I will be getting the results of the mental health awareness Canada Post stamp competition next week, but in lieu of my involvement has opened a new opportunity.
I will be a speaker on a discussion panel for Workman Arts (who work closely with CAMH-center for addiction and mental health), and their Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival youth program Rendezvous in the Classroom. Youth oriented films from the festival line up have been chosen and will be show cased in schools all across Toronto. This will end up reaching over 4000 students and create more awareness, support and help.
I will be the speaker representing an individual who has lived and experienced mental illness; especially as one of the films presented will be about eating disorders, another about anxiety, stigma, etc. I have watched the films and they are striking and quite effective in stirring thought, emotion, and discussion. The films are an art form in themselves and intriguing from a visual artist perspective, also being a former dancer the performances and settings are fascinating and full of qualities that excite me.
Although I make videos occasionally and seem well spoken, I am terrified and have a huge fear of speaking. Since I was little 'voice' was not the chosen or accepted form of expression and therefore naturally resorted towards being quiet, introspective, creating ways to entertain myself, communicating through wildlife, and being at times a complete and a bit 'off' tomboy. I liked playing with the other boys in the class, and had trouble with the girls as they didn't want to jump off the top of the jungle gyms or catch bugs. Not being able to express myself through words I often didn't know how to deal with the overwhelming emotions and just cried A LOT. Even starting to dance I remember being the one who cried the most in class. And this anxiety has never really left me and deal/cope with it to this day. Yup, but through out the years and experiences I've compiled an ample arsenal of tools to express myself as I see fit to my satisfaction (although there are times when words/images/colors/descriptions are not enough).
So how am I to face the gym/classroom/lecture hall full of high school students!? Preparation. This is a challenge and I love challenges; I often set them up for myself to make progress, improve, fulfill my curiosity, be stimulated and better myself as an individual. I have a huge distaste for the class room/school system but can not get enough knowledge or learning; curious, fascinated, enthusiastic, enthralled, surprised, amazed, I am exuberant! So here I go again, facing my fears and I believe I will overcome any road blocks that arise. It is fun, sort of, in a strange way. (This is the sort of attitude that got me into trouble with bees, jellyfish, coral, and a whole slew of stories I will tell you of another time).
Anyways I wanted to share that with you and if you are curious (*smile*) go check out www.rendezvouswithmadness.com, and www.workmanarts.com and www.camh.net
Have a wonderful day and lets face our fears shall we!?