I Am More: Henry

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Henry with Dylan

Moving an 11-year-old from the town where she grew up to an entirely new place is hard. The kid who always had friends to play with was now alone, and the neighborhood kids weren’t knocking on our door with invites. Then we met Henry. He was teaching acting and playwriting to kids in a historic tavern in the middle of Gloucester, and he said, “Come on in, you’re welcome here.” Soon Dylan was acting again, writing with new friends and learning the history of Gloucester. Henry knew more about being an outsider than we realized: Continue reading

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I Am More: Gianna

As the creator of the I Am More project, it may get lost sometimes that I’m on the same journey with the contributors. The day that I received Gianna’s essay and artwork was a low day for me. I listened to the song “You Will Be Found” from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen” on a loop with the refrain, “You are not alone,” over and over just to get through the day. That night, with sleep and relief in sight, I checked my email and found a submission to I Am More. Gianna is a Gloucester High School student who is able to perfectly articulate the realities of depression, so much so that it was as if she had read my mind and sent me my thoughts. Thanks to Gianna, I knew in that moment I was not alone: Continue reading

I Am More: Rebecca

I met Rebecca and her husband, John, at Ocean Alliance at the Paint Factory here in Gloucester on a volunteer weekend of painting the new offices. I walked upstairs to find a smiling couple happily rolling paint on to the new sheetrock walls and ceiling. Rebecca and I realized that she had sold me the first handful of colored pencils at the local art store that marked the rebirth of my art career. An accomplished artist herself, Rebecca has shown me that the art world is not the scary intimidating place I thought, but a place of collaboration, support and wonder. It is also a tool of mental health recovery: Continue reading

I Am More: Julia

When Dylan first started working with Boston Children’s Theatre, the name Julia kept coming up. “Julia looked after us,” “Julia told me what to wear,” “Julia explained how the auditions work so I’m prepared.” Julia turned out to be the Stage Manager for the Senior Show Choir and a BCT veteran performer, and I was greatly relieved to have her take the younger actors under her wing and make everything a little less scary and intimidating. Now a sophomore at Emerson College (my alma mater),  Julia is a campus representative for Wear Your Label, a Canadian apparel company that makes clothing and jewelry to end the mental health stigma, and uses any opportunity to educate the public: Continue reading

I Am More: Laurie

I would call Laurie a peaceful warrior. She fights long and hard for the causes she believes in, but when you meet her she is relaxed and cracking jokes. She has a life-long history with depression, but she puts you at ease with her honesty and her acceptance of the cards she’s been dealt. She knows how to manage her condition, and she’s not going to let it slow her down when there’s work to be done for the planet, for women’s health and for the arts: Continue reading

I Am More: Anita

I first met Anita when she was cast in “Greasy Pole: The Musical” with Dylan, the first year we moved to Gloucester. She played “Mama,” the matriarch of the Italian family at the center of the story about the famous Gloucester tradition. She was as warm and vivacious as her character. A few weeks later I was surprised to see her at a Buddhist talk giving the introduction. Her personal story stunned me and stayed with me. I’m grateful that she is willing to share it now with you: Continue reading

I Am More: Seth

The first time I ever saw Seth he was the emcee for a charity event, hamming it up for a good cause. That seems to be an excellent description of his life’s purpose – using his humor and high energy for the greater good. It’s been a long and often dark road for Seth, but he’s a great testament to what is possible when you finally get help: Continue reading

I Am More: Ramani

If you meet Ramani around Gloucester, you will catch the twinkle in his eye and possibly get caught up in his joyful energy, since he will undoubtedly share a smile, a laugh or a story. Recently I sat down with Ramani and allowed him to transport me to the time of his birth: The Blitz. His story is a lesson in what happens when you are born into a battle: Continue reading

I Am More: Emilia

This girl. I’ve known her since she was a preschooler with the most striking eyes I have ever seen. Now that she’s a teen I have seen beyond those eyes to the person inside who is so full of love and concern for the world around her. I see her speaking out for inclusivity, for justice and kindness. I see her celebrating the beauty in the world through the arts. I see her showing boundless love for her family which includes her cats. No matter what struggles she faces, they never keep her from checking in with her friends and their own challenges. Her words below are important for us all to read and they are accompanied by her photography: Continue reading