I'm a lover of old bay if that tells you anything! Grew up in Maryland, and am from one of the cutest cities in the state: Frederick. I'm a singer, musician, writer, yoga and fitness instructor, and mother to a lovely bunny named Chumby. I'm also a daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, and friend, who loves creating, exercising, watching improv, auditioning for theater (try, try again), enjoying the outdoors, bingeing on makeover shows, drinking tea and meditating. There are so many more things I could list that I enjoy doing, but I'll keep it under two hands of counting!
As a chipper, young doe in this forest of life, I am, like so many others, also riddled with negativity, sadness, low self-worth, and the list goes on and on. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized I had value both as the happy-go-lucky person people often saw me as and as the depressed person I tried to hide. I didn't believe that anyone would like to see the dark parts of me, having been a source of light, comedic relief, and smiles for as long as I can remember. Mental illness has made me my own worst enemy, retelling negative falsehoods, replaying the past, overanalyzing my every thought, feeling weighted and debilitating me to the point of wanting to step in front of the tube in a dreary London rail station to stop it all. It had, at points, taken my life already, but I fought against it and continue to do so, destroying even the beast that says "Shea, I've already won," and replying with "No, depression, this battle isn't meant to be won, you are meant to be managed. Say hello to your boss!" *cue scene change to an office where I tell depression to put its head down and keep working on that excel sheet of negative superlatives it'll attack me with later*
I wanted to be a part of This is My Brave, because the title so effortlessly embodied exactly what I've been feeling this year: courageous. Courageous not because I've conquered depression, but because I'm on my way to owning and accepting the whole woman I am, with my struggles included. With that ownice and acceptance, also comes unity. Artists and creators, speakers and storytellers, businesswomen and grocery clerks, mothers and high school children, becoming one even with feelings of isolation. Not alone. Not weak. But together. And brave. Showing our own community of everyday underdogs that we can and will be the hero in our own stories.
I'm most inspired by creation. Although depression has been an incredibly amazing source of creativity and ideas, it's the act that most inspires me. When I'm depressed, I don't make things. I don't go for things. I'm not brave. I'm unmotivated, "slumpy," and usually crying and unshowered. But when I'm mentally healthy, I feel able. I feel confident. And I understand the journey. I'm motivated to sing, write, act, draw, make, whatever strikes me! With that mental clarity and health, I'm also, as my friend Julian says, "the main character in my own life." I'm not just "the camera person" watching me live. I'm living. That feeling of being present and alive. Is what inspires me.
I hope the audience finds their own sense of community among us. I know that sounded kind of alien-like lol "among us." But mental illness can make us feel strange, so realizing that this world is full of crazy, loveable, fantastic aliens like yourself. They're called people. They're called "you" and "her" and "they" and "him" and "me" and their stories and struggles are unifying.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Shea and more brave storytellers. This is one mental health performance you won't want to miss!
Please share this post with friends and family in the Baltimore area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.