How I experienced writing during the Summer School ‘Hands on Anthropology’

By: Maria Charlotte Rast

During this summer school, I realized that I find writing about myself quite hard. Even though I reflected on my own story and positionality quite a lot, I never wrote it down. I guess through my studies, I got used to a more distanced kind of writing and keeping myself and my emotions out of it. So this summer school helped me to push myself to finally start writing it down. It turned out that it was quite easy to write about and analyse the facts and events of my story. However, I struggled to bring in more emotions and write in a more creative manner. I (once again) realized that I am not really a poet. In fact, I now was writing down my story in the same distanced academic manner as I always do. On the one hand, I found it annoying. On the other, I also realized that I had to accept that this analytical urge is apparently also part of who I am now. 

Of course I could not transform into a poet in just a few days. However, I found a way of telling a story about the different phases (versions of myself) and emotions that I went through during my life, including the analytical version that I am now: I made a movie in which I play the different versions of myself, while after every phase, my current self ‘neurotically’ disrupts and analyses the phase. In the end, my past self disrupts the current self and notes that I should stop analysing once in a while and accept that some things are simply messy and cannot be analysed in a neat manner. 

So this somewhat humoristic movie and especially the open end shows that I still struggle with writing about myself (that’s why I acted instead of wrote down my emotions and why I ‘fled’ into humour instead of staying serious). It becomes clear that I haven’t figured out everything yet and that my journey is not over yet. Moreover, through this summer school and the experience of writing, I learned that instead of always trying to cram my story into a well-ordered and nice analytical framework, it’s important to also pay attention to things that don’t add up and don’t fit. After all, these are the things that have the most potential of shedding light on my blind sports and stimulating reflection on my positionality.