Day 19 Refection (Last Day)

Today was my last day. This was it. It been a long and short journey. There was time when I wish I haven’t thought of this project and then there was time when I thought that I can do this longer than 19 days. I could get use to it. But eventually there is an end to everything and it was today for the duct tape. I am content and excited to move on to the next journey. As I am getting more submission of stories, I am excited to work on narration of the stories on campus. Our stories will be heard. Thank you all for following me and supporting me throughout this journey. Really, without you all, I probably wouldn’t have a good experiences with this project.

I have been writing less on my mini notebook because I am communicating more on through texting and writing on scrap papers and sticky notes. These past 19 day, I have only went out to restaurants a few time. I usually use an app to buy food on campus. But off campus, I am accompanied by family or friends and I would text them what I want. Today in my late class, a classmate ask if this was the last day and I nodded. She wanted some feedback on one of class project. She told me that I should just talk because it was my last day. I shooked my head and wrote down on my mini notebook of questions and comments. This was the best I can do for her.

As I walked with a classmate to her car, many people were walking around because of Thursday night market. There was a lot of high school students and older people. One student mentioned the tape right as I passed them. I kept walking because that was not a good time to have an interaction in the middle of a crosswalk. And I am pretty good with ignoring people now. I just look straight on now but I am aware of people’s stares. My classmate said that she was use to my duct tape now and so when she saw an older man just staring for a long time, she was surprised. I tried to use my hands to gesture that I am pretty use to it too. I am getting comfortable with not talking. I was listening if people were willing to talk about anything.

I am hurt when people did ignored me or maybe that was just how I saw it. Earlier in the week, I was in a class of 6 and the instructor asked person to person of their input on this discussion. I wrote on my mini whiteboard of each questions she asked but she had called out to the other students. I was surprised and embarrassed as I erased my comments on my whiteboard. Today in my late class, a classmate who was in my group project showed his work to the other group classmate sitting right behind me and then left. I ignored him but he only called out the other group member. I did not have a good relationship with him but I had to tell myself that I didn’t really care anyways.

With this project, there was so many things that was difficult like actually walking with the tape and communicating with family, friends, and etc. At some point, I did have to tell myself why I was doing this project. The communication wasn’t what I dislike most. It was because I was sticking out in a crowd. I really did not like to stand out that much especially with something that isn’t suppose to be on my face. But I made it. I took a long leap and it feels good to have come this far. And of course, if I did not have support for this, I would of never followed through, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Special thank you to…

Bao Xiong, Jer Xiong, Julie Xiong, Khou Xiong, Karly Derosa, Bill Lee

Professor Joshua Olivera, Professor Lauren Ruth, Professor Rachel Middleman, Sierra Diamond and class Arts 495

Cross-Cultural Leadership Center family and Katie Peterson

Strong brave soul who shared their story




Day 18 Reflection

I tried to avoid eye contact with strangers as they passed by. I am aware that they are aware of the tape. I just look straight on and look down without smiling eyes. I feels like I am back to square one with the tape. I guess when the ending day gets closer, the more I want it to end. This has not been an easy thing to do. When needing to eat, drink, cough, sneeze, I have to take off the duct tape. Luckily, I been taking allergy pills to maintain sneezing and stuffy nose to a minimum. But I think tomorrow, I may not be so lucky anymore. As I am writing this at 11pm, I can hardly breath through my nose. I been using older duct tape to reduce stickiness. At first is was easy but it became painful as my skin really clinged onto the tape when peeling. When I don’t have the tape, I constantly have to remember not to talk since it is natural for me to do so, even after several days.

A sister help me take these pictures by a roundabout near school and a car drove by with a man taking a second look and then laughing. It bothered me that a stranger laugh at me for having tape over my mouth. I told my sister and she said it was probably because she was taking pictures so far, she assumed that he have seen her and then me as he passed by within seconds. I told her that I doubt he was laughing because of that. I guess from that experiences, I am feeling weak and can’t take too much longer of the project. I am really trying to finish on Thursday with a high head. I also been avoiding going to other offices now to pay for fees and etc. I am waiting to be invisible again.

