The Current Logo

Layer Three: Bootstrapping Meta-Narrative

Written by Cindy Urbanski
November 08, 2011

In the end, I told the story of learning yoga and the construction of a yogi identity.  I labored over how much to tell, and kept trimming and trimming.  I collected images in order to tell the story in my mind and then found a way to include both my voice over and music in I-movie.  I was so tickled to have pulled that off that I couldn’t wait to share.  

I showed my video.  Everyone watched.  And then everyone said things like “Wow, that was really good!”  “I love the way your music is working with your voice over!” “Cute dog!”  “The picture of the hip sort of grossed me out!”   “Wow!  That side crow at the end is wicked!”  

And then Lil said, “But what I’m wondering is, where are all of the people in your narrative?”

And that’s when I realized that what I’d created was a perfect reproduction of the dominant bootstrap narrative of learning.  I was a runner.  I tripped and hurt myself.  I decided to let go of running and pursue yoga.  I then taught myself yoga and transformed my own identity.  Through hard work and perseverance, I single handedly overcame an injury and recreated myself as a strong powerful person.  

Lil’s words named the tension I was already feeling.  All of the drama and anxt over creating this narrative was based in my dominant “good girl,”  “good student” narrative where I wanted to do a “good job” and the “right thing.”

In the first two days of our institute we had combed through our annotated bibliography and discussing the ways in which we hoped these pieces would come to challenge the dominant narratives of schooling in the United States.  We wanted to challenge not only what counts as learning, but to really think about the social nature of learning, in contrast with the narrative of learning on one’s on, in isolation.  I had all of that in my head, knew that was what I wanted to critique with this work, and still, I slipped right into that dominant narrative of being a good student, learning in school.