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After I Was Carried Away

Artist: Allegretta Alive

Jamaica Plain, MA

My submission to heART’s hope is a spoken word, music video called “After I Was Carried Away.” It's in video form, with the words written out for those who need or prefer the visuals. The video is minimal in design to be easy to read, not necessarily for stylistic choice. I produced the music using a MIDI controller, Logic Pro X, and several sample libraries of ambient and orchestral sounds. The content of the narrative is about how preverbal trauma as a Korean-American adoptee has impacted my ability to express myself throughout my life, particularly, communicate and navigate emotions and deep, reflective thoughts. In my moment to moment and day to day life, I don’t examine how preverbal trauma has impacted my ability to communicate - it’s only once I realize that I need to talk through an emotion or feeling that I'm having that I remember it’s an issue. My experiences of racism have also impacted my outlets for self-expression. This submission is about the various compounded trauma I've experienced in my life, mentions how it can feel challenging to live through it, and how music has helped me to work through my own mental health. Personally, this submission is an exercise in the aesthetic of music that I intend to create more of, combining spoken word with ambient sounds. Keeping it under three minutes long was a valuable challenge to keep the narrative concise too. From this experience, I had the opportunity to really see how far I've come on my healing journey and how much I've learned about orphan and adoption trauma as a young adult. I have felt misunderstood and under-represented for much of my life, because many of the narratives that are in film and television about adoptees glorify adoptive families, demonize birth families, and rarely, are there creative projects that are about adoption from adoptee perspective. It also represents that I can courageously share what I've learned in order to help another person - on my own terms and in my own way. I decided to submit a piece of music accompanied with a journal entry narrative style to show how music has greatly helped me to self-reflect and self-soothe safely throughout my life. In the creation process, I was able to experience that! My message of hope for others is that your past doesn't determine who you are or what your future holds. Being alive is about creating yourself and your own life, and the more we each do that, the more we set ourselves and our world free. I also hope that my piece honors the life of Nicholas Fatu Sevelo, his loved ones, and advocates for more mental health support within our AANHPI community. Additionally, I hope any Asian-American adoptees who watch or listen to my submission feel validated and that they are beautiful and lovable.