Playwriter, and Owner of Heal. Be. Live., LLC
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise/and of your art form/expression?
Right now, one of the ways that I promote mental health is through the visibility of my business’ name and the logo on clothing. The logo, itself (which was completely created by the Holy Spirit), is so packed with a message of healing. Heal. Be. Live. The words all tell a story, individually and collectively. The idea is that “in order to live, you must first learn how to “be” and in order to “be,” you must first heal.” Heal. Be. Live. Each of these words represent a single phase that must be carried out in its own right. The three periods represent an “ellipsis.” “In creative writing, the ellipsis functions to indicate that the speaker has trailed off and left a sentence or thought unfinished.” In my logo, the ellipses symbolize the reality that the process of healing, learning to be, and living are ever-ending processes, again, individually and collectively. Finally, Be. Live. is a play on “believe.” The idea is that some level of faith (or belief) is necessary to walk out this process. The logo is black, white and red. “Black” and “white” represent a spectrum of “extremes.” Red is the color of blood, which is the source of life and one thing that all humans have in common. (Red also represents the blood of Jesus).
As an artist, it is my mission to “present” reality in creative way that allows audiences to engage with the topic of conversation in way that is of lower risk. I do not “reinvent the wheel.” I am not trying to be a hub for mental health resources. At minimum, I use theatre to depict ways in which mental health plays out in the real world. If an audience comes into agreement with a particular “depiction,” then we have been successful at 1) helping communities acknowledge that mental illness is real and 2) mental health is worth striving for.
As a social worker/activist, my goal is to then connect audiences to mental health resources within the community that are already doing the work...and doing it well. I am a bridge. Nothing else. Occasionally, these two versions of me come together when I am facilitating workshops or groups in which we are using the theatre to have conversations and challenge participants to engage with their own state of mental wellness (or lack thereof). This leads to my next answer...
What are some things that we should know about your area of expertise?
My “area of expertise” is multi-dimensional. It is a path that is not completely developed and it can look different depending on the person. For me, my “area of expertise” is a culmination of all of my training, educational background, passions, gifts and talents. More specifically, journey consists of “art,” specifically theatre (I have been acting professionally for seven years and performing even longer). It consists of social work and therapeutic methods (I have a Masters in Clinical Social Work).