E: What makes you laugh?
Usually hanging out with my friends just makes me laugh. Me and my friends, before we go out, we like to do game night. And my friend has this game — it’s a card game — and it’s sort of like a horse race. So you set up these cards and you bet drinks on which card is going to advance forward. So you flip cards, and if it’s a spade, the spade goes forward. And my friend who taught us this game, who does it, she puts on this voice. She’s like an auctioneer. She’s like, “Alright, here we go! We got three drinks on spades. Oh spades!” and she gets very excited and as the night goes on, it’s just so funny. So she makes me laugh.
Um, what else makes me laugh? My little brother makes me laugh a lot.
E: How old is your little brother?
He’s seventeen. I recently went home [and] he was in this variety show, sort of. It’s called Mr. Mills Godwin, which is the name of his school. And it’s a bunch of boys, and it’s like a Miss America pageant, but for guys who want to do it. And he did a skit, he did like the Jimmy Fallon “Ew” skit, and it was so funny. And then he had to do a talent, which was supposed to be like a real talent, but also sort of funny. And so he pretended that he was going to play, like, Beethoven on the piano, and then he kept on messing it up. It led into, like, “Lose Yourself” on the piano, and they did, like a medley of rap songs. And he won! So, he makes me laugh.
Puppies make me laugh because they just fill me with so much joy.
E: That’s true.
L: That’s a good answer. I like that one.
My friend recently … his girlfriend came to visit and brought their new puppy and he snuck him in his dorm room. It’s like a little corgi puppy. His name is Gus. And he is so cute. And so they had to keep him from barking so my friend John would yell at him every time he would bark. And he loves John so much, his ears would go all the way back and his eyes would get all droopy when he was yelled at. It was so cute. So, he made me laugh.
L: That’s amazing.
E: It’s cool to see how other people influence your life, how they make your life better. How do you think you make others lives better?
I think I seem to be the friend that everyone comes to for advice. I think I’m a pretty good listener, so people usually come and, like, bounce ideas off of me and stuff like that. So I like to try to help people through their problems, I guess. And I try to be as non-judgemental as possible, while also being honest, so I’m not just gonna, like, you know, give them fluff and tell them what they want to hear.
L: What is a piece of advice you find yourself giving the most?
I think so often people want to dismiss or apologize for how they feel. So I feel like a lot of time I tell people it’s okay to feel how you feel. You can’t help how you feel. I mean, you can do a lot with your actions, but I think it’s important to let people feel how they feel and deal with their feelings, you know, they do whatever they need to do with those feelings. Because I think so often that we, like, try to be who we think who we’re expected to be or be whoever everyone else is trying to be and we don’t … we’re not listening to our emotions. That sounds so hippy, but that’s what I tell people a lot, I feel like.
E: So do you live by that, too?
I try to. I think I’m pretty honest, and not always in a positive way. Like I put my foot in my mouth a lot. But I think one of the positive, sort of, effects of that is that I try to be pretty upfront with how I feel. Try to lead with that. Sometimes I need to, like, lead with thinking about how I feel before I say it out loud. So, there’s definitely some reflection that needs to maybe go along with that. But I think, for the most part, I try to be pretty true to how I feel.
E: Did you learn that through experience or has anyone given you any good advice?
Yeah, that’s the advice my mom always gave me. The reason I give good advice is absolutely because of her. Ever since I can remember she’s always been like, “You can come to me with anything.” And we talk about everything, so she’s really good at validating how I feel and just making sure that I’m not stifling myself. So, definitely props to her entirely.
E: I like how you pass on that to others.
Yeah, I try. I think it’s a really nice message to spread.
L: That was really great. I think a lot of people needed to hear that.
L: Tell us about your tattoo.
So it’s “I love you” in sign language. I got it when I was eighteen when I thought that I was gonna do a sign language major and I went to the University of Tennessee. And I did that. And it was wonderful, but I hated University of Tennessee, so I made the decision to come here, which was a really hard decision, but it was a good call. But now the plan is to get my Masters in education and then go back and finish my interpreters license so I can be a teacher and interpreter.
L: So when did you transfer?
So I went there for my freshmen year, took fall semester of my sophomore year off, and did a service project, and then transferred here in my spring semester of sophomore year.
L: What was your service project?
I worked at a school in super East End Richmond. Like Creighton Court area. And I worked in a fourth-grade classroom.
L: That’s really cool. So you did a lot of ASL in high school, then.
Uh huh. So I definitely, definitely, want to go back. But this school sucks because they don’t have ASL classes.