This video and the following blog post deal with issues like cancer, disability, loss, and grief. I feel that these issues are a part of life, however, for some people, they may be emotionally distressing.
I want to explore how grief and disability can be closely intertwined.
Over the past few weeks, I have had conversations with individuals who still bear the psychological burden of grief. Losing a loved one is a part of the human experience. It is a certainty of life. Yet, despite this, grief and loss are often treated as taboo subjects.
My mother’s illness and subsequent passing was a traumatic time for my family. Her brain cancer was utterly unexpected, having no family history, and it irrevocably changed all of our lives. We are all forever marked by this event, and yet, bringing it up can sometimes feel impossible.
While I am at work, I need to display a professional persona. I don’t want to make people feel sad or uncomfortable. I don’t want my employers to perceive me as too emotional, incompetent, or unprofessional. However, during the first few years of my professional career, there was an ever-present cloud hanging over me. Grief, depression, and anxiety had affected my life to the point where sometimes I would feel overwhelmed and desperately need to retreat somewhere. As a result, I did not always present a cheerful facade to my employers.
These feelings are inconvenient when you’re trying to hold down a full-time job. It’s worse when your home is no longer a retreat for you but a place of sadness. Networking and carrying out working functions can feel nearly impossible when grief is weighing down your mind.
I explore a few of these ideas in this audio story, but I don’t think I have come anywhere close to a solution. I honestly do not know the best way to manage grief and professionalism because each person’s experience with grief is unique. Some people find peace and tranquility within their work. Staying busy can be an excellent way to process the complicated feelings of loss, especially if you are passionate about your work. The kindness of coworkers and employers can make a huge difference in your ability to work. A little empathy goes a long way.
- The Ocean: I had some friends visiting this week, and they brought their drone with them. Using their drone, we were able to catch this gorgeous Santa Cruz ocean view at sunset. I knew I wanted to present the Ocean as a metaphor for grief, so I thought this footage was lovely.
- The Vertical Video: Our assignments stated that we should not film footage vertically. I agree with this, and I have learned over the years to film horizontally. However, I chose to include this video because it was the last video I ever recorded of my mom. My past self was unaware of the horizontal-camera rule. So, this video is all that I have left of my mom from that time. None of us knew how sick she was at the time when I took it. I didn’t know that this day would mark the end of a chapter of our lives.
- The Interview: As part of my semester-long project, I recorded several interviews with other accountants to get their opinions on disability in the workplace. This video features my coworker, Alysia Cumbo, and she brought up several interesting points during our conversation that involved her journey with grief, mental health, and professionalism. I have asked her permission to use this video footage and am incredibly grateful for her time and help with this project.
- Additional Sounds: I recorded a short narration and included some ocean sounds to pull the video together.
I used the razor tool extensively while preparing this audio story. For my video transitions, I regularly employed the cross-dissolve while changing the duration of the effect depending on the segment’s tone. I struggled with keeping sound and volume steady and had to do some additional research to figure out how to lower the volume of certain portions of the video recording.
Areas for Improvement:
This project puts the “rough” in draft. I see a lot of room for improvement within this project, and I am looking forward to my group members’ critiques while I create my final draft. I fully plan on rewriting my narration to make the theme of the video more clear. I want to improve my video and audio transitions, re-record the narration for better sound quality throughout the video, fix the aspect ratio, and give the video more polish. I will also look into including additional or different footage, and I am open to changing the tone of my narration. Finally, I want to keep the video of my mom, but I am open to suggestions for ways to edit it. This project is important to me, so I hope to reflect that in the quality of my work. I hope that anyone who reviews this rough draft feel comfortable telling me how it could be improved.