Sponsor an “I Am More” Portrait

I Am More: Massachusetts has launched with a visit to a combat vet named Ryan in Springfield to talk about his life after Operation Iraqi Freedom and to take reference photos in his favorite place which involved a snowy walk in the woods. I can’t tell you how helpful it is for me to have a portrait rolling again. On Day 2 of drawing my fingers are blue but my heart is content. 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

I Am More: Henry

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

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