Later, I was helped my sister with her project with some video recording. It was hard to explain what I was doing for the recording. When I was trying to get some room tone, I gesture them with my index figure to the lip and held my hand up with figures flicking up to show that I am counting as passing seconds. I showed her the room tone term through my phone. But she still didn’t understand and so I text her. She still didn’t get it and eventually, I started to show example with my muffled voice and even answering her through that, which she understood by my tone and sound. Sometimes when they ask me a question regarding photography, I just don’t answer because it is a complex answer.


I am tired but I am glad to have come this far. I like to thank those who have submitted their stories. They are truly courageous and their story will be heard. Once again, thank you, family and friends for supporting me. I really grateful to my mentors, professors and classmates who have really encourage me to follow through. Only one more day left.

Day 17 Reflection

Today was the third last day. Only 2 more day left on Wednesday and I will have been silent for 19 days with tape over my mouth. I think I been telling people that I only have 1 day left but it’s actually 2. The dates is throwing me off because I started on the 2nd of April and so I would end on the 20th of April. Sometimes, I forget that people are still seeing me for the first time and so they looked like they want to know more but I am not that shy and humble person anymore. I don’t have time to run over and give them a note card anymore. It is bad timing now. If I don’t interact with the people, then it is more likely that I will not give them a card even though they looked curiosity and briefly mentioned it as I walk by.

I realized that when I am alone outside and not walking to places. My fears creep up on me. When I walk, I feel like people will have less time to actually see me and think of cruel ways to harrased me. But if I hung out by the library, waiting for my sister especially at night. I start getting all these crazy imaginations as cars passed by and hearing loud male students talking.

I still find it very humorous as I interact with other fellow students. Earlier, before going to my late class, a student came to talk to me about a group research paper in another class. I was eating a snack and so I didn’t have tape. She talked and I nodded but then I gesture her to text me. And then she said “oh, you can’t talk?” And I nodded. She said she will email me instead and I waved good bye. I guess people didn’t think I will do this for so long. Later that night, I was grabbing some late dinner with a friend. He would say something and if it was a yes or maybe or no question, I would answer. But if it wasn’t, I just text him while he was driving. I waited for a red light to show him but that didn’t work. And so I kept silent. He have told me that he actually enjoyed the quietness of my company.

I am pretty happy that this project is coming towards a closing for my part. Even if people did not share their stories, it is alright. I am just glad I did it this far and of course with many thanks to professors, classmates, mentors, friends and family. I hope I have impacted them in some ways.


Day 16 Reflection

I wasn’t ready for today. There is just too much to do with little time. I woke up and I didn’t have any energy and motivation to get up today. I am pretty stressed out now. I didn’t finish most of my homework and the thought of another day with tape over my mouth tired me out. I was drain from doing nothing. And now there a lot of things piled up. I didn’t go to my 2 classes in the morning and afternoon and work. I didn’t feel too good today knowing that I have missed classes and work. But I am feeling little better at night. I am really going to focus on meditation before bed and putting my cell phone away. In that way, I would have more sleep that my body and mind demands.

This project came with a lot of uncertainties but I knew that it will be hard to get people to access and submit their story. Part of this was to challenge people to take a step forward on writing and reflecting their story. And so I understand that if people don’t submit then that is alright. I respect people’s decision on sharing or not sharing. I have given them an option. And so this means if my performance of being silence have been impactful or not. Also, I think the best way to get this out was through collaboration and letting a lot of people know through social media and distribution of my note card. I realized that my note card does not explain exactly what I am doing but it makes perfect sense to my silence. Even when there is visibility of something, there isn’t always a direct and clear message. And so I think this project came with a lot of challenge in itself. I was the only person doing the silence performance and I am only able to impacted those who I interact with daily like friends, family and classmates. These are the people I cared for and so it was my way of telling them that this happened to me and that they are not alone. This was my way to bring this topic up. Only 3 more days left.

