Creating the mask was tricky at first because I needed to have my classmates plaster my face, which took awhile and it wasn't as perfect as I wished it could be. Then, after pulling my mask off, I was unable to do anything else with it for the day because my classmates plastered my face a few more times for other people. Painting the mask was very simple. I already had a very clear image of how a sugar skull should look because of my experience with seeing the images of them so many times. My mask has my mother's name and date of death painted on the chin, to show my reasons, that aspect was very important in the original design. I still would like to make it glossy now.
Frank, how’s it going? Are you happy in China now? Actually, there is something making me nervous.
You know, my mother was invited by a university as a visiting scholar. I follow my mother and have been in the United States for three months, and I entered a fantastic high school. But I still feel nervous, because I’m a foreigner for others, and it is hard to be understood. I am living in an environment which is foreign to me and my culture.
We are having a science class, and our group did an experiment just now. I had a good idea for the experiment, but others in our group didn’t know what I was talking about. So they just did the experiment in their own way, and I couldn’t join the process of the experiment at all. I’m an outsider! Then, there were two members of our group asking me whether the teacher in China hit me if I did something wrong. Of course not, the teachers in China respect and love their students, just like the teachers in the United States. They don’t know much about China. They might just know a little bit about ancient China, but not modern China. It is my duty to introduce these to my classmates.
I want to talk about the present situation of China with my classmates, because China is not what they believe it to be. For example, China has become the second largest economy in the world, China has become the biggest developing country, and China has the third strongest military in the world. Most of Chinese are satisfied with their lives.
I want to talk about the Chinese culture with my classmates, because Chinese history is as long as five thousand years. Ancient Chinese people made great contribution to world civilization. For example, Confucius, the greatest ideologist in ancient China proposed the idea of peace and harmony which are still meaningful nowadays. Chinese culture is colorful. For example, The Spring Festival is a time Chinese spend time with families and eat dumplings. And as a language, Chinese is beautiful in form and pleasing in sound. I’d like to teach my classmates some easy greetings in Chinese.
I want to join the discussion of the experiment and the team work, and I want to be an active member in the discussion of the group or the whole class instead of being an outsider. I have a lot of good ideas for the experiments or discussion, and I hope I can make others understand what I mean. I wish I can make others stop saying something like “I don’t know what you are talking about”.
But as you know, I just come to the United States and my English is not good. So, it is hard for me to tell these to my classmates. Nobody wants to chat with a person who speaks slowly, so I can’t introduce the present situation and the culture of China. My English is not good, so I don’t know how to express my idea. I feel nervous. I need to improve my English as soon as possible. I need to read more articles in English and listen to VOA Special English every day. I need to memorize the new words that I meet and try my best to pronounce them so that I can communicate with others more quickly. I feel tired about these, but I can’t give up improving English in order to communicate with my classmates adroitly.
Oh, I’m under heavy pressure now, and I have to continue to have science class. Those are all the things that I want to talk to you. Frank, can you understand me? Hope you can!
Today is it. Today is the day that I leave this house forever, and never have to be near my mother, or annoying siblings again. Given this may not have been the best way to go, but it’s still better than being in that terrible house right? Why is that even a question? After today I know for a fact that it’s for the best that I am no longer in this house at all. No longer will the person that is supposed to love me most blatantly disrespect me. She deserves to be without me; she deserves to have to struggle to make sure that everything goes fine in the house. Fuck it; honestly she doesn’t even deserve to live! But that will come in time. Until that glorious day, I am happy to just be removed from the situation; whether I am in a cop car or not. Why am I in a cop car you ask? The kid who everyone expects to be perfect? The kid that everyone looks up to, and expects to have the best of the best grades, and the best of the best attitudes? Your cousin? What is he doing in the back of a cop car? He’s never even been to the principles office without leaving with the sound of metal bouncing on his neck from the newest award, so why is he leaving his house with the only sound of medal clanging coming from the handcuffs on his wrists? This makes no sense to you I know. But once you think about it, believe me it will. Sure I was happy, during school, and whenever I was around you. Sure I got all my work done, and made sure that all of my class work was completed. Sure I was able to get the valedictorian award 2 years ago in 8th grade without even having to really try, but what about the things everyone doesn’t see? What about the things that cannot be seen with the naked eye? The things that can only be seen if you get to know this person. Most often these things that cannot be seen are the things that are hurting us the most, and these things sometimes push you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Especially when they build up inside you, and get released all at once like an irrupting volcano. I should be used to it. It should not bother me that much at this point right? I mean I have been dealing with it all my life. The constant verbal abuse stemming from a sick and bitter mother with nothing better to do than bring you down along with her.
