Transcript of Digital Story: In Your Shoes: Learning From History

The following is the transcript for In Your Shoes: Learning From History, a digital story created by Olivia Catalano during What Works in Youth HIV’s digital storytelling workshop in October 2017. You can access the video for this story by clicking here.

I'm an animated person. What if my face reacts if one of the questions shocks me? It's like I'm back in school again. I feel my face flush hot. My palms were sweaty, and my heart raced. I wanted to ask questions, but I looked around to see what my friends were going to do. I had no idea what we were talking about, other than healthy development. What is that? Why are the boys in a different room?

By the end of class, my mind was loaded with questions. Do many people get them? How do I get help if I need it? I wanted to talk to the teacher afterwards, but no one else did. I couldn't be the one to go up and ask questions. Someone would see me. What would my friends think? I could feel their judgment before it even happened.

I pass around slips of scrap paper, and ask every student to write down a question, comment, or anything. I think about my own questions when I was their age. I pass the bin around towards the end of class. Everyone puts something in it, and I'll address everything before we leave.                               

In front of the class, I reach my hand into the bin. My heart races. What will be on the paper? Will I know how to answer it? But talking about sexual health is important. Our model is prevention based, but I still get anxious. I just can't help my body's reaction.

I'll teach my daughter to brush her teeth to prevent cavities, so why wouldn't I teach her how to care for her body parts? I'll work with the school to help her thrive. I use that to calm myself. To remember the importance of this work.

Sometimes, after class, when I'm walking down the hallway, I think about being in school, leaving that classroom with so many questions. Did I answer all of their questions today? Are there students who are scared? I hope not.                               

Today, a student came up to me after class. "Can I have your phone number if I have questions later?" she asks. Trying not to explode with joy, I hand her my number.

Page last updated: January 2018