The If You Could See Me Project?
How often in your life have you felt judged, ignored, misunderstood, or invalidated in your experiences? Have you felt unseen?
The worst thing that a person can feel in this life is invisible. To be seen is to be truly alive. The #IfYouCouldSee Me Project understands the value of talking about the things that often go unspoken.
"It is not your job to stay quiet so others can remain comfortable."
The #IfYouCouldSeeMe project is a multi-media storytelling initiative designed to break cycles of pain, silence, shame, and internalized stigma. It is an understanding that through sharing, and by witnessing, we are all being seen. We host storytelling workshops in-person and virtually throughout the year, preparing new narratives through a unique, nurturing, mindful, healing process that culminate in storytelling in-person and virtual performances. The Project is also home to a fledgling podcast network, a YouTube channel, an open submission blog, and online community. Participants have numerous entry points to explore and share the stories of their lives.
The mission of the #IfYouCouldSeeMe Movement is to create a safe, nurturing embodied storytelling space for you to explore your history, witness and be witnessed, and feel empowered in the telling of your story.
The If You Could See Me Project is committed to creating safe, nurturing, affirming, and inclusive space for ALL stories to be told. We recognize the generations of harm, oppression, dehumanization, and disempowerment created by white supremacy, racism in all forms, religious extremism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, anti-semitism, anti-Islam, xenophobia, and stigma associated with mental health, trauma, and the things that keep us silent. We stand alongside individuals whose intersectional identities have been unseen, unheard, and disregarded. We commit to listening, learning, speaking out when appropriate, and to amplifying those individuals' voices when they feel safe and called to share. We are always open to questions, suggestions, and discussion regarding ways to make our programs more inclusive. Contact us.
"Becoming whole is an exercise in allowing your true self to be seen over and over until it doesn't scare you anymore."
Erin Mahone, Founder of the #IfYouCouldSeeMe Project
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Share your Story
About Erin Mahone
Welcome to The If You Could See Me Project! I am Erin Mahone. This project was born of my growing awareness of the countless moments in my life in which I have felt disempowered, alone, afraid, and invisible, held alongside the equally abundant moments of magic, connection, power, and creativity that make life worth living.
I was raised in a family in which trauma, mental illness, and shame were gift wrapped and handed down from generation to generation, presented in tandem with the gifts of humor, love, and resilience. I bore witness to strength and I became strong. I bore witness to humor and I became funny. I bore witness to love and I became loving. I was raised in a place with a culture of silence and politeness that invited people to hold their tongue and maintain the status quo. This always felt wrong but I saw few examples modeling an alternative. I bore witness to silence and I became silent.
When I was 16 years old, a life-threatening accident resulting from my own impulsivity landed me broken and ashamed. The foundation I was given taught me to put a smile on my face, expect nothing from anyone, and deal with the pain by myself. The silence I was met with after that accident made me feel alone and separate from the world. I knew that others in my family had experienced similar isolation and yet we still didn't talk about it. No one asked if I was ok. I didn't ask for help.
For a decade, I struggled and felt like a failure - because I failed at most everything. Slowly, I began to find my footing when I was thrust into motherhood earlier than planned and it became the most important thing in the world to me that I take responsibility for my own healing - so that I could create the family I had always longed for. I overcorrected from feeling like a failure, to becoming a perfectionist who felt the constant need to prove herself worthy of love and success.
I wanted to be of service. But as a result of the trauma combined with anxiety and depression, and then undiagnosed ADHD, it took me until I was 30 to complete my bachelor's degree; and at 42, I finished my master's in counseling to finally live out my dream of becoming a therapist working with trauma survivors, helping them to rewrite their stories. In the 12 years between these two milestones I wrote two solo-shows and a book, performed on hundreds of stages, gave a TEDx talk, started The If You Could See Me Project, produced events for thousands of audience members, won awards, developed creative and connective spaces for people to feel seen and valued, started businesses, and alongside my spouse of over 20 years, raised three magnificent children. Everyday I continue to become myself a little at a time. The pain and trauma are part of my story but they exist alongside all the other parts. The same is true for your story as well.
I have the privilege of fulfilling many roles - spouse, mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, granddaughter, friend, creator, facilitator, therapist, writer, singer, storyteller, producer, traveler, seeker, survivor, and cyclebreaker. My story is constantly unfolding before me and I am honored to hold space for your story to unfold as well.
The If You Could See Me Project is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.