Tonight I listened to a This American Life segment about the artisanal toast craze and it was totally unexpected. Instead of a story about hipsters and the silliness of $4 toast we got an intimate look at the person that kicked off the trend.
Her name is Giulietta Carrelli.
The podcast is based on an article by John Gravois, you can read it here.
This isn’t a story about toast after all, its the story of a mentally ill woman on her quest for stability and life. Please, read the whole piece but here’s why I’m talking about it: Giulietta has schizophrenia and it sort of comes on in episodes where she can’t think, can’t focus, hears voices, is overwhelmed by the world, and just plain becomes dysfunctional. She wandered for a long time. Losing relationships. Losing jobs. Until finally she starts to find a few things that help her out of her episodes. One of them is talking to people, having them recognize her.
She started a coffee shop a few years ago and she walks the same route everyday to work. She makes sure to introduce herself to anyone living in the neighborhoods she passes through. She warns them that sometimes she can get lost and she would really appreciate help if that happens. When she does have an episode she knocks on people’s doors, asks them for help, and gets directions.
Her crazy appearance (seen above, and she wears the same outfit everyday like a uniform) isn’t about making some kind of statement. It’s about being recognized. When people call out her name and say hi it snaps her out of her episodes; gets her back in reality.
It’s late, and I haven’t fully processed it yet. But there are a lot of really inspiring things in this story and now I’m putting that inspiration into action.
For the next 365 days I will blog everyday.
What does this have to do with the story I just told? I’m not sure, but maybe with a few hundred blog posts I can figure it out.