A community-based art project that seeks to connect communities through pulling up a chair and sharing stories of positivity about Strong Women of Toledo.
Listening to Tori’s story about her sister and their relationship paralleled my own sister and mine’s relationship eerily close. Not only is my sister two years younger than me, an introvert to my extrovert, and followed in my footsteps to the same college like Tori’s sister, my sister has also had more challenges in life to overcome than me. She was diagnosed with depression a few years ago, but it is something she has battled for many years without realizing. She hid it from close friends and family, and tried to deal with her issues alone. After finally getting help and receiving her diagnosis, a lot of things started to make sense. Rather than feel weak like she once thought she was, she realized how very strong it makes her.
The writing on the chair is what she got tattooed after finding out she had depression. It is in our grandma’s handwriting, a woman who has battled depression her entire life as well. The color purple is not only my grandma’s favorite color, but also represents royalty and strength, which my sister and grandma represent wholly to me. The pattern is symbolic of the intrinsic bond they have that is both deeply spiritual and genetic. In my sister’s own words, "I am a strong person and I will stay strong in my weakest moments. Holding it in for so long makes it worse. Depression does not define who I am. Depression is just an obstacle that I must face every day. “Stay strong."
- Ashley Lawson, Artist