My name is Troy Haywood and I live right outside of Charlotte, North Carolina in a little town called Indian Trail. I am a 29-
year-old choreographer, dancer, and yoga teacher. Sometimes I like to call myself a director, but I use that term very
loosely. I am also a reader, a traveler, a dog dad, a coffee drinker, a Survivor super-fan, an EDM lover, a gay man, an extroverted introvert, a recovering alcoholic, and a manic-depressive. All wrapped up in an all black wardrobe and carrying an enthusiastic demeanor and a wild wonder of this great, big world.
I’ve got the same story as many: I was a young homosexual boy growing up in an extremely religious environment; church every Sunday and Wednesday, and private Christian school Monday through Friday. I mean, my grandfather was the pastor of the church my family were members to from the time I was a newborn to my early teenage years. It didn’t take long for me to feel a little different than everyone else. When the guys were picking teams for basketball, I was in the grass teaching the girls how to execute one-handed cartwheels. When everyone had a date to the winter formal, I was going with all of the ladies but I was really just going alone. While all of my friends attended pool parties and missions trips I spent my time dancing on competitive stages all around the country.
As soon as I graduated high school I moved my home base to Miami, Florida and traveled abroad working as a dancer for the next five years. This is when I began drinking more than usual, as many young, wild and free adults do. I noticed my drinking was a little different than the friends I surrounded myself with, though. I also began to realize my psychological reaction to my using was becoming very unhealthy. It wasn’t until 2009, right after I turned 21, I was diagnosed with
depression and axiety. I used my drinking to disguise the fact that (once again) I was different than everyone else. And I lived as the victim of this for almost a decade.
Today I am so very lucky to say that I DIDN’T reach a decade before I decided to stop being a victim of my disease, get sober and became a hero of it. Today I am allowing myself to live with my anxiety, depression, and addiction instead of allowing it to kill me. Today I am learning more about who I am, what I am capable, and how to accomplish my life’s desires. All while I have the honor of sharing all of those things with kids and adults all over the country through my dance and yoga instruction.
As soon as I heard about This Is My Brave and the story behind the show I knew I wanted to be a part of it in some capacity. The more I learned about the light that it shines on the amazing individuals, artists, writers, and so many more amazing people living with mental illness I knew I wanted to tell MY story. I saw the bravery and vulnerability these cast members from around the country possed and I wanted to be one of them. So, after 5 years of staying back stage and behind the scenes as the show goes on in front of me, I am excited to be putting my dancing shoes back on and sharing story of survival through my dance at the This Is My Brave Charlotte Show!
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Troy 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 Charlotte 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.