We're so excited to announce Ruut as our opening musician for our 3rd DC-area This Is My Brave show. She'll be performing Brave by Sara Bareilles to kick off the show, and then will also perform an original song detailing her journey overcoming the storm of depression.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Finland to a family of musicians and artists. I grew up in a house of four very emotional and expressive daughters, and whatever unresolved issues I had a kid, I poured into my songwriting. Music was truly my escape, as my family fell apart and we traveled around with my missionary Mother.
How has mental illness affected your life?
Being an artist I’ve always had an outlet for my anxiety. That’s why very few people know, that I’ve gone through three major depressions in my life. I kept it all mostly to myself, and showed a “brave” face to everyone else. Looking back, I can see now that it was important for me to go through those hard times. I can even see what caused them. But when I talk to other women, mothers, and artists who have gone through similar things, what I see most clearly, is that everyone carries some kind of shame about their mental struggles. It’s hard to admit and appear weak. I see that when we have the flu, we’re rushed off to the doctor’s to get help. But when we are depressed, very few people can even hear us, let alone want to talk to us about it.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
I consider myself a writer and performer first and foremost, and spend almost all of my time working on my craft. But I’ve made very conscious decisions as a songwriter to not pursue certain avenues in the business, because I’ve wanted my music to retain its inspirational quality. For me, it’s not just about entertaining. It’s about opening up to people. I use songwriting as a way to shine a light on issues that touch all of us as human beings, and I am so honored to join this group of brave individuals, who are taking a huge risk and bearing their souls. It is an amazing opportunity to use our words to inspire each other.
What inspires you to get (and stay) mentally healthy?
Becoming a mother changed me on a cellular level. My deepest, darkest emotions crept up to the surface when my little toddlers pushed me to the limit. I think most moms won’t admit how hard it is, (and some breeze through it like its a vacation), but it’s a big challenge for me, and I have to make conscious choices to be a good mom to my kids. A lot of my depression stemmed from unreasonably high expectations that I put on myself. Being a mom is the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me, because I learned the value in giving myself lots and lots of grace, several times a day. It’s like I was prescribed healthy dose of unconditional love as a method for genuine healing.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I’m new to this group, and wish I had time to experience it as an audience member before taking part in the show. I can imagine that it’s life changing! I hope it inspires new conversations and breakthroughs. There is no way to know the ripple effect when someone takes the risk to tell their truth. I think people will still be benefitting from these events, years and years down the road.