“Nigga shut the fuck up!” The first 2 strikes came fast and unexpected. As what seemed like half my brain tried to register the pain that I had in my face, the other half was already reacting with a sense of overwhelming anger, and pure hatred. In an instant my brain had chosen whether or not it would go into fight or flight mode, and unluckily for my mother, it had chosen fight. As the pain continued to engulf my face, before I could realize, another strike hit my face. The third strike. Strike three took me to a place I had never been before. The anger that burned inside me; the adrenaline that rushed through my veins; these two things brought me to do something that I never believed I would do; hit her back. My one solid strike to her face had more force behind it than the 3 strikes she had landed on me combined. This resulted in more surprise on the faces of my older sister, and little brother who had been sitting on the bunk bed next to us watching the entire thing. From the moment it happened I knew what would come next, but deep down inside I knew I didn’t care, because I would finally leave the abuse that I had struggled living through for the past 16 years. Not another year, not another month, not another week, day, hour, minute, or second, would I deal with it all. So as I sit here in the back of this cop car and you wonder why I am here? You should be wondering, why am I not here earlier? And the answer would be, because of the three strikes.
Ella nombre es Katniss Everdeen. Ella tiene Dieciséis años y ella cumpleaños es ocho de mayo. Ella es morena. Katniss Everdeen le encanta practicar deportes y es súper importante para ella. Ella es talentosa y muy hermosa. Ella es increiblemente inteligente y como si fuera poco ella encanta familia muy muy. Ella es de District 12 pero ella vivo en Distrito 13.
Hope You Love It.
Now everyday, that old hag went roaring like a furious tiger. Waking me up, just for her daughter to be paid. She will pinch my back until my eyes popped wide open. OUNCH! Why are you so worked up...(look at the clock) at 7.”
“COLLY SHELLON YOU NEED TO GET PAID TODAY. IF YOU DON’T GET YOUR BUTT OFF OF THAT BED, YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!” Her hand grips tightly on the rough stick as she glared at me angrily. I admit my defeat when feeling the stinging pain she left on me two months earlier (rubbing her butt)...when...I planned on skipping my job.
(phone ringing and Colley picked it up)
(Answers the phone) Why are you be all in my (acting ghetto) businessssssssss. Talking about some, did you get whipped. Josh Chuck, if you don’t have anything to do, just chill.
Look, its not my fault, that my butt was slapped by a tree branch. My homework are piling up. Benchmarks are flying straight on my desk. Just what are these teachers been thinking now days, bro. Are we some robots in the movies that do one task per second or have an ingenious mind that calculates in the speed of light? I can’t even see my twenty-three inch desktop without moving like...3 feet of papers aside. Maybe one day, this monstrous stack will knock over my brand new Samsung desktop. You know what, it did. Right after my Spanish teacher wants me to make a random iMovie. That computer is $1,499 dollars. (louder;urgent tone) $1,499 boy...oh yeah, plus tax. So now I need to get a job to get a tech dude to my house to fix it. Piles of HWs are already driven me crazy and, mopping people’s houses just make me want to be done with my life.