Day 15 Reflection

Today was already day 15 , only 4 more days until I end my silences. It been a long journey and I still have a lot to process but I have learn a lot from this experiences. So many people supported me and cared a lot. I wasn’t ready for my parent and grandparents yet but it is a start. Again, I barely talk to my family, it was a very lazy day for me until I got back to my apartment. I think by tomorrow I will be more ready and active. I am emotionally drain and stressed out from projects and research papers. I feel like I am forgetting to do something. I wish school would end sooner. I hope to have my website continue running until next 2 weeks as I process and record voices. I hope to finish off strong.

Day 14 Reflection

I woke up forgetting about the project. Weekends is always so different. I went home and hung out. I didn’t do much besides watching movies on Netflix. I wanted to play with my brothers but they both are sick. Today, I couldn’t do it today. I went home without the tape. I couldn’t do it. It was too much for me. I am too afraid. I didn’t think this through. I didn’t talk at all though. I only answered with a “hmm” for I don’t know or “uh hm” for yes. I realized that I don’t actually talk that much at home. And that my family and I don’t really interact much. I could get away without talking at all to anyone at home for a full 12 hours. When they say to eat, I just go and eat. When mother said to clean up afterwards, I just did so without saying anything at all. It was only when my father came to talk directly to me that I have no choice but to answer. I didn’t tell them about what I was doing and so it would be hard to tell them then. And I thought that I couldn’t miss this chance because my father rarely talked to me. I couldn’t say no to this chance of bonding time. We talked about video recording and our family YouTube account. I tried to talk as less as possible and we only talked for 5 min before he left. I will make this exception only to my parents and grandmother. Turns out, I am not ready yet for them to know anything about the taped stories project.

Day 13 Reflection

This week has been very long and tiring. I woke up at 7am and fell back asleep for my 9am alarm. Turns out, I have turned it for some reason. So I missed my morning class but went to work. Two people mention about my post and one of them hugged me and said that I am brave and to keep going. The other person told me she have read my post and will submit her story. On social media, people have started to share my post and comment with positive words. All of this is good, but I am still not sure how to respond or how to react to all this support. The more people know, the more I want to hide. But it is too late, it is out there now. It is my truth.

My father messaged me today on social media and I panicked. He asked about something else but I forgot that he was on social media. He can see and read my post. I hoped he does not see it. I really hope he doesn’t see it. I guess I am still not ready for my parents to know yet. But I am ready to go home and hangout with my family.

I am still not comfortable going out alone outside of campus still but I am very use to the tape now. There is less irritation now since I have been using the same tape longer and having the tape on only when I am with people. Lately, I been answering less when people talk to me. I don’t make the same effort anymore to grab my notebook and answer. I can’t really keep up with the conversation and so I only answer when I need to. I think I am starting to feel the stress and graduation stuff. I really need to focus and work hard for the next 4 weeks. For the tape, only 6 more days.


Day 12 Reflection

Today was all about finishing up a personal statement for an award. The paper is not even for a class. After walking to work and finishing up some projects, I went right into the personal paper that was due at 5pm. Writing and expressing my thought is my weakness and so when I was finishing up, I really needed to read my paper out loud so I can edit, but I couldn’t. I only moved by mouth to say the words but with no sound. I caught myself whispering and I stopped myself. By the time for my late class, I was wiped out. I only did minimal work and left as soon as I can. Only 4 more weeks of school.

As I walked to work in the morning, a group of students in a booth asked me about the taped. I handed some note cards to three of them and continue walking. They said to come buy some popcakes and I gave them a thumbs up while walking. I meant to do an Ok sign but I was in a hurry. I always have a thumbs up and so it was automatic. Lately, people have been asking me how long am I going to wear the tape, or how many more days. Even I lost count too. I hold up 8 finger but I think I did that yesterday, so that means today was suppose to be 7 days left.

I worked later in the afternoon helping students with softwares such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator but I emailed my professor how I can help without talking. Eventually, we just started texting each other because it was easier compare to writing down everything. I still went to work and finished that personal statement. I saw a student’s hand rise and I look across making eye contact and gesture to her if she had a question. I usually help her but this time she said “..ummmmmmmmmm……….I was going to ask about the softwares …….” Another student next to her jumped in to help her. I thought I was going to be able to help but I guess not. I thought about writing down instructions when a student needed help but that was not realistic. People don’t have that much patience.

