Good Girl Chronicles to Participate in This is My Brave: Arlington
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard of ‘This is My Brave’. I was driving on a narrow Richmond road, making my way to Lynchburg, Virginia. The sky had a grew hue to it, covered with so many clouds the sun couldn’t break through. I was frustrated.
“They just don’t understand Ivory. They don’t get it. Blogging about my suicide attempt is freeing me,” I said. I was on the phone with my old TV reporter friend Ivory. She had recently read a blog I wrote about the suicide attempt that ruined my life and any chances of a big time journalism career. My parents had read it also and we were not as accepting as so many of my friends had been. I wrote a blog about my life after my suicide attempt. The attempt would force me leave my tv job at a number one rated station and fall into the deepest, darkness depressive episode I’ve ever experienced.
“You know I had no idea you were struggling with all of that. Talking about it helps. I wish my brother did,” Ivory replied. “There’s this organization up here in Northern Virginia called This is My Brave and people actually get on stage and talk about mental illness. It’s really powerful. I wish my brother would go,” she said her voice drifting off.
I couldn’t believe what she was saying.
People actually talk about what I’m going through in front of a live audience? Why would they do that? Aren’t they scared?
After my talk with Ivory I made a mental note to check out This is My Brave. I watched this video clip first.
This is My Brave is a non-profit that gives people with mental illness a platform to share their stories online, and onstage. I later learned that the co-Founder Jennifer Marshall started This is My Brave after writing a blog about living with bipolar disorder. The blog went viral and Jen realized so many people living with mental illness wanted and needed a platform to speak their truths.
Earlier this year I submitted a blog to ‘This is My Brave’ called the Road to Acceptance. Click on this link to read it: https://thisismybrave.org/blog/the-road-to-acceptance
I also had the opportunity to see a This is My Brave show in Arlington, Virginia. It was everything I imagined This is My Brave would be. I got to meet Jennifer Marshall and had a full on fan girl moment. And, for the evening I witnesses so many brave souls speak about the peaks, and valleys; highs and lows of living with mental health. Sometimes it was funny, sad, and emotional. I remember looking in the audience and seeing so many people nod their heads in agreement. It was another reminder that we are not in this battle of mental illness. The audience was filled with family members, and people with similar struggles. I felt safe, whole, and more brave than ever to keep sharing my story.
This Sunday I have the amazing opportunity to step on the This is My Brave stage and speak my truth. It’s interesting how my journey with This is My Brave has come full circle like this. One of This is My Brave’s mottos is storytelling saves lives. I know that as a speaker, blogger, advocate.
Sharing my story has freed me of so much shame, guilt, and pain of living with a mental illness. And, I will share a story on how I went from acceptance, to advocacy. I love what Jennifer Marshall says, “One day it won’t be called brave to talk about mental illness, it will be called normal.”
In order for that to happen we need storytellers to keep speaking their truth. I plan to do my part.
If you’d like to hear me and the other cast mates there’s still time to get tickets: https://app.mobilecause.com/form/Rao–w