Knowing and Understanding the Real You

Ciara Broadway

Growing up, we all see the ways of the world, yet we never understand its full impact on

us or our lives until we have that one moment, an experience that makes you question who you

are and who you want to be, and how you wish to be seen. I was fourteen when I started to notice

For me, there are many moments that have shaped the answers to those questions, but this

one, added to the others, is the one that stands out the most. I was sitting in gym, goofing off,

waiting to be told what to do in class. The teacher told us to do push-ups as usual, but this time

he told the girls to do “girl push-ups.”

I was so offended that I refused and did the regular ones. Then, he instructed the girls to

play volleyball for the duration of the period while the boys did the dead-man’s burpee

challenge. I had to beg to do that with them instead of playing volleyball with the other girls. I

wanted to push myself, but I was not even offered the chance because I was a girl.

At age fourteen, my eyes were opened to what it truly means to be a woman in a man’s

world. The Journey of a Brown Girl is a heroin’s play intricately woven to tell the stories of not

only the Filipino women they stem from, but of the beautiful ‘ugly black woman’ inside all of us.

It sheds light on the darkness of women’s struggles.

If you look back into every culture, women have been objectified, exploited, and brought

down in the eyes of society, only to be raised to be some sex symbol to satisfy a man’s need in

more cases than few.

Creator, director, producer, and actor of the play, Jana (JL) Lynne Umipig states, “Our

ancestors are not inherently victims, these are constructed identities. We all need to look back to

a time before constructs were created to divide us, to place peoples in a position of inferiority, of

suffering and hardship created by others.”

What stood out to me during the play is when, Renee Floresca, assistant director and

actor stated, “My skin is not dirt.”

With the simplistic set up, the heroin background music of learning more about yourself

through your past, and the free admission, The Journey of a Brown Girl draws you in. It calls

you to watch, learn, appreciate, experience, expand and evolve with its tale, leaving you with a

feeling of self-worth and verbosity to fulfill your goals, and thus become an accomplishment


“It’s just like the idea of African Americans learning that their ancestors were slaves, but

unpacking for themselves and understanding more deeply that their ancestors were not slaves,

they were enslaved. The story of The Journey of a Brown Girl, seeks to help individuals in

performance and audience to connect to who they are beyond all the titles, shaping and power

dynamics, and constructs created by money and ownership. The largest question is ‘who are

you?’ And answering should not be limited to what we have been told we are. The play hopes to

guide the audience in inquiring for themselves how do we remember ourselves, how do we

create ourselves in a way that helps us rise?” Umipig asks us to ponder.

At age fourteen, I learned that people will always see you in a different light than you see

yourself. It is up to you to show them their perception of you is wrong and to mold it to your

liking with your actions, by first knowing who you truly are.