Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 21, 2013.

Update #13

Fall Update

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Hi everybody!

It's officially fall! The leaves are already starting to fall off the trees, I've broken out the hoodies, and Starbucks (or Caribou, or your favorite local coffee haunt) has broken out the PSLs--that's pumpkin spice lattes, for those of you who aren't hip to the lingo.

I just have a few housecleaning updates for you. I'll try to keep it quick.

For those who donated at the $35 level and chose a tote bag as your reward, you should be receiving them any day now. 

I sent out the first batch of tees yesterday. I should have the rest of them out by the end of next week, at the latest.

As your swag comes in, post a photo of yourself with it on Facebook or tweet it! If you want to friend me on Facebook so I can see, I can be found here. The Live Through This page is here. To follow me on Twitter, I'm here and here.

I'm sending along a few extras in each package. If you feel so inclined, would you disperse them throughout your neighborhood or pass them along to someone you think might be interested in the project?

Reward talk aside, I have good news and bad news:

+ The talks at UT and MIT went great! I even got to meet a bunch of backers who were so kind as to come out and support me. It was amazing being able to talk to--and, in some cases, hug--so many of you. If you think your local university or advocacy group might benefit from a talk on Live Through This/suicide awareness and happen to have a connection, send me an email (des@livethroughthis.org), would ya?

- Due to housing and scheduling issues, I've had to postpone the Chicago trip. I'll try again next summer or so. Fingers crossed!

That's all I've got. Hope you're all well.

Bundle up,
Des


Update #12

National Suicide Prevention Week (and Reward Update)

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Hi everyone:

Long time, no talk. I hope you're all well. Since my last update, I've visited both D.C. and Raleigh. I'm finalizing plans for Chicago this week. So far, I've collected 53 portraits and stories in 4 different cities.

For those of you in Austin or Boston: I will be speaking about the project at UT Austin on Tuesday, 9/24, from 6:30 to 8pm, and at MIT on Monday, 9/30, time TBD. For more details, email me at des@livethroughthis.org.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. In recognition of that, I will be posting one story a day, through Friday. The stories you’ll be reading this week come from attempt survivors on both coasts who, cumulatively, demonstrate a depth and breadth of experience.

I'm opening the week with Eris Discordia's story. She's an attempt survivor who, many years after her own attempt, lost her mother to suicide. I met her when I went to Raleigh to collect stories and portraits. She opened her home to myself and several other survivors so we'd have somewhere comfortable to do this hard work. She fed us and watered us, and I'm so grateful to have met her. Her story is incredible. Take a look.

BACKER REWARD UPDATE: I'm sure many of you are wondering where your rewards are. I'm happy to tell you that most of them are safe in boxes in my bedroom. I'm gathering shipping supplies and hope to have them out by the end of November. I realize that this is three months later than my intended delivery date, but I severely misjudged the amount of support this project would receive. In short: you guys are amazing (please be patient with me)!

That's that! Please be sure to check in on the site over the course of the week. You might read a story that really resonates. As always, please share. The more people who know that it's okay to talk about suicide, the more lives saved.

-Dese'Rae


Update #11

LTT: DC Edition + Updates

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Hi everyone! 

The weather in New York has been pretty intensely indecisive lately. It's hot, then it's cold, then it's raining, then it's not. It's madness. I'm so excited to step away from it for a moment, and looking forward to taking LTT down to our nation's capital this weekend.

Eight amazing humans have agreed to share their stories with me over the course of Saturday and Sunday. Sahar Sarshar will be working with me to film stories in and around the National Mall on Sunday. If you're not familiar with Sahar, she's the amazing filmmaker behind the Iranian series Zir Zameen, or "underground," about underground artists and activists. Live Through This is featured in episode 6, below.

The Meet & Greet goes down Saturday night at Cause (1926 9th St NW) from 8pm until whenever. If you don't know about Cause, it's a philanthropub, meaning that they donate all profit to a rotating list of awesome organizations that deserve our attention. Currently, they are: Life Pieces to Masterpieces, One Acre Fund, and Year Up. Check 'em out. There's food and drink, good causes to support and good people to support them with. Come on out if you're in DC! 

After I return from DC, I'm going to take a month off to travel (Cambodia!) and do a little self care, so the site and Facebook page might go quiet for a bit. I've got a few ideas up my sleeve, and need some time to consider how to put them out into the world in the most appropriate way. When I return, I'll start scheduling interviews for Raleigh (8/16-8/20). Note: Boston has been moved to April 2014.

