7 Stories: Fractured Mirror

Crowd listens at open mic event in low light cafe

In a world full of disconnection, whether it be your phone, laptop or your Netflix account, we can forget that the world surrounding us is full of stories. Sharing our stories isn’t just a form of entertainment, but a form of connection.
Kings, a music venue located on 14 W. Martin St. in downtown Raleigh, plays an array of local and touring musicians. It’s shared with Neptune’s, a basement bar beneath the music venue that occasionally plays music.
The venue holds a monthly event called 7 Stories. Seven stories are told by seven people for seven minutes each, each surrounding a theme for the month. The stories are true and about the lives of many in the downtown area, who strip themselves of any fear to make a connection with strangers. The month of April’s theme was called Fractured Mirror which focused on stories of mental health.
The important message throughout all seven stories told on March 26 was removing the stigma around discussing mental health. Many fear to expose or seek treatment for mental health because of the negative connotations surrounding being diagnosed with a mental disorder. All seven storytellers promoted talking to others about mental health and creating a conversation.
Some of the stories were inspiring, dark, funny, and historical. Nick, an actor, spoke about being emotionally abused by his father and the effects of being complacent in a relationship in fear of losing someone that he believed he cared about.
The fan favorite seemed to be Suzy, who faced her anxiety, her hand shaking but her voice strong as she spoke candidly on her sexual assault. The audience laughed after she proclaimed how happy she was at the moment in a relationship, to a point that she had a panic attack about being happy. She feared something could come around the corner and take it away.
Jes Bolduc, a comedian, found humor in her own suicide attempt while talking about the vagary and seriousness of coping with a mental disorder.
“They told me ‘we don’t have enough room the regular psych ward so you have to go the geriatric psych ward’…so you’re just going to show me my future,” Bolduc joked on stage.
People with mental illness have to shift the dialogue in their head. That’s what could be taken away from the night.  In order to perceive reality as is and not as an askew version that can cause stress, people must be willing to allow themselves to be open to listen to when someone seems to be seeking an ear.
Seven Stories on Sunday night achieved the attempt at creating a dialogue. Those who were in attendance listened, clapped, and cheered as the seven people finished their stories.
The night was magical and motivational. And it could have been someone in the crowd, listening to their own story being told through someone else’s eyes that could provoke someone to get help. There was the possibility that someone struggling with a mental illness would be encouraged by the positive, non-judgement response surrounding the night’s stories to give someone the strength to talk about it. Whatever came after those seven stories, it was worth it.

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