’m just from here or from there because I feel that I come from different places. My blood comes from different places and I was raised with a white, American, blue eyes, and I came to the United States. And I don’t feel like from here or there. I feel that we are all connected, and I feel like I am a mixture of it all, together. Even though I’ve never been in other countries, I feel that I have that culture and I make it a part of me. And I am, I believe I have a lot of imagination. I dream too much. I am a person that is more vulnerable than the rest because I focus more on my feelings and so then I feel that. . . .I am strong, but I feel that that strength comes from where my vulnerability lies. What makes me the most vulnerable, also makes me more strong.
Me: What do you like most or love most about yourself?
Student: Mmm? When I am with others I feel like they feel a liking toward what I reflect toward them. And I like to be with people. Not just being with people. I like to transmit things, and I am capable of doing it, I feel. That’s what I like the most.
Me: What do you dislike or hate about yourself?
Student: Sometimes I’m too emotional and what doesn’t affect others, does affect me. That makes me angry and sometimes, for me, not being able to do what I want, because what I think I should do and is right to do, sometimes I don’t do it. And that is what makes me the most angry- to know that I have an idea that I want to follow through with, but I stop myself from doing it due to other things. I don’t know if I am explaining myself.
*Post-interview: I think what I really mean is to not be loyal to myself, or to my principles.
Me: Are there any things that seem to block you the most from doing the things you want?
Student: Mmmm? Maybe the environment. Where I am. How people believe in how the world should be. Like rich, money and stuff. The illusion of something that is not connected to the earth or others. That’s what makes me freak out.
Me: What makes you strong?
Student: Probably, my own experience of what I have seen, and to know I’m not alone in the way I think. And to know that I can help others. There are others experiencing the same problems or worse, and they have overcome. Maybe the examples I am basing my opinion on, the people who I see and admire, and see how they were able to succeed. That’s what gives me strength – to see the examples of others in history. Not just examples in history. Fore example, I am a very religious person and the examples in the bible and all that happened, those are the things that give me strength, as well as God. I am a very religious person. I am a Jehovah’s Witness, and I feel if I wasn’t a part of that, I’d be somewhere else. In a very distant place and my ideas would be so much different than what they are today. I wouldn’t have as much vulnerability as I have.
Me: What makes you weak for feel weak?
Student: To know there are bad people that can control me. Or there are people who control more than they should. Excessive power. Despotism.
Me: What do you hope?
Student: What do I hope. I desire peace . . . for me. To do something that brings me peace. And to feel peace in the environment.
*Post-Interview: What I fear the most are nightmares that destroy my dreams.
Me: When are you most visible? When do you feel the most visible – that people can see you?
Student: Art (laughs)
Me: When do you feel the most invisible?
Student: When I speak. Because when I use art, I don’t use words, I don’t think, I just play, or I just paint, or I write, but it’s not my voice. It’s more easier to let my feeling go out than when I’m speaking. With my voice, that’s super hard for me because when I think, I just hold (motions with two closed fists toward her heart), I can’t do something. I have to say it and it’s more difficult to translate my feeling in words. Language is . . . it could be beautiful, but if you don’t use it properly, you don’t get the same response.
Me: Are there any other questions you would have liked for me to ask?
Student: Maybe in the future. Maybe when I realize . . . Thank you.
Me: Thank you. If you think about anything else you would have liked for me to ask, let me know.
Student: Can you send me the interview in my e-mail?
Me: Yes. I think it’s very powerful to listen to yourself speak.
Student needed to leave to her next class. I thanked her for her courage to speak, for her honesty, and most of all, for the honor of allowing me to see a little bit of her heart and soul.