Art for me has been a healing and life changing experience, whether it is visual art, music, or writing, the process of creation allows me to have a healthy outlet for my overactive mind. Having been raised as a minority in a suburban anglo saxon neighbourhood, I was subject to racism. Not the overt lynch mob stuff that was prevalent in the southern United States, but a subtle, psychological and unpredictable form of racism.
What does that look like specifically? Whether growing up in my youth and teens or even as an adult, exclusion has always something I have had to deal with. In the playground or the soccer pitch, the words ‘Chink, ‘Hindu’ and ‘Paki’ were common place. What’s ridiculous is that I am neither of those ethnic backgrounds. So you could say I was excluded even in derogatory terminology! In addition, there were no Filipinos that were within driving distance of our house, so I was like the sole asian contestant on my own survivor reality show. In addition I grew up consuming Western Anglo Saxon media, whilst sporting a Coppertone exterior. I am a Filipino Cultural loner; I couldn’t even relate to the people of my own dermatological pigmentation.
Add to the mix my mental health condition and you have me; a chocolate coconut bobble head doll, a little unstable, brown on the exterior with white contents. My Psychiatrist calls it a double whammy. I tried to look that up on the DSM, so far it doesn’t exist, really its just a matter of time.
However, comedy for me was a form of self protection, navigation, acceptance and physical survival. It was a tool that I used subconsciously to gain support and respect. By hanging around tall white males who laughed at my jokes was like having my own security force; white and giggly, analogous to a gang of Pillsbury Dough boys. In addition, I needed the nimbleness of thought to avoid an incoming snowball, or random use of violence against me. So was it something that either I naturally had or a skill that I had to develop? Either way its gotten me to this point, and lately it hasn’t been bad at all.
So, thank you to David Granier for this incredible opportunity. I have met some amazingly talented, beautiful and supportive people on this journey. As much as I have struggled through my mental health issues and the biological and psycho-social side effects, I don’t know if I would ever change a thing. I am honoured to be in such company and part of your vision to change the world and how they view individuals with Mental Health concerns. Everyone has potential, however it takes individuals like David Granier to see it and bring it to those who aren’t able to see it.
PS – Our program needs support, we ask we have your vote for the Pepsi Refresh Grant so we can expand the program to 1 Million Student Across Canada.