29200 Hoover Rd.
Warren, MI 48093
Narratives of Pain is an opportunity to verbalize all the arguments that have been beating around in your brain. When you finally get them beyond yourself and into the ears of others, you feel like you've finally released the voices in your mind and the world acknowledges their legitimacy. No, you aren't crazy. No, these are real problems that surround you. Now others are part of the dialogic. No longer do these chaotic thoughts control you but you control them by sharing them with others. When verbalized, they no longer hold you back. They are acknowledged both by you and others and you can finally move past the torture of chaotic thoughts. Narratives of Pain let's you find your willpower to first, acknowledge and second, control your thoughts. That makes you feel more in power and more sane than ever.
As an artist, social activist, and mother who is always seeking spaces of truth and light, Narratives of Pain is a bridge sorely needed between the realms of spirituality, art, and storytelling. Does the word 'spiritual' scare you? Don't worry about that; everything is welcome in this space, as long as its judgment free. This is a space where pain is not only welcomed, but transmuted and brought to resolution. It is a gift to our community, and I hope it takes root and germinates throughout the wider SE Michigan area.
I had never heard of anything like “Narratives of Pain” before. As someone who’s been in recovery from substance use disorder for almost six years now, I’m no stranger to gathering in safe spaces to discuss how I stay sober on a daily basis despite a chronic condition that wants me to drink and use drugs, so I either end up in jail, an institution or dead. But outside of the closed rooms I frequent with other recovering addicts and alcoholics, addiction is highly stigmatized, despite the fact that so many people struggle with it and other forms of mental illness. I felt that my participation in “Narratives of Pain” would be the ideal bridge for me to share my experiences with active addiction as a young person, and also, the hope for and possibility of recovery, with a more diverse cross-section of individuals. I’ve been writing about my recovery for years, whether it’s a song or a screenplay or a short story. But for this event, I chose to read a non-fiction piece about my bottom— the event that led to me finally giving life without alcohol a solid chance. I didn’t anticipate how emotional I would become, but there is a giant different between reading a piece in my head and then performing it in front of almost 100 people. I didn’t anticipate needing to pause to cry, but I know that the only reason I was able to go to that place was because of the safe environment. After I finished my piece, I was met with love and support, and countless people approached me to share their own stories of someone who they loved and had been taken from them by addiction. I realized a while ago that my story is not unique; the only unique aspect of my story is that I choose to share about it, openly, passionately and with a ferocity in spite of my fear of being stigmatized by the closed-minded… knowing that it’s only going to help someone. So, what is so integral about “Narratives of Pain,” is that it uplifts this kind of courageous sharing while removing the fear of judgment or shame or ridicule. It is an invaluable opportunity of any person, as we all have things we’re recovering from, to heal and let one’s individual healing soothe the pain of others.
Sharing amongst this group of layered and powerful voices was an important beginning for me in navigating what it means to be a survivor. It held an infinity of -I hear you / I hear you / I hear you- a kind of release necessary for healing. I'm grateful.
It took me three Narratives events to get up the nerve to share my story. Sharing was my first step in choosing my own healing over protecting the reputation and emotions of someone who was deeply harmful in their actions. I keep attending to be part of the group that is ready to listen to your story.
Narratives is an essential place providing Muslims with a safe and inspirational place to express our thoughts, feelings and dreams. Narratives is a unique event that has given new meaning to both Poetry and an Open Mic venue.
I have always used writing and performance to process my emotions. Writing provides me a safe space to explore how I really feel about something and Performing provides a structure through which I am able to express different emotions without becoming lost in them. This has been the way in which I have dealt with the difficulties in my life. Narratives of Pain, however, was different. It removed the distance that I’ve always put between myself and pain that I had been carrying around. It was amazing to watch people be so raw, and open, and when it came time for me to perform, I knew that I had a safe space to express a great hurt I had been carrying with me. I abandoned what I had prepared and instead spoke straight from my heart. I cannot clearly express how freeing it was to share in a space so open and non-judgemental.