Just last week, Lori Baird put together an amazing inaugural edition of Talk Therapy, a storytelling show here in New York, to benefit LTT. Ed Gavagan (The Moth, TED), Susannah Cahalan (author of NYT bestseller Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness), and John Flynn (Upright Citizens Brigade) shared some of their incredible stories, and I talked a bit about how LTT came to be. The whole shebang raised over $400, which I already have plans for, but I'm not going to tell you what they are just yet--don't want to jinx anything. I'll try and get some of that material up for you guys to consume ASAP.

Before I wrap this up, in case you missed it, I was on BBC World Have Your Say talking about suicide back in early June. It was one of the more productive conversations backed by a large media entity that I've been able to take part in thus far. You can have a listen here.

Again, as always, thank you so much for caring, contributing, and getting the word out.

-Dese'Rae


Update #10

It's a fine day for an update!

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Hello!

I write this missive from my couch in Brooklyn, where I'm busy being sick as a dog. The weather's starting to get warm in New York, I'm wishing I could go have a beer in a park or something, and I hope you're all wonderful. 

Two big updates today:

1. We got a two page spread in the June 2013 Pride issue of Curve Magazine! Get thee to your local magazine seller and grab a copy (this is on my to-do list).

2. I sat down the other night and blocked out tentative "tour dates" for the project. I'm listing them below, so get excited (!), but please note that they're subject to change. 

June 22-24, 2013: DC
August 2013: Boston/Raleigh
October 2013: Chicago
November 2013: Austin
January 2014: Miami/Orlando
February 2014: Seattle
March 2014: LA
April 2014: Norfolk
May 2014: Philadelphia
June 2014: Minneapolis
August 2014: Portland/Eugene

Last but not least, if you haven't looked at the site in awhile, you may have missed that there are three stories from the San Francisco area posted already! Patty, Jaime, and Pablo all have incredible stories. Go take a look. I'm trying to stick to a schedule of about one story a week, so keep your eyes peeled.

As always, thank you for reading and for your support. I couldn't have done this without you.

-Dese'Rae


Update #9

Live Through This: San Francisco Edition

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Hi guys:

I spent the entirety of last week working on LTT in San Francisco. It was quite the test run, I have to say. I met 19 amazing humans with equally amazing stories. We met in coffee shops, bakeries, in the sunlight outside a Vietnamese sandwich shop, in Dolores Park (I got half a sunburn). I worked with Wendi Koble of Swoon Films for two days. I even traveled to Oakland and Berkeley. I streamlined my process, learned more about my limits and the importance of self-care, and experimented with a tiny ethnographic-esque survey (thanks to my friends at the Neurocognition of Language Lab at Columbia University's Teachers College).

In the evenings, I drank bloody Marys, spent too much money in bookstores, and drooled on things at Amoeba. The Meet & Greet was a pretty wonderful experience, too. It was the perfect mix of old friends and new friends. My only regret is that I didn't get to have longer conversations with everyone, which was a running theme for the week. On the last day, I rested. At the beach. And it was good. Except for the part where we happened upon a pair of geese who were distressed because one of their goslings had gotten swept away by the water. By the time I realized the nature of their calls and made a rescue attempt, the gosling was no longer with us. I'm still sad about this.

I can't wait to start sharing these stories with you. For now, here are snaps of two of the aforementioned amazing humans, Rose and Rochelle.

The next few weeks will be a whirlwind of organization (I collected ~30 hours of footage in San Francisco), my 30th birthday celebration (I get to drag my mom around NYC!), the wedding of one of my best friends, travel, and maybe, eventually, a nap. I'm thinking I'll keep the next stop for LTT relatively close to home: a quick trip to DC in June, maybe. 

Just a couple of press updates before I shut my trap:

1. David Crary of the Associated Press wrote an amazing piece about suicide attempt survivors and how we can be quite the resource when it comes to suicide prevention: Suicide Survivors Help to Shape Prevention Efforts.

2. HuffPost Live contacted me yesterday to pose a question to Mariel Hemingway (Ernest Hemingway's granddaughter) re: her film, "Running from Crazy," about her family's history with mental illness & suicide. My question and her answer run from about 16:25-18:30: Mariel Hemingway's 'Running from Crazy.'

3. A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Sahar Sarshar to film a segment for ZirZameen, a Persian and English series about underground artists and activists. I even got to help with filming some of the b-roll! Take a look.

As always, thank you for your support. I'm so grateful. Words fail me. I hope you're all well, especially in light of recent events.

-Dese'Rae


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