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America in Transit

America in Transit - Manion/Watson

Artist: Amy Manion and Kaleigh Watson

Cambridge, MA

Ethnicity: Chinese

“America in Transit” (2019), photography/ photo-narrative, is a collaborative work between myself and Kaleigh Watson (photographer, makeup artist, set design/ props). Originally accepted by HARMONIOUS (Instagram: @projectharmonious), with a different photo-narrative.

 

Narrative: Celestial and ethereal, I am America and the golden orb I'm holding is the sun. I am enveloping the sun.

 

I have felt so belittled, othered, disgraced, shunned, hated. I have seen the way my Chinese mother has been treated. I have learned about the history of racism towards our people since we started settling here in America. I have felt silenced. Unknown. Feared.

 

Yet, I am becoming. I am viewing myself differently. I am shining. Brightly. Blooming. Singing, dancing, laughing, playing music and silly games. Writing. Writing to save my life. Fighting to be understood, represented, heard.

 

Yet resting in the gift from the Creator: that I am known, seen, heard, and understood. Loved. Cherished. Me, a suicide attempt survivor, wrapped in the love of his world. Wrapped in beautiful clay here on earth.

 

Our people have a right to have a place under the sun in America. For our image to be represented, to be magnified, and undeniable, and undeniably present. For am not I too America?

 

Description: This is a photo-narrative and photograph/ photoshoot collaboration with my friend and photographer Kaleigh Watson. This photo features me, an Asian woman and suicide attempt survivor. The photoshoot collaboration was so meaningful and fun for me to participate in. The arts and creative expression has been instrumental in my healing journey. This was the second photoshoot I did with Kaleigh and it boosted my confidence in my ability to portray a character and to transform myself into something different. Acting has long been a way for me to transcend my experience and a way to experience joy and freedom. I sing, I play guitar, I write, I perform my spoken word poems, I create art, I dance. It is just who I am. I learned from participating how much I have to give, how much I enjoy acting, creating, and collaborating. My message of hope is what a suicide prevention advocate told me: find that one reason to live another day. Maybe it’s your pet, or books, or a loved one. Maybe it is the hope that one day you will be hopeful again. I realize that we all need each other to survive. You are my one reason. Stay alive. I must stay alive so that I can share my story to help others want to stay alive too. If you can’t find that hope now, reach out to someone who can hold the hope for you. As the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) encourages, so do I: if you need support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You don't have to be suicidal to call; they are there to provide support. 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.