This Is My Brave, 2.0

New and greatly improved! (Video-heavy post ahead, just an FYI.)

Last time, I left you with just my story, because Older Sister had videotaped it, and I posted it here.

Now, you get everyone else’s stories.

This Is My Brave occurred exactly two months ago, on May 15, 2015. And what a night it was.

I was surrounded by kindred spirits, people who were not afraid to start and carry on a conversation about mental illness. Many of them have since become my friends.

Many, many thanks to Jennifer Marshall, and the This Is My Brave team for putting the videos out on Youtube.

Here is the whole entire show, running about 2 hours and 15 minutes:

Here it is, broken down by individuals –

~ Greg Thompson, with “Murmur.” Greg’s wife Jean actually wrote this piece, but Greg performs it. It is quiet, like a murmur, devastating, and powerful.:

~ Sandy Koloupek, with “Picture Perfect.” I myself would have thought Sandy was the sort of person who had it all, but I appreciate that she shares her story, that that isn’t so, but, as she puts it, that they are better for it.:

~ Ryan Hansen, with “A Boy.” I loved Ryan’s piece. It gave me a new perspective, namely that of men with depression. Like Chillipepperwild later, I would be very interested in learning more about men with depression. And Ryan truly braved it, having a hurt foot to perform that night!:

Anna Bandfield, with “Given the Chance.” While I cannot choose a favorite piece among them, Anna’s was one that stood out to me, firstly because she memorized it, and second because, in a way, she spoke the words that I’ve been trying to find to describe everything.:

Erika Miranda-Bartlett, with “The Spanish Butterfly.” Erika has inspired me to try my hand at becoming more snarky and witty. Maybe at the next This Is My Brave, I’ll have a stand-up routine, inspired by Erika. Love this!:

Hannah Twitchell, with “Peanut Butter Patterns.” I felt for Hannah, because she has a double-edge to her mental illness. You need to watch this video.:

Wes Forester, with “The Rain Came Down.” Wes’ story was so powerful, and I could identify with him. And the song is amazing, one of my new favorites ever.:

Heather Akers, with “What Not To Say.” I also felt for Heather. I can’t speak for her, but it’s almost as if she comes from a lineage where mental illness is still considered taboo, given her shroud of secrecy about taking part in the project. Hopefully, this will give her opportunities to speak more openly about it.:

Ted and Annie Potter, with “Dissonance.” A husband and wife team who personify ‘in sickness and in health, til death do us part.’ Ted and Annie were both very warm and open people, always bringing treats to rehearsals. Exceptional people.:

Libby Potter (Ted and Annie’s daughter), with “Looks Like Love.” Here’s a song that should be on the radio but isn’t. Thanks to Libby, it’s one of my most favorite songs ever.:

Me, with “Still Drying.” Just in better quality than what I posted before. I still thank Older Sister for filming the previous video.:

Diane Painter, with “My Journey Through Art.” Diane was a really creative and wonderful person. I actually saw her at the Iowa Arts Festival a month or so ago, but she didn’t see me, so I didn’t get a chance to say hello, even though I wanted to. Diane gave everyone in the cast a sample of her artwork as well. I keep mine safely tucked away, but in a place I can pull it out and remember Diane’s strength and bravery.:

Diana DeSerano, with “The Story of Her, The Story of Me.” Of all of my cast mates, Diana was the one I knew the least, sorry to say. I hope to change that. Her poem is tremendous. Plus, she was the cast hugger, as Brooke says.:

Margelea Warner, with “Keys To Recovery.” Margelea’s journey was an interesting one, and the key aspect is one I’d never thought of. I love the idea, the keys being a metaphor for recovery. Beautifully done.:

Chillipepperwild, with “Conqueror.” Like Ryan earlier, Chilli also brought to my attention a new perspective – African-Americans with depression, which is something I would love to learn more about and help out with awareness for. Chilli was truly the bravest of us all, given everything she’d been through, and everything she is still facing.:

Joan Becker, with “Use Your Voice.” Not meaning this in a bad way, but Joan was probably the most famous of all of us. She was speaking up on behalf of her son Mark. There’s not a lot more I could say about this without Joan saying it herself.:

Joe Sorenson, with “King for a Day.” This song is another one of my favorites ever. You will be able to say “I remember Joe Sorenson when….” because he deserves to be a household name. He is tremendously talented, and a great person overall.:

I hope you enjoyed the videos. It really was an amazing night, and one I won’t soon forget.

Me with my cast mates:



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