Every freaking day, I need to get these rotten fake wooden floors cleaned with my sweat. Dumping water as dark as charcoal into the toilet. If that toilet get stuck, my daily paycheck would be stuffed into the plumber’s pocket. That owner of the house is so picky. He is Mr. Brown, who lived three blocks away from my house in Chester Avenue. That bearded, elf-sized man would detected every speck of dirt in his house like he is a dog. If there are three grains of dirt, he would said, (speak like the old man) umh..young lady could you clean these dust on the floor like what you’re suppose to do, I deeply appreciated it.
Deeply appreciated it my butt! Just what is this master and slave relationship we’re having, taking about some, “I deeply appreciated” when the real thing that he was trying to say is (speaking like the old man) yo, little girl if you don’t get your legs working and swing this mop, you’re not getting the money of this man. You think that you could just clean my house like that and trick this old man’s money. I know you teenagers, so don’t try to act so slick.
Maybe I will just quit and kiss his hand goodbye like a person with dignity. Wait...Colly, calm down. If I actually have the guts to get rid of this hell of a torture, then my house will turn to hell itself. My mom would say (speak like her mother) YOU’RE NOT JUST GOING TO DUMP THIS POOR MAN. I’LL DRAG YOU TO HIS HOUSE AND APOLOGIZE. HOPEFULLY HE WILL EMPLOY YOU AGAIN. WHY DO I HAVE TO GIVE BIRTH TO SUCH A USELESS KID! Nah. I get tired of her savage, unpleasant noises I hear in the morning. Then, I need to apologize to this masked elf. No. Heck no for god sake.!
Well maybe this is my life. Being controlled by exhaustion and old people.
(Put down the phone and go to work)
I wasn’t able to have a fluid design process with this project, because of my trials and tribulations explained below. Originally I had drawn a mask with a zippered mouth representing the silence of the dead but (as explained below) The design ended up not being very practical. My “final” design is a very 2012 sugar skull, representing the hugely popular zombie fad sweeping the globe. I am still working on the mask as of now, but the idea is to cut the mask into a zombie-esque shape then paint it as if it were a sugar skull.
I was one of the few students willing to use my face as a mold. Along with spending 4+ classes getting plastered when I was finally ready to start painting my own mask I found that someone had taken mine and started paining it. After resolving the problem by yet again making a plaster mold let it dry for the next class. When I came in for the next class I found that yet again my mask had been painted so for the next 2 1/2 classes I had to paint my skull from the red it had been painted back to white. During the last class I tried my original design of a zippered mouth but found that a zipper was quiet hard to draw under the conditions. I sat for a while returning the mask to its original white color thinking about what my next step would be when my zombie design came to me. The last part of the class was spent using a box cutter to cut the mask.
Link to google doc (:
Sugar skulls (calaveras de azúcar ) are a decoration for altars and tombs. They are used on Day of the Dead, and on November 2nd to adorn tombs and altars. Since they are made out of sugar, they are edible. The base is made out of white sugar. The decorations and colors are made out of colored sugars, icings, and bright foils.
I came up with the design of my skull by using several sugar skulls as a reference. Sugar skulls usually have a lot of floral and plant aspects, with lots of bright colors. They tend to look feminine, with lashes on the eyes. So I made the eyes big and round with lashes. Since sugar skulls are supposed to be colorful, I added some floral decorations on the side and on the top of the skull to make it more colorful.
The process to make this took awhile. We had to make a plaster mask out of the material casts are. I wasn't comfortable using my face as a plaster mold, so I used a fellow classmate to model for my mask. After the mask was completed and dried, I was a bit iffy on what colors I should use. I first went with red for the background, but I quickly changed my mind and painted the red over with maroon. I forgot I had to make the mask like a sugar skull, so I repainted the mask completely white and did my current design. It didn't really resemble my sketch, but I still thought the mask was pretty.
Here's my mask
And here's other assignments/sketches I worked on throughout the quater.