The Stories of Life


Corrected: The Stories of Our Lives

Video Transcript: As we live in today’s world where we pollute the Earth with our own trash, resort to violence for solutions to our own problems, or exclude others because of differences in skin color or sexual identity, I feel that it is important for all of us to take a moment to find a common ground between us that connects us and reminds us of our own humanity. The result of this process on the individual’s level will be a deep sense of empathy for one another, the fuel for further change and a cleaner, safer world for all.

Life is a collection of ambiguous moments, unresolved situations, and questions that do not have a black and white answer. Each individual lives their own journey, a story told through their very moments of feeling hope or despair. Through written anecdotes and recorded music, I hope to share and tie together some of the experiences that individual humans have gone through, from the little, joyous moments of one’s life to the most heart-breaking of another’s.

Photo by NEHA

“I have dreams to pursue, and new ways I aspire to continue to serve. And I’m on my way.”

“Ten to seven and we are already high above the clouds, only mountaintops peaking through the cracked white, like an ice shelf with Southern California far below. Eastward, the wrong directions for dreams, some might think. I am gliding towards the old world, across the other ocean — the one I grew up knowing — beloved friends, reaching for a sliver of a different life. I knew that the long farewell to my military service had truly begun. I had, for two weeks, been happy to be exactly where I was. I was my purest self, no facade, no fanfare. I had reclaimed agency long surrendered. And so, I choose to keep that with me. I have momentum to a different life. Although I have one deployment left, and with it tasks I strive to accomplish, I can be content in the present to know what follows.  As I have trained, I have a plan, and I will execute.

I have dreams to pursue, and new ways I aspire to continue to serve. And I’m on my way.” Anna Graville, USA Military

Photo by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul S. Mancuso

“I am alive because finally and painfully, after all these years, I know that I can love and trust again.”

“I began to see that my own suffering and the suffering of all of us had given us a special destiny, a special understanding, a special power perhaps. I began to think that maybe our suffering could help to change, to help to heal, to help to make new life in this world. Finally, more and more recently, I have come to realize that I am alive. I am not alive because the bullets failed to reach my brain and kill me and I am not alive because a stick missed my skull and did not fracture and murder me. I am not alive just because I was not butchered in the awful Cambodian Genocide. I am not just alive because I eat (although I admit, I eat a lot). I am alive because finally and painfully, after all these years, I know that I can love and trust again. I can feel the suffering of others, not just my own, I can feel the pain and loneliness of children and people everywhere who have endured, and are enduring, the violence of humans’ worst qualities”. Arn Chorn Pond, Cambodian Genocide Survivor

Cambodian refugee children who fled with their families after Khmer Rouge raids

“I’m just worried about how to survive day to day life.”

The earthquake happened right after lunch. We were in our fields. The young children were playing outside the house. We couldn’t grab anything from our houses because we were already outside. We were shaken and couldn’t stand up. Everything around us was shaking and there was dust everywhere.” Their house is still standing, but just barely, and they haven’t changed their clothes since the earthquake. There’s a little bit of clothing and food inside the house, but they won’t go inside for fear another tremor will knock it down. “I’m just worried about how to survive day to day life,” Hari, 2015 Nepal Earthquake Survivor.

Hari, 65, now living in a makeshift tent with a tarp Mercy Corps provided as part of an emergency kit.

How “life” may sound to me

The composition’s intended message is to express triumph in the midst of the physical or emotional obstacles that people must overcome in their lives. The tumultuous nature of life is often threaded together by a passion for something, grounded by faith in someone, or an obsession of a single idea that will keep all of us from giving into the unceasing struggles in life. The dichotomy of the guitars and a violin symbolizes the way that opposing ideas and personalities often conflict with each other, but with hope and perseverance, relationships between people can sometimes be transformed into something meaningful. The key changes and harmonic choices, as well as the fusion of genres within the song, is a way of telling others that each person’s life experiences are unique to them; it is impossible to compare or rank one struggle over another.

Further Actions

Share your own stories.

Empathize with others.

Most importantly of all, listen!

Works Cited: Link

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  1. April 26, 2019 by Yufa Ando

    Not only is the music nice to listen to but it is also so meaningful– your analysis of the music makes that very clear. I like how you used primary sources to get the unfiltered experience of different people of different backgrounds. This world really does need this sort of union and I like how you tried to achieve it through a unique media like music!

  2. April 27, 2019 by Juliana.Shank

    Nice quotes! Will you be putting on a performance in your community? Or hosting music workshops? What tips do you have for people who want to share their story?

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