Author Archive

Dearest Readers,

I know it has been a while since you’ve heard from me, and this will be the last you hear from me on this blog. I love the time I’ve spent with Youthline Media and now the time is right for me to move on to other things. I am now serving as a Queer Educator at Lyric and will continue to work with transgender and queer youth, something I’ve written a lot about here.

You can find me on my tumblr if you wish.

Big kiss for Youthline Media.

♥ ♥
Vanessa

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Going to School


TAKING LESSONS FROM MY GURL OCTAVIA ST. LAURENT

Let me update you all on my week. I just finished 4 days of my orientation at California College of the Arts. It’s so weird that I’m starting college – classes start this coming Tuesday – I feel like I’ve been waiting for this my whole life, and it’s here.
I’ll be honest, after the first couple of days of orientation, I was second guessing my choice of school.. did I really want to go to art school again? Wasn’t four years at SOTA enough? Going to art school can be such a difficult choice – first of all, they’re expensive, challenging, and you have to be really motivated to keep up. The truth is, no one really wants you to do art, so if you aren’t passionate about it yourself, it’s pointless.

My purpose of creating art is to affect social change. I want to create art with folks in their communities and come up with creative ways of solving issues. I’ve been extensively trained in art and in community building, and it only makes sense to have the two married in my life. The reason why I debated with myself is that I wasn’t sure whether or not I actually needed a degree in art to do what I want to; could I be just as well off with a degree in sociology from SF State, which would also cost far less money and cause less stress?

After the week of orientation, I’m beginning to feel convinced that I am going to be glad that I chose to further my education in the arts. There is still so much I haven’t dabbled in yet, and I really want to open up the possibilities for what I can do – film, photography, printmaking, etc – I want to explore so much. Besides, I’m not majoring in fine arts or painting; I’m majoring in Community Arts, which is a unique program that definitely mirrors my hopes to work with communities in creative and artistic ways, larger than anything I can imagine doing right now.

So yes, I am taking a chance with choosing to go with art school–and I already forsee the many challenges and hair-pulling moments ahead of me–and can only hope that I’ll be prepared and have a support system behind me. As I type this, I realize that mid-terms are in a little over a month, week of October 11th. I’m going to do everything I can to keep up with the work and try to maintain my health and wellness at the same time.

Here’s to taking chances and dreaming of a better tomorrow.

V xx

“savor kindness because cruelty is always possible later”

-Jenny Holzer

visual inspiration

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Self reflection…

I must not be the only one who is feeling severe emptiness from friends leaving for college. These past two weeks have been kind of hard. Not only did my friends leave for college, but also co-workers and acquaintances are leaving for other reasons and it’s really weird to see so many people leave at the same time.

Before a couple of my close friends left, three of us visited my high school, and it felt so incredibly weird to be there again. We even ran away from our art teacher, just because we are that scarred. We only talked to a few of our teachers who we actually liked, and then we swore to never go back unless we had a concrete, specific reason, like for a show or something. And we probably won’t see anyone from high school until our reunion, which hopefully won’t happen until 15 years down the road.

My college orientation starts this upcoming week, and my term starts the week after that. It’s still surreal that college is almost here. I can’t believe how much I’ve freaked out over making it to this point in my life. I worry way too much, and dwell on things that aren’t that important. I’m going to try my best not to become an overly caffeinated, sleep lacking, cigarette fiend. I don’t know what my workload will be like, and I hope I have the clarity to handle it all. I really wish that I didn’t freak myself out about everything, but I always inevitably do that.

Overall, I’m at a point where I keep doubting and second guessing myself, and I just use my work to distract me from dwelling on my negative feelings. I don’t know if it’s a healthy way to cope with all the difficult changes, but I’m not sure what else I can do.

The positive side is that when people step out of my life, new people are supposed to step in. I guess I’m just experiencing a harder part of transitioning right now. I am really dramatic when people leave. You could say that I just don’t take it well.

I am going to try my best to take care of my body and mind, meet new people, improve my time management, and open myself to new experiences. I have to step forward somehow; the low will go away eventually…

V xx

See ya later, Kevin…

I would like to write a personal appreciation for Kevin Leung, who has been with Youthline Media for about two years now. He’s leaving for college in a couple of days, and I’m really excited for him.

Kevin was actually the person who introduced me to CHALK, which is YL Media’s mother organization. I’ve known him since freshman year of high school, and we had a friendship spanning throughout all of high school, and still going now. It is an understatement to say that Kevin has changed my life for the better.

He is funny, genuine, caring, and a great listener. He’s the type of person who will have a conversation with you about your issues, or just be there to listen if you want it, and he’s so helpful and deeply caring for his friends. At Youthline Media, he has produced shows like our Youth Shelters episode, updated us on many random scientific news on our blog, and represented as a proud member of the queer young men community. As an artist, it’s been exciting to see how much his photography skills have improved over the last year. I can’t wait to see how great his photography will become, and what his style will look like. I can’t wait for him to be the next Robert Mapplethorpe. I know that I’m going to have so much fun visiting him in Los Angeles. I’ll miss you.

V xx

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An archive of his posts can be found here.

Reminiscing on school and thinking about what needs to be changed

Apologies for the lack of posting, things have been kinda weird and crazy since I came back from my SoCal trip.


Idealized school with Karlie Kloss

A lot of people start school today and it’s hard to believe that year has gone by so quickly. I definitely remember the beginning of senior year and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever forget how it it feels like to be in high school or middle school. To be honest, I’m not one of those people who overall enjoyed those years of my life. For me, middle school was day to day dealing with adultism, feeling insecure because of others, sensing lack of safety, and being stuck in mediocre classes. And specifically, as a queer person, I would say that definitely my middle school was not safe or supportive for queer students and I don’t know if that has changed there. Yeah, I remember a lot of negative things about middle school. The sexism and being sexually harassed or groped by boys, race segregation, the horrors of gym class, no support system for students, and a lack of sex education at a time when students really need it. Sometimes I’m marvelled at how I made it through those three years. They were really hard–and for me, the best things definitely waited for me beyond middle school. It is undeniable that there needs to be a serious reform for middle schools and support systems set in place for students–if I had a problem at school, I did not know WHO to talk to. Sure, I had friends, but sometimes youth want adult allies, and for me, they were non-existent.


More idealized school with Karlie Kloss

I suppose I lucked out with high school. School of the Arts was not that bad. No, I honestly did not feel the sense of community that the principal had talked about during student orientation, but I felt okay, and it was great compared to middle school. There were a lot of people who annoyed me almost to the point of no return, and I essentially stayed with the same four or five friends all of high school, and that’s perfectly fine because I didn’t need anyone else.
High school was all about transformation, self discovery, and exploration.. most of which happened not because of any classes but simply because I was growing up. I think the most important thing is to be unashamed of who you used to be, and to continue to change anything you’re not happy about with yourself. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s how we move forward. Learn more. Try something new. Get better at what is working for you. Do something that’s self-fulfilling and makes you happy. Ok, that isn’t about high school as much as it’s about what I’ve learned in general.. but it’s important.
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