Again in my late class, I have to communicate with my group. At this point, I just work alone at the moment and only write if it was necessary for me to ask. Sometimes I get too comfortable and I forget that people can’t read my mind. And they would remind me again that they don’t understand my gesture and muffled sound. They asked how many days and was impressed when I had my 8 fingers up. They said that they can not go on without talking even for a day. A classmate said she have to talk. I was wondering if they knew what I was doing this for, even though I had given them the note card the first week. I knew that some people will not look at my website or even read the notecard but It feels strange that people praise me and are impressed with my silences without knowing the real meaning. It’s not about how long I can go for without talking, its about me physically silencing myself. Haven’t they stop to think about why am I doing this? Why this topic?

I think today confirm somethings about the taped stories project. I think people don’t understand what I am really trying to do and what I am asking of them. I thought that if people are curiosity enough, then they will search through my website. I thought that my family and friends will do that but I was wrong. And so for them, I finally wrote about the symbolic of the taped on here and Facebook, and many people responded.

My sisters finally read my story and posts, which I have given them my note cards and provided my website right when I started. I understand that I didn’t tell them much but I was hoping they look into the website, which I felt explain most it. But today, just a couple hours ago, my sister told me that she read my story. My sister came in into my bedroom and wanted to talk. Her eyes were red. I think she cried when she read my story. She wanted to know more and asked how was I doing. I avoided her by giving her a thumbs up. She open her arms and said she want to hug me but I moved away. I didn’t want to get emotional too. For the first time of these past week, I was thankful that I couldn’t talk because I didn’t want to talk about it now. I knew there was going to be many questions but I was not ready yet. She said that the other sisters are talking about it on Facebook messenger and I briefly looked at the messages. And I comment “oh, so yall all finally read it lmao…” And then not even 15 minute or so, another sister dropped by and said that she finally read my story (she was the one who said that she do not want to read my story yet because it may change her view on me). She said she didn’t know. She asked more about the story and I didn’t really give her an answer. I didn’t know if I should tell her that the sister that was with me that one night was her. If she reads this, then she will know. It seems like she forgotten.

Now, one of my friend is texting me saying she read my story and some of my reflection posts. She apologized for make a joke about making the decision since I can’t talk. I told her that I know she doesn’t mean any harm and that I understand that my tape and not talking may have been uncomfortable for people and so people have to joke about it.

As my days of silences are coming to an end, I am getting ready for the weekend, where I will go home and spend some time with my family. In some of my first post here before I started, I talked briefly of what I fear most of this projects. It is the reaction, response from my peers, friends and family. And if there is no reaction, that too is terrifying.


Day 11 Reflection

I went to school with my sisters at 7am to do some projects. There are many things going on now since school is ending. I have projects, research papers and being on top of graduation fees and such. Today, one student asked “Is there a silence day going on today?” I was a couple feet away already, rushing to work on things, I turned around and shook my head and turn to leave. It was so fast and it was an awkward situation to walk up the stairs again to give her my note card. It was the best I could do at this point. At least I answer her.

Around 9am, I went to purchase some art supplies located downtown. An older lady working there commented about the tape. She also said if I had any question, I can ask her. I grab some items and brought it to the counter. Before I left, I gave her my note card. As I packed my items and put my wallet away. She told me a story. Her story of preventing something. I used sign language to thank her for sharing and left. I was not expecting for anyone to share right at that moment. And so I did not really know how to respond. Honestly, I am angry, uncomfortable, and really reflect back on my stories when I hear other’s stories. I will be putting her story in the taped stories menu.

From the responds from people so far, I think people don’t understand what I am doing entirely. I didn’t expect for people to share their story with me right at that moment. Or maybe even having accessed to it. Some people have asked about the website and what they were suppose to do. I noticed most people asked when it is appropriate such as during class or when I am actually interacting with peers or staffs.


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