Thoughts and Feelings Regarding our Trip

Hummingbird's picture

Something about yesterday’s trip made me feel as though I was on the verge of tears all day. I had a hard time understanding it – especially because when I explained what happened to friends I said, “Well, it was just a tour of some of Philly’s murals and of Eastern State Penitentiary – and people do that all the time.”

I was feeling a lot of things during the trip. Something about guided tours has always made me uncomfortable, I suppose, because they make me feel like an outsider (it’s ironic that I work as a tour guide here!). This particularly struck me during our trolley tour because there was such a strong sense both of being in a fishbowl and of viewing the world outside as an aquarium scene. I also felt emotional because of the murals and their meaning for those who were involved (particularly, this is relevant when looking at the memorial murals).  I was struck by the impact on the community that our tour guide stressed because I felt in many ways he was over emphasizing it. I could see that there was no graffiti on the murals, but I also wondered why we were looking at graffiti simply through the lens of it as a negative thing (in this sense, the artist wall we saw covered in intricately designed tags was beautiful and I viewed it as a positive addition to the community, even if it wasn’t a sanctioned mural).

At ESP, my emotions grew even stronger. I was incredibly uncomfortable walking on our tour with the knowledge that this same space is used as a haunted house. In fact, since Dan mentioned how problematic she felt it was that we could take a place of real suffering and punishment and turn it into a spectacle, I’ve changed the way I thought about the haunted house program. After our tour of ESP (which I felt was really well done!), I went to the art exhibit and watched the monologues on the transgender experience in prison. That was something I’d never even considered when thinking about prisons and I was horrified by the cruelty that regularly goes on but is almost never talked about. Looking towards the future of our class, I’d really like for us to think not just about how we define prisons and schools, but also how we define women – particularly since “women” is in the title of our 360.

I’m also interested in exploring the place emotions have in our shared experience. I touched on it a bit in my most recent web even – which will be available just for our class – but I’m also interested in other’s thoughts. 

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jo's picture

emotions and shared experience

You said the same thing to me this morning, about being on the verge of tears all day, and it really shook me, so I was looking forward to reading your post (since we didn't have more time to talk this morning). In a way I was surprised that you had been so emotionally affected, since I didn't recall feeling at all similar. On reading your post, however, and in reexperiencing the day through your discription, I wondered if maybe the reason I wasn't emotionally overwhelmed was because I had guarded myself, distanced myself, from what we were seeing. I'm not saying I need to feel the same way as you, just that I'm surprised by the lack of emotional connection I felt. I'm glad you brought up this exploration of "the place emotions have in our shared experience" (and I'm excited to read your web event) because emotions have been playing a big role in my experience of the 360 and in a way have been taking over my life. In my web event I sort of touched on the intense feelings some of our classes have brought up and I know I'm not the only one. It seems that by nature, our 360 is dealing with themes that are very emotional, perhaps because they aren't often talked about and we therefore have so many suppressed feelings about them. I'm excited to talk more about this as a group, because I think that, because of who we all are as individuals and how much we are ready and willing to listen to and learn from each other, we can get a lot out of this shared experience. I guess I just want to explicitly say that I am open to sharing with all of you and getting more and more comfortable with expressing myself and any challenging ideas I'm grappling with, and I hope that we'll all try our best to listen and be heard. (I'm also trying to get over my fear of permanence and get more comfortable with posting here. but it still freaks me out a bit.)

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