My best friend sent me this quote. It has here, next to my desk, greeting me every day I sit down to work. I have yet to paint over the turquoise nursery walls. Until I do, it will sit against the wall of what has become my office.
I hadn't thought much about the quote until today. Staring at the gold block letters, abstract patches of color behind them, I get it.
This Is My Brave and all our supporters have created what we wished existed. We noticed what was missing from our world and we challenged it by putting our stories out there.
Our goal when we launched This Is My Brave was simply to "get people talking about mental illness." We created a platform for people to tell their stories through poetry, original music and personal essay. Not only are they utilizing creative expression to allow themselves to keep going despite mental illness. They're also sharing their art on a live stage so others can find hope.
We created what we wished existed.
Through This Is My Brave, we also manifested:
- A supportive community of individuals who lift each other up when we're down
- A growing awareness of how many people experience mental illness
- Continued opportunities to share our stories through community events and blogging
- A line of Brave Gear which can be gifted and worn to express our messages of hope
We created This Is My Brave because we wanted to put names and faces to the true stories of mental illness. You can join our movement. Submit a blog, sign up to volunteer, audition for a future show (details coming soon on our fall shows!), watch performances on our YouTube channel and share them.
We could continue to hide behind fake smiles and borrowed laughter because we've bottled up the pain of our mental illness. Or, we can talk about the trauma in our past which bubbles to the surface sometimes. We think no one cares, when in reality there are so many people who want to see you stay alive.
Life is too short to waste time on small talk. This Is My Brave provides an opportunity for the types of conversations which fuel connection and foster respect. The types of conversations which save lives because the walls come down and we realize we're more alike than we are different. And it's okay to reach out for help.
We expose our scars not to broadcast our devastation, how close we came to death, the numbness we crawled through. We talk because we've been silent for too long. Each time a story is shared, there is someone who hears it and says, "me too."
We're thrilled to be participating in the 2016 NAMI National Convention in Denver, Colorado this week. Tomorrow evening we will be emceeing the Open Mic Performance Night, with several of our Denver storytellers participating. If you're attending the conference and would like to share your story, please arrive at 7pm to sign up!