Post by HLTD50 student KAKhalfan

“Listening,” by Shiloh Sophia McCloud (2011)

According to Rice, Chandler, Harrison, Liddiard & Ferrari (2015), “Being […] vulnerable […] means being present and honest with ourselves throughout our work, namely with our contradictory, unresolved, or difficult thoughts and emotions” (p.521). However, once I began creating my digital story, being present and honest became nervous and anxious. I find that being a vulnerable person requires more effort than often perceived.

A few nights before our digital storytelling workshop, I begin preparing all my belongings and props that I want to depict in my digital story. As I am sorting through a dusty shoe box filled with old photographs, I remember all the memories. Tearfully, I feel guilty that I had incarcerated these memories in a 12.7cm*17.78cm*5.08cm shoe box. Once freed, I insert the most relevant photographs and props into a large Ziploc bag provided by Dr. Andrea Charise. Perhaps my memories should be grateful that they can now see beyond darkness and confinement, though now incarcerated in a clear bag.

Through my project proposal, I knew exactly what I want my digital story to be about: My mother and her struggle within our ‘universal’ health care system. The night before, I met with my mother to see if there was anything I was missing from the script of my digital story. She provided me with some advice and I made the appropriate alterations to the script.


It is the day of the digital storytelling workshop, I am ready to be present and honest. I am really uncomfortable with the technology that I will be using to create my digital story as I have never used that software. However, the workshop instructors insist that they will walk us all through the process of using the software as well as be of assistance in case of any technical errors. They were. After a few discussions and instructional tutorials, the process began. It came at me pretty fast as time flew right by during Dr. Carla Rice’s mini-lecture. Her lecture really motivates me to express my story as I hear the first-hand experiences of the benefits to digital storytelling. Now it is time to express my experiences in my very own digital story.

I begin by taking photographs of my pictures and props. Though only my seminar class would be viewing it, I exhibit feelings of worry as if the whole world will see my personal story. However, I remember Rice et al., (2015) say, “At the same time, it requires a willingness to be present with others’ emotions and embodied experiences, to approach respectfully, treat carefully, and resist attempting master differences” (p.521). I understand that this workshop is not a place of judgement but rather, a place of expression.

Aside from my worries about potential technological issues, I am more anxious and nervous about reciting my script in front of a recording artist, a stranger. As I am walking toward the recording booth, I hold onto my beliefs that this will be the most awkward experience of my life. However, as I walk in and I am greeted in a friendly manner by the recording artist. I felt calm. As I close my eyes and begin reciting my script, all my worries are exiting under the door of the recording booth. With every exhale, I can feel my nervousness and anxiety penetrate through the walls. With every inhale, I can feel my mother’s presence with me.

After what felt like an hour (it was really 15 minutes), I am finally finished my recording. Upon exit, I was provided with a USB with my voice on it. Excitedly, I throw my headphones on and begin listening. Satisfied, I upload the recording to the software and add my photographs and props: my memories.

Before I realize, I am finished.


Once approved by the workshop coordinators, I throw my headphones on again and begin watching on loop. There are sentimental feelings about listening to my voice and the whole process behind creating this voice. However, not nearly as sentimental as listening to my colleague’s digital stories.


The stories some of these creative geniuses produced are astonishing and impressive. I am so moved and emotional. You do not realize what someone is going through until you listen to them clearly. We as society tend to only listen to ourselves. We have a tendency to judge others without listening to their stories. This workshop provided me with an understanding of the importance of listening.

Through this understanding, I hope to be a good listener in the near future. I hope to be a catalyst for change by listening to the stories of all the different individuals. I hope to be a professional with a mindset for equity and justice. I hope I continue to be a good person.

I hope to be a good listener.