An event raising money for IowaWatch and Flyover Fest chronicled the stories of people who have felt lost or alone in their lives.
By Michael Shea
On Thursday night, Old Brick hosted Fringe: True Stories From Outsiders. The event was sponsored by IowaWatch and Flyover Fest, and the proceeds were split between the two groups.
The night consisted of five people taking the stage and telling their stories of feeling like an outsider and how they overcame their struggles. The event was not only full of people and their stories, it also had a silent auction, cupcakes, and a small circus act during intermission.
Audience members listened to the speakers tell their life stories and then received advice of how to overcome any struggle, and to make any pain into something beautiful.
“I think it’s important to put yourself into situations where you can see life from a different perspective. I’m a talk-show producer with Iowa Public Radio, and I will be your host tonight. I relate to the theme of this event on a very personal level. You see, I’m a rape victim who struggles deeply at times with touch. I also lost a very close friend to suicide last January. I’m doing my best right now to turn all that pain into something beautiful.”
— Lindsey Moon
“Who am I, you may ask, what am I you may ask, the more important question is who will you become once my story is complete. One night late in 2014, I found myself fighting for my life at work. I was fading fast, how had my life come to this? I was scared to tell my grandfather that I wanted to quit engineering for real estate. I braced myself. ‘I’m thinking about quitting my job to focus on what I love and enjoy.’ I had built my success on the [financial foundation] my [grandfather] had laid years ago. I was tired and yearned for the life I had always dreamed of. Nine to 5 is more like 9 a.m. on Monday to 5 p.m. on Friday. Purpose was not defined by my job. My job was the foundation for what I was becoming.”
— Daniel Tardy
“Before we came into the world, our parents had an idea of who we would be. I was assigned a name and a gender. I recently did drag for the first time. I balanced sports and dance at a young age. The way we express ourselves is reflected onto us by others, I’m not content maintaining that. [Hall’s Drag name] is Onia Marks … get set, go. The anxiety that I feel about funking with the maxtrix is restricting. On stage I feel free. We are under some sort of margin, or fringe. I hope we can all feel a center and be OK with ourselves, my hope for myself is that I can feel liberated to choose which identity I will adopt. I’ll end by quoting Rupaul: ‘If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?’ ”
— Ryan Hall
“Of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up, a railroad engineer was at the top of the list. When I was 31, I was in southern Minnesota [conducting] railroad business. I saw a video of myself at work and was in shock because that ‘couldn’t be me.’ I have cerebral palsy … I was fired from my job for not being able to type fast enough. Rather than get in a slump, I got a few regrettable tattoos … Something happened last summer that changed my life. One of my students asked me if I would get together with her and her family sometime. I was so excited. The student’s two parents are around my age. Even though I don’t have what I want most, I’m reminded that ‘you don’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.’ ”
— Veronica Hamly