Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finding Peace in This House: Katherine

Welcome to the fourth entry in our six-week series focused on ETD's Finding Peace in This House, which opens January 23, 2012. Today, we offer a sneak peek into the process of sculpting and performing the story of Katherine.

Katherine talks about her struggle with Anorexia Nervosa during high school, detailing her personal journey with the illness and how she eventually started on the road to healing. Katherine is just one of of the six remarkable people featured in Finding Peace in This House. (Click here to read about the other stories that comprise the show.)

Carly Bueltel, a graduate student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, interviewed Katherine and then transcribed and edited her story. ETD artistic associate Jennifer Shine performs Katherine's story onstage. Both women share how this process has impacted them.

Carly (Story Collector):
"Sitting on the other end of the phone, I was anticipatory of an individual who matched the image I had created in my head. Simply put, this was to be a girl battling Anorexia Nervosa in ways that I have read in memoirs. While I was cognizant that each story is unique, my expectations did not initially allow for this. Katherine immediately widened my perception of the personal and individual struggle with mental illness, something often forgotten. Her opening words spoke of what mental illness is and how this definition, too, is very personal. Quick to label, society places its words into others’ mouths. Erasing the Distance has allowed for Katherine’s actual words to be heard—just as she intended. Throughout the story collection, I too found myself faultily assuming what Katherine was to say next. However, waiting and listening expanded my own understanding of both Anorexia Nervosa, and of Katherine."

Jennifer (Actor):
"Katherine and I have never met, but I feel like I’ve known her for years. Although I have never personally struggled with an eating disorder, sharing her story feels like telling my own.
As young women, we must swim against a constant stream of body images defined by a society that holds no responsibility for the struggle it creates. We find ourselves locked in comparison to unrealistic body types from a very, very young age. It’s no wonder 81% of ten-year-old girls are afraid of being fat when they are raised with Barbie dolls in their hands. If Barbie were an actual woman, she would be 6’9” tall, have a 41” bust, a 20” waist, and would probably fall over. As teenagers and into adulthood, we are bombarded with images of pop stars and fashion models whose unrealistic body types lower our self-esteem. Not shockingly, 90% of women in America are unhappy with their bodies and think they need to lose weight - when in reality, only 1 in 4 women are overweight.
Eating disorders are very common and not a choice. They are not solely restricted to females, as males also struggle with eating disorders. Many underlying issues can generate different forms of eating disorders. They are illnesses that develop over time and require treatment for the complex medical/psychiatric symptoms. Sharing a story like Katherine’s is an incredible opportunity to open the window of hope to anyone struggling with low self-esteem, an eating disorder, or even to someone searching for control in the messiness of life. Katherine’s honesty, humor, and determination inspire me immensely, and I am honored to be able to share her story."

Please join us Jan. 23, 24, 30 or 31 for Finding Peace in This House. Advance ticket purchasers save $5.00 off each ticket! With only four performances, tickets will go quickly. SO GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY!

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