Moving forward I am taking my skills of storytelling and putting them on TikTok as @ladydeathdoula as I start my certification as a Death Doula end of life caregiver in the new year. Combined with my years of suicide prevention and intervention training, and recently my grief literacy training, plus lived experience – I hope I can continue to be a resource for people who are dealing with loss and death.
With the pandemic putting a pause on the entertainment industry indefinitely, this seems like a good time to pause and reflect and do some work behind the scenes is it were. This is what I am doing. I still have my new agent trying to help me get voice overs, I am still producing and marketing Eldritch Theatre (we just had a great digital theatre experience/experiment!) and I just finished my term at Centennial College for the Museum Curatorial Management program – but in the new year when most all of those things hit pause until next fall I have something to lean into that fuels me forward.
First, the photo above was taken by Joanna Haughton as part of her Strength in Vulnerability photo-series. Here is what she wanted to share about it:
Strength in Vulnerability. The moments of our greatest strength are those we are most vulnerable. We think strength is hard, but it isn’t. That’s weakness. Strength is found when we are broken, when we let all our defenses down, and find that after everything we still stand, love, and live.
I started this series a couple years ago. Finding people willing to be totally open has been hard. But I feel this needs to be shared and can’t wait anymore.
I thought it a fitting day – Suicide Prevention Day to start to share this series. Because we all need help sometimes, we all need love, and support. And sometimes we don’t have the strength to do it alone.
I am happy to share my story in hopes it will help others through Stories Like Crazy, my co-hosted mental health podcast with Lori Lane Murphy. I live with anxiety and situational depression each year November hits as that was the date when my brother took his life in 2010. Each year I find new ways of managing and dealing with the anniversary of his death, and each year I try to spread awareness and resources so others can be alert to suicide in their community. So today of all days I would like to give you places to learn from and lean on when dealing with suicide:
I am planning on a safeTALK workshop in November to commemorate Andrew’s passin; let me know if you would like to be notified (in comments below) as I have about 12 spots this time around. Time and location TBA – but definitely in Toronto and most likely November 19th.
It’s ok to not be okay, but it’s also okay to ask for help. 💚
Recently I had the pleasure of sharing a story with Stories We Don’t Tell, a storytelling gathering in Toronto. I like their mandate:
“There are some stories that we get really good at telling, we tell them to our friends, our coworkers, and even strangers at parties. We tell them because they are a part of us, and in doing so they build up our sense of self.
There are also stories we don’t tell, maybe because they’re sad, or weird, or just a little too intimate. These truths are just as much a part of who we are, despite being erased from our day-to-day conversation.
The Stories We Don’t Tell is a monthly live event, held in living rooms across Toronto, and podcast that gives you a window into experiences that are so often left unseen.”
I had the wonderful opportunity to do my not-so-one-woman show “Everything But The Cat…” for CMHA National #MH4A17 Conference and it was amazing! Met new amazing stigma fighters and even saw some familiar faces. The audience for my show was equally amazing, such great feedback and probably the world’s greatest hugs that ever happened in my life today. A special thank you to the AV team that hustled the conference room into a mini theatre, and to the team that puts together a great event to bring together stigma fighting warriors to learn from each other, inspire each other, and refuel on each other’s passion. Thank you to Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences#MindVine for having in as an impromptu guest, it was so great hanging out with you! And the love from Natalie from Art With Impact was so great just before I went into my presentation.
And as always Stevie Baker is the best Stage Manager and had my back & made the show that much more awesome!
Once upon a time, Lori Lane Murphy met me online… I was stoked to be a part of her All In Our Heads storytelling event at The Paddock a while ago, and wouldn’t you know it – Lori was even cooler in person. I even met her husband Paul who I immediately wanted to be his sister!
Fastforward past coffee chats and more storytelling events to when Lori brings this great idea of a mental health podcast that we should make together. Of course I am game! We create Stories Like Crazy We have a few episodes ready to drop for #MHW17 Mental Health Week May 1-7, but we don’t stop there…
We are teaming up to bring our one-woman shows about our true life stories dealing with mental health issues in our lives. Partial proceeds will go to CHMA’s #GETLOUD campaign for this year’s #MHW17
I am so pleased to be a part of this team: The Commandment is opening this Friday at the Hamilton Fringe Festival and I can’t wait!
This solo-show has been a long time coming for my dear friend Phil Rickaby, who has poured his heart and soul into this piece – which I totally admire as a fellow creator. When I wrote Everything But the Cat… he was a great support and resource for me. And now is mixing fact and fiction, past and imaginary in his own one-man show.
When he asked me to be a part of the creative team as AD and help him do social media I jumped at the chance. Here’s the trailer I created for him:
So I hope this finds you smiling, I know I am even though I’m still under this rock. I’m also trying my hand at directing a short Fringe show this summer – so I will tell you more about that when I can 😉
I have started rehearsals (pictured is the main cast of ladies!) for this really awesome WWII EPIC called “State of Women” written by the ever-so talented Andy Lyberopoulos, and directed by Tatum Lee. It’s a 5 Act play (impressive right?!) that looks at the lives of women in WWII: factory work, personal loss and gains during the war – I’ll say it again: EPIC. It goes up in July for a limited run to preview to some big-wigs but perhaps you can steal a seat! I highly recommend it.
And lastly, I have written a web series about bereavement and grief and mental health: it’s called “2 Weeks to Paradise” <-*read the first 3 episodes here!* and I am getting the first read of it with actors going next week! I’m excited and a little bit scared with a touch of ERMERGERD. So I feel like I’m on the right track to creating something here.
OH and I’m still at the museums as their Social Media Community Manager (oh lookie I have a fancy title now!) and I’m helping plan a Steampunk festival for Zion Schoolhouse in August – be there or be a steamed square! And I am 3 courses deep into my College certificate for Social Media at George Brown (top of my class, well la-di-da!) and of course being zany on commercials or as a knight (SQUEE BEST GIG EVER!)