Chicago is a city of many voices, voices that echo across time and shape the very foundations of the city and its citizens. Everybody you will ever meet has a story, a chapter in their life that defined them and made them the person they are. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get the chance to hear them.
Two weeks ago, I went to the season kickoff event for Second Story at Haymarket Pub and Brewery with my roommate, and was astonished by the atmosphere I was welcomed with. People from all different walks of life were crowded in a single room, talking as if there were no differences that stood between any of them. Bright string lights hung above them, lighting up their faces as their words filled the room. Being someone who is normally incredibly anxious when surrounded by such a large crowd, I was surprised to find myself at ease.
When the stories started, however, the room was quiet with only laughs and the occasional bout of clapping whenever the storyteller said something that the audience particularly connected with. Despite storytellers sharing their own personal experiences, I found myself recognizing feelings that I had had throughout my life.
I connected with Isaac Gomez’s feelings of wanting to stand out in a world that wants to put him in a box. I felt Julie Ganey’s terror at not wanting to know how someone I love could possibly want Donald Trump for president. I’ve experienced the isolated feeling that Teresa Kuruvilla felt when first getting off her anti-depressants, and wondering if the hollowness in her stomach would always haunt her. I joined Sony Ador’s feelings in wondering if I would always be trying to figure out the direction my life was going in.
There are times in one’s friendships where you truly allow yourself to open up to a person and let yourself tell someone things that maybe you’ve never told anyone before, things that you perhaps try to not think about. I think that, sitting in that restaurant with words overtaking us all, everyone in that audience felt that way, like they were letting themselves soak in the emotions that others try so hard to push away. Stories are what binds people together as one. No matter our differences, we are all writing our own stories and trying, not without difficulty, to at least make it one worth telling. (Sam Bartholomew/City of Stories Student)