This digital storytelling project might have changed my perspective on my life. As my final project illustrates, I had always seen my asthma as a burden on my life; however, I fought this feeling and decided to try boxing this year to test to see if my feeling was right or wrong. I had this inner quest narrative which I never noticed until I started this final project. I found that ‘sense of purpose’ that Arthur Frank defines as the quest narrative through my asthma (Frank, 2013). My stages of Joseph Campbell’s stages of the hero’s journey started with departure, when I first was diagnosed with asthma at the age of six. Then, my initiation stage, which are my road of trials, when I decided to start boxing, and my final stage of return is after making this final project, where I can proudly say I am marked with asthma (Frank, 2013).

This final project helped me to realize that I have a new relationship with asthma, where I struggle to breath after a long run but makes me unique and stronger as I practice running longer. This is very similar to Kirsty Liddiard’s video ‘Me & You,’ where they explain how their disorder has been helpful but also has been a burden for them (Rice, Chandler, Harrison, Liddiard, & Ferrari, 2015). Liddiard shows that the quest narrative is a conquering heroism, where the hero status goes from agony to atonement (Frank, 2013). My personal story gives the sense of a conquering heroism because I realized where myself with asthma in the world.

In my digital story, I wanted to portray my journey with asthma through a fire breathing dragon. Since asthma results in wheezing and feeling out of breath, I wanted to relate this feeling to drowning. I felt that having this fire breathing dragon in the water with me, as it drags me down, is supposed to make the dragon weak but in contrast makes the dragon stronger. This interpretation of the dragon dragging me into the ocean reflects how my thoughts of negativity towards myself grow deeper, making me drown deeper into the water; which I referred to as ‘my life’ because life events can feed into both the positive or the negative. In my life, I kept telling myself that I can never be active with asthma, even if I heard of many Olympian athletes who have asthma. These negative thoughts blurred any confidence I had about participating in sports and only got worse and worse as I got older.

This year, I started boxing to test those negative thoughts I had, and the results were surprising. I struggled in the beginning from a lack of physical activity however, progressed to pushing my asthma aside. I notice in my classes that I breath harder than most people even if we all did the same routine, but I found that my negative thoughts were all wrong about being active with asthma. That is when I found that asthma was never the issue; my negative thoughts I had towards being active is what blocked me from trying any intense sport. This realization is what I mention in my digital story of how this anonymous dragon was my own negative thoughts, which I called ‘my inner beast.’ I ended my digital story with this dragon, which started off as my worst nightmare, that became my best dream. Without my negative thoughts I would have never had the urge to fight this feeling and feel proud of everything I went through.

In my digital story, the visual content was harder to incorporate, especially in the beginning. I believed the words from the narration speak for itself, so finding pictures or videos were harder to incorporate. Then, when talking to Dr. Charise, she showed me there is power within a dark screen. Therefore, I kept most of the first portion with no visuals because it gives a stronger context to how much I suffered and gives the audience a visualization of how the dragon dragged me into the ocean. When I explain how my asthma is like my breaths getting shorter by the second, I gave flashes of my clock getting closer because I found time to be most important throughout my journey. I felt like as time went by, my asthma got worse, my negative thoughts grew bigger and I had no time to go back and fix this issue. I also added panting sounds to intensify this statement through the eyes of an asthmatic. When I explain drowning, I added an ocean and the sound of the ocean because it strengthens the visual of how this beast would drag me into the water and how the water would fill my lungs. I knew for the end portion, when I start talking about my realization and boxing, I would incorporate videos of me preparing for boxing and shadow boxing, which is when one throws punches in the air to practice different techniques. I took videos, with the help of my brother, of me taking my inhaler before practice, getting ready, running outside and shadow boxing shots. I wanted to incorporate many angles of the running shots because I continuously talk about running either away from a nightmare or from myself. I found this digital story to find the return stage from my quest narrative by helping me realize the problem was always within me but, I never wanted to accept it until today.



Work Cited List:

Frank, A. (2013). The Quest Narrative, The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics, Second Edition (pp. 114-135). Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Rice, C., Chandler, E., Harrison, E., Liddiard, K., & Ferrari, M. (2015). Project Re-Vision: disability at the edges of representation. Disability & Society, 30(4), 513-527. doi: