This past Tuesday, I decided to do some filming for my project “Define Beauty.” Essentially, I want to discover what all different types of people believe that beauty is and isn’t. Part of this involves taping random people in a busy place. The setting I decided on was in downtown Stillwater along the St. Croix River.
Extremely nervous, I brought my sister for support. Although I only lasted an hour talking to strangers (and my sister did most of the speaking), I was able to make so good progress on my social experiment. Maybe this week I will get up the courage to go at it again.
Yet gaining footage for my project was not the only thing fruitful from our expedition; I also used a new coping skill. That is filming and/or photograph.
Taking videos or pictures help you to interact with your surroundings while taking a step back from them. Instead of engulfing yourself into an overwhelming environment, you are analyzing and observing it. This helps me to pick up cues and understand the other people and things around me.
Because of this, I believe that photography and filming can be especially helpful tools for those with Aspergers or social anxiety. From behind the camera, I am not nearly as afraid to talk with strangers. It is almost as if I have a mask that hides my identity. Suddenly, the mousy nervous girl becomes an artistic daring director.
On Tuesday, I captured the excitement in the park along the St. Croix. Geese eager for food droppings but snappy otherwise reminded me of my awkward stage of adolescence. The fluffy goslings were not longer babies but they were not adults either. Staying close to the protection of their parents, they seemed to long for their childhood. Perhaps they are frightened as I was (and am) of the future. Are they ready to fly down south in the winter? Will they be able to raise their own young? How long will they survive in the wild and what will they encounter? All teenagers ponder such questions.
This caused me to look at the human teenagers along the river bank. Often I struggle with relating to young adults. However, filming the geese and thinking about their maturation helped me to relate to the people around me. Petty annoyances with my sister faded away as I understood a little better what she was dealing with in life. Those years between infancy and adulthood are hard!
So, although I did not last videotaping people as long as I had hoped, I accomplished something I had not expected. I learned how to utilize a new coping skill and also pondered back on the rough years of growing up. Every day I still struggle with being an adult but I have grown so much from where I used to be as a teenager. Watching the families of geese and humans strengthened my ability to understand others. And I didn’t even need to look any of them in the eyes!
Here is the video of the geese, bridge and myself on Youtube. I even kept in the ugly face I made at the camera because of the sun. If I am doing a project about defining beauty, I figure I should be honest about how I look.