During February, we wove the theme of love through our weekly sessions: self-love, romantic love, love of others and community. We listened to the sage definitions of love from the mouths of four- and five-year-olds. We discussed how it takes it takes a child’s eye with implicit self-trust to say the truthful thing and at once love both self and other. And last week, we experienced empathy for someone we had never met by imagining the story of a character in a photograph.
Pairs of women wrote to the same photograph depicting two people. Each writer took the viewpoint of one of the characters. But the two women did not share their words or storyline until after writing it. Thus we had the potential for very different interpretations of the same scenario. The following pairing is one such outcome:
I am a happy boy from Afghanistan. I just found this ball on the side of the road and I just can’t stop running and jumping. It’s been weeks since I’ve been able to play with a ball. And there’s so many tricks I can do. See this is the best one I got – I can hit the ball off of my head!
But wait, who’s this girl behind me? She’s been following me. I think she wants to play with my toy. But no, I’m not sharing my toy. I’m having too much fun. What if she don’t give it back? This may be the only ball I might come across. Although having someone to play soccer with does sound so exciting . . .
I’ll just keep kicking this ball down the middle of the road and pretend I’m free. Right now I AM free. At least this toy makes me feel free!
Maybe I should just share with her. It’s getting kind of boring playing a lone. It seems like I’ve been playing alone for too long.
– CT channeling the boy
I am a little girl who stands alone uncomfortable, unable to play. I feel restricted to play freely due to the dress my mother made me put on this morning. I would have rather worn a pair of my favorite jeans that were passed down to me by my third oldest brother. I’ve been watching my brother’s ball tap off his head in rapid succession for months now. He’s gotten really good at keeping the ball from hitting the pavement. I know in my mind I should be the girl who wears the old faded pair of jeans with the left knee ripped out, just to show that even though I sit here and watch, I can bounce the ball off my head just as good. Oh, how it would feel to prove I’ve been watching and have learned. I, too, can play just like my brother, even if I have to be embarrassed to in my new uncomfortable pastel peach dress.
– TD channeling the girl