Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Jenna Marotta, a writer in Brooklyn. My work has been published by the websites of Esquire, New York, Playboy, The New York Times Magazine, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine. I was born in Evanston, Illinois, and I grew up in Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut and Missouri. My two younger siblings and my parents have since returned to Illinois, and we all have names that begin with the letter “J.” I adore improv, sketch-comedy and song parodies.
How has mental illness affected your life?
I was first treated for anxiety and depression about 10 years ago. I’ve also engaged in self-injury by both binge eating and skin-picking.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
Some of the people I love and respect most have faced mental illness, and I have no reason to feel shame (even though so many health insurance plans fail to cover mental health expenses). I want to be a member of the storytelling community in New York City, and reading a personal essay about my biggest struggle seems like a good place to start.
What inspires you to get and stay mentally healthy?
When the Marie Claire essay I’ll be reading was published, I received dozens of kind messages from women who knew what it was like to loathe looking in the mirror. I’m inspired by them, my journalism colleagues, the people who take risks, the memory of those that are gone, the people who make me laugh and the knowledge that Derek Jeter remains unwed.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I only know what it’s like to live inside my brain, so I don’t feel right drawing conclusions for other people. I just hope everyone is kind and maybe a little more careful about characterizing one another as “crazy.”
Be sure to grab your tickets for the show to see Jenna and our entire NYC cast perform at our show on October 4th!