White Pines is partnering with Elkins Park neighbor Judah Rosenstein to support a production of This Is My Brave - a show about what it's like to live through mental illness and come out on the other side. The emotions from having experienced mental illness first-hand are raw, excruciating, thrilling, inspiring and so much more.
The mission of This Is My Brave, Inc. is to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues by sharing personal stories of individuals living successful, full lives despite mental illness through poetry, essay and original music, on stage in front of a live audience, through stories submitted and published to our blog, and via our YouTube channel.
From the This Is My Brave website: In August of 2011, more than six years after Jennifer Marshall's bipolar disorder first surfaced, she decided to start a blog. It became a place where she turned to write about her life as a wife and young mom to two small kids, and writing helped her begin to heal. She titled it: Bipolar Mom Life.
Jennifer wrote anonymously at first, because she was afraid of being judged. She also worried that disclosing her mental illness may make future employment opportunities difficult. For eighteen months, Jennifer wrote and found community online. Other writers who were openly sharing their stories of overcoming mental illness inspired her, and when she landed her first paid writing job, Jennifer decided to stop hiding behind a pen name.
When WhatToExpect.com published her first article with Jennifer's byline, it was also picked up by AOL.com (the parent company). The outpouring of support and gratitude when that piece hit the Internet with her real name was overwhelming. She knew immediately that disclosing was the right decision. She could finally talk about all parts of her life, and not just the shiny, fun moments.
About six months later, Jennifer had the idea to launch a theater show. She wanted to give others the same opportunity she had - a stage on which to share their story of living a successful life despite mental illness. Jennifer met her Co-Founder, Anne Marie Ames, at a mutual friend's party and recruited her to help put the project out to the world.
Jennifer and Anne Marie launched This Is My Brave on Kickstarter in October of 2013 and the excitement surrounding the project grew and grew. They offered tickets to the first show and handmade "BRAVE" bracelets, among other items, as rewards for financial pledges of support. Within 31 days, the campaign had surpassed their goal of $6500 to fund the first show, ending up with over $10,000 in contributions. It was clear that the community wanted to help bring this show to life - they believed in the vision and Jennifer and Anne Marie were dedicated to delivering an exceptional production.
Do you have a story to share? Craft your piece via poetry, original music, personal essay or even a comedy set. Yes, experiencing mental illness can be funny, believe it or not. :)
On July 5th we're holding auditions for our Elkins Park, PA show (scheduled for October 18th) at The White Pines Place. We’re seeking individuals who have a talent in writing or music and are ready to share their story of living a successful life despite having experienced a mental health issue. Each essay, original song, poem or comedy set must not exceed 5 minutes in length. Think of your piece as a “snippet” of your life, rather than your entire life story.
View our YouTube Channel for examples of stories we feature:https://www.youtube.com/user/thisismybrave
We can't wait to hear your BRAVE!