When Ms. Gruwell invites a few students to participate in a college diversity seminar at National University, this student experiences what she calls an emotional healing. She cannot believe that Ms. Gruwell picked her to talk about her experience with homelessness.
This event demonstrates once more the deep connection between education and emotional involvement, showing that personal and collective learning can go hand in hand.
While she hadn’t planned on going into detail about her life, she ends up telling her audience all about her father, who makes her mother stand outside with a sign in the street to look for a job, and takes all her money to go buy drugs. He even sells the family’s food for drugs. While Ms. Gruwell’s student is telling these stories, she realizes that her life is depressing and she begins to cry heavily, telling her audience that all her father cares about are drugs. She explains that her father molested her sister but that her mother didn’t do anything about it when she found out, going so far as to doubt her sister’s story.
The act of sharing her story proves more powerful than this student thought, showing that she probably needed to share it in order to cope with it. While telling her story to an audience gives her an outlet for some of her emotions, it also allows her to examine her life from a critical distance. Her condemnation of both her parents’ behaviors highlights her isolation and her feeling that her family does not protect either her or her sister.
When she finishes, feeling that she has completely exploded, she is left emotionally drained but everyone comforts her, making her feel that these college students are no longer strangers. At the end of the day, she feels shocked at having said everything she felt, but happy to have done it.
This student learns that sharing her story can bring her comfort, both internally and externally, as she feels satisfied with having told her story and receiv kind words from her audience.