I Am More: Ryan M

Ryan came into my life when I was trying to find portrait subjects for I Am More in Worcester. A friend reached out to him for leads, and I suddenly had a complete stranger advocating for the project, contacting organizations and individuals who might be able to help. Soon he experienced what I had been coping with for weeks – dead ends. So many dead ends, that he apologetically offered to “throw his own hat in the ring” if I needed him to. That was a big YES from me and soon I was sitting in his apartment listening to this story: Continue reading

Advertisements

I Am More: Carol

Carol is a beloved former neighbor of my parents. She moved in next to them after I was long gone, and for years I heard about the joy she brought to that little corner of my old neighborhood–the laughter, the flowers and the friendship. It wasn’t until after she was planning her move back to Massachusetts that she heard about my project and a thread of recognition formed between us. A year later we were drinking tea in her new livingroom in Westborough and she told me this story: Continue reading

I Am More: Massachusetts

When the I Am More project came to be a year ago, I was determined to complete 16 portraits of subjects with some type of mental suffering, encourage 16 essays to accompany them about how they are more than their suffering, and share them with my community. When I completed Patrick and York last month, rather than feeling accomplishment and finality, I felt emptiness and restlessness. For a year I had always had one more portrait to do and that had sustained me. Continue reading

I Am More: Kyla

I was recently invited back to Gloucester High School by art teacher Lorrinda Cerrutti to meet her student, Kyla. I was told that Kyla had some artwork she’d like to share with me. When we sat down in the artroom she pulled out a sketchbook and asked if I wanted her to take them out so it would be easier to see them. I agreed, and I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe one or two, but soon the entire table was filled with pencil drawings that said more than most words. Ms. Cerrutti said all she had to do was explain the I Am More project and Kyla began a storm of creativity. I’m so grateful that she chose to share them with us: Continue reading

I Am More: Your Turn

One year ago a thought came to me while sitting on my couch unable to do anything else. I am more than this depression. That thought became an idea, and the idea became a reality. Sixteen portraits and twenty-one essays were born out of that initial thought, from individuals of all ages who shared their histories, their loves, their dreams and their gifts. They have inspired us, educated us, broken our hearts, and reminded us of all that we are capable of. Continue reading

I Am More: Sefatia

Soon after the Pulse nightclub shooting a prayer vigil was organized in front of Gloucester City Hall. Iain and I found ourselves there with a shell-shocked group of Gloucester residents under the new Pride flag waving at dusk. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken came to the microphone and gave a rousing speech about inclusion and acceptance and love. How many public servants speak about love? Not many, I would guess, but as I’ve gotten to know her through this project, it seems to be the theme of this mayor’s life: Continue reading