Odyssey Storytelling

img_8566Odyssey Storytelling brings together people of all aspects of life to connect through sharing stories. This community showcases monthly events, where several storytellers share their experiences to an audience through story. Each show has a theme, and is held in downtown Tucson at The Sea Of Glass Center for the Arts. I got to participate in the January show as one of the storytellers!

We got to write our own bios, which were all posted online and included in the programs: “Gina Finio is 27 years old and originally from the Philadelphia, PA area. She graduated from a PA university that you’ve probably never heard of and has worked in Human Resources ever since. img_8569She turned her love for cactus into a cross-country move this summer, relocating from Allentown, PA to Tucson. Her dog Ducky is the most important thing in her life and is also her longest lasting relationship. Her hobbies include binge watching or auditioning for reality television, finishing jigsaw puzzles with her girlfriend and then putting it back in the box like a savage, and spending way too much money on crop tops that she will never stop wearing no matter how old she gets. Follow her weird life on social media @ginafinio or read her blog if you feel like it at www.ginafinio.com.” If you’re interested in reading the bios of my fellow storytellers, the picture to the left should show everyone from the show.

The theme of the night was Hindsight: “Stories from the shoulda – coulda – woulda club. They say hindsight is 20/20. If you knew then what you know now . . . how would your life be different? Would you make the same choices or would you take a different path? Are our lives predetermined by fate or do we exercise free will? Or, is it some odd combination of the two?”

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The story that I told was basically my coming out story, which honestly is one that I’m not a big fan of. I didn’t have a bad experience or anything, but if I could go back and do things differently, I certainly would. It’s not about the act of actually coming out, but more the way that I did it. Hindsight has allowed me to recognize this now, which is basically what my story was about. It was also something that I was holding onto in a way that I didn’t like, and by being able to joke about it, I was able to find some closure.

The energy that I felt coming off of the stage was like nothing I’ve ever experienced! It was a lot of highs, and I was truly really proud of myself. People kept coming up to me after the show, saying that they could relate in someway – which was incredible! Whether it was through myself or a family member type of figure – it was crazy to see people feel so connected to my experience. The crowd was amazing, extremely open, diverse, and accepting.

I hope to be able to do another story sometime soon, but I want to make sure it’s something I hold just as close to my heart is this one. I don’t want to tell a story just for the sake of telling it; I want it to be really meaningful. But I DEFINITELY would like to do it again.odyssey

You can listen to all the stories from the Hindsight show via The Odyssey Storytelling Podcast. The recording was released on Friday, January 31st: January 2020: Hindsight. My story begins around minute 47:47. You can also find more information for Odyssey Storytelling and their upcoming events by visiting OdysseyStorytelling.com.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Grown-ish S2E5

grownish3If you are not watching the show Grown-ish, start now! Actually, start with Black-ish for some context, then quickly binge your way through Grown-ish afterwards. Black-ish, starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, was created by Kenya Barris and airs on ABC. It’s about a black father who is creating a sense of ethnic identify for his children who are sometimes receptive and other times create their own way of navigation. The show is superbly relevant and covers topical issues in a really incredible way. Grown-ish, starring Yara Shahidi, is the extremely relatable spin-off show, in which we follow the oldest daughter, Zoey, through her college endeavors. The show is a very accurate depiction of some of the issues with college, including experimenting with substances, sexuality, and career goals.

Season 2, Episode 5 of Grown-ish is called “Girls Like You”, and aired on 1/22/19. The episode focuses on Zoey’s friend Nomi, who is a bisexual female coming into her own. I relate to Nomi’s cgrownish2haracter, played by Emily Arlook, not just because she is bisexual, but also because she is a free spirit and is totally imperfect. I also really appreciate the way that the show has depicted her character as truly bisexual, showing her with a variety of people. It’s been really empowering for me to see her with a male interest in one episode, (where they actually explore the unfair stereotypes associated with male bisexuality) and also explore relationships with women later in the season. She’s not seen as “experimenting” or “going through a phase” – *INSERT MY GIANT EYE ROLL HERE* – she’s literally just living. And I’m here for it.

The episode starts out by going through annoying (yet hilarious) roommate habits, including using the bathroom while others are present or passive aggressive Venmo requests. Then we go through something most college roommates experience – hook ups. Except, Nomi’s roommates think that she is having too many, and they are concerned about the way in which she is seducing these women.

Please let me just say – this episode was amazing to watch. I simultaneously wanted to be Nomi but also wanted to go home and spend the night with her. Of course, there was a EMILY ARLOOKlot that was exaggerated here as a result of the “player” attitude that the show has given her and the idea that everyone experiments in college. But it also highlighted some really important ideas, stereotypes, and conversations. One of Nomi’s friends gives her a hard time because the way Nomi is acting by hooking up with lots of girls without meaning reminds her friend of typical “dude” behavior. She can relate to the girls on the other end of the hook ups, and as a result, feels some type of way about it.

Zoey follows Nomi out to a bar and sees her interacting with a female interest, and realizes Nomi’s super power. Nomi is able to be charismatic in a way that’s relatable but also attractive, which is totally different than flirting with a guy. In the episode, Nomi is using this idea to seduce straight women into their first lesbian experience, knowing that she isn’t going to call in the morning. Zoey helps her realize that part of the reason that Nomi might be acting this way is because she’s comfortable keeping women at a distance, since she has yet to come out to her very conservative family.

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THEN. ENTER SHANE. OH MY GOD. (If you see the picture to the right and you still don’t know what I’m talking about – please hand me your gay card, go binge The L Word on Netflix, and you can have it back when you understand why I am freaking out.) Except, she’s not Shane. She’s Professor Hewson, here to teach Nomi all about being gay!!! HAPPY DAY!!!! (I’m sorry, I’ll calm down – this whole thing just made me so incredibly happy.)

I’d like to just quickly debunk an important myth here – not all straight girls experiment in college. Or in life. If you try to hit on a straight girl, most of the time it’s not going to go your way. Trust me; I’ve been there.  I’m not telling you that it’s impossible, and I’m not telling you not to make an attempt. But I am telling you not to go in with the expectations of Nomi’s results.

grownish1That being said, I absolutely loved this episode and this show overall. I hope that they can use Nomi’s character to explore what it’s like to come out as a bisexual. I’m hoping that they continue to show Nomi’s progression and experiences as she navigates her way. Also, I certainly hope that Professor Hewson is not going anywhere anytime soon!

“Watch out world, I’m grown now.”

Thanks for reading.