No ‘one-size-fits-all fairytale ending’ in storytelling event June 25
Imagine developing amnesia and forgetting you are married. Or preparing to marry and realizing you’re attracted to someone else.
Both of these scenarios play out in true, personal stories that will be shared on June 25 in a virtual storytelling event hosted by the USA TODAY Network’s Storytellers Project.
Our relationships with others, whether family or friends, serves as the common thread running through five tales during the hour-long show, which will be livestreamed at 8 p.m. EDT on the Storytellers Project’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Adam and Raquel Gonzales of Arizona will share a story about how they fell in love again after Adam suffered amnesia. Dani Ausen of Iowa has an unusual coming out story, and Victor Medina of New York will talk about his love affair with nature and how it led to a special moment with his mother.
Arizona resident Jordan Pollins’ relationship with his brother is more complex because of mental illness but he finds a way to connect, and Kyla Postrel of Oregon will open up about her complicated personal identity as an adopted child.
“We hope to share that marriages can overcome some pretty dramatic events,” said Raquel Gonzales, whose husband suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2016. “And there is no one-size-fits-all fairytale ending. We show up, we love each other, we fight, we stumble and we keep going.”
Postrel says she agreed to participate in the show for several reasons.
“The world is waking up to racial, religious and social struggles I’ve lived with my whole life and some people have lived with over centuries of generations. One more story adds to a general understanding of the complicated identity of being American and belonging to a specific, personal group — “Jew-ish” Korean adoptee, in my case,” she said.
The message she is hoping to convey through her story is that love is universal.
“Every life has a unique story, but our ability to love and be loved is what binds us as humans,” said the 32-year-old.
Ausen, 37, who finds love while playing “Dungeons and Dragons” — and while planning her wedding — must confront her suppressed feelings for women and embrace her authentic self. She says she hopes people watching next week will see there are many different ways to express your true self.
“There is no one face of the LGBTQ community,” she said. “Our stories are rich and varied, and no two people have the same experience.”
Ausen also hopes those who find themselves in the same position — questioning their self-identity when they thought they were already settled — find hope in her story. She wants them to know that they’re not alone and there is a life for them on the other side of coming out as LGBTQ to family and friends.
The Storytellers Project’s virtual series, called “LIVE, In Your House," has been drawing hundreds of thousands of views since debuting April 2, when the COVID-19 pandemic started closing down venues where in-person shows had been held. Viewers can now tune in to the Storytellers Project's Facebook page or YouTube channel to watch and comment live.
The line-up June 25
- Dani Ausen, 37, of Des Moines, Iowa.
- Jordan Pollins, 21 of Phoenix.
- Raquel, 39, and Adam Gonzales, 45, Chandler, Arizona.
- Victor Medina, 29, of New York City, New York.
- Kyla Postrel, 32, of Salem, Oregon.
- July 9: Kid Stories
- July 23: Stylish Stories
- Aug. 6: Fresh Starts
- Aug. 20: Lessons Learned
- Sept. 3: Stories About Stories
Need to know
- What: Storytellers Project LIVE, In Your House!, "Friends and Family"
- When: 5 p.m. PDT/8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 25
- Where: Storytellers Project Facebook and YouTube
- More: Check out the Storytellers Project's past shows
- Tell a Story: Click here to apply to tell a story at one of our virtual shows