Hindsight is 2020!

Group photo of Hindsight storytellers

Rabbit Box kicked off the new year and new decade with a fitting theme: Hindsight is 2020. Emcee Chris Shupe of WUGA, with his resonant radio voice and outgoing personality, wore an outfit fit for a king, an homage to his former 30-year career as an Elvis Presley tribute artist.

The first storyteller of the night, Michelle, described a stint in Portland, a place that had appeared to be the promised land when she and her husband shopped around for a new place to live. But those long months of rain and a baby wracked with croup were tough. She got through the darkest part, but later, news of an associate’s suicide served as catalyt for her to make a phone call she had postponed.

Jeff shared a perfectly polished reflection on his 20th high school reunion. A transformative mountain hike gave him a long perspective on the turns his life had taken. He said that at some point you have to get busy living or busy dying. When he reached the mountain peak, he saw the many obstacles he had been able to surmount and decided to get busy doing something.

Christy Lin opened with the song lyrics “Que sera, sera . . .whatever will be, will be” and encouraged the audience to sing along. She credits behavioral and stress therapy for helping her heal from a traumatic childhood. She chooses to be a survivor shining light on the darkness instead of remaining a victim to the darkness.

Hannah Angel admitted in a story about one of her dating “hiccups” that a guy who had seemed like the long-awaited perfect match for her did exhibit some red flags early on. He sure was hyper-focused on her weight and waistline.

Crackerjack Katie McDourmout is a newlywed. Her husband chose Vietnam as their honeymoon spot. While some aspects of the trip were taxing, the sweet part is that even in hindsight, she would still choose to go there.

Entomologist Paul G tucked a little science into his story as he described a couple of experiments gone awry. In hindsight he realized he could have more effectively managed the studies’ cast of characters that included 10,000 lady beetles and 100,000 aphids.

After his first encounter with overt racism at eight years old as one of the few African-American students in a mostly Caucasian school, Stevie King began a personal journey of cultural identity, navigating the racial dichotomy of black and white. Now as an adult he prides himself in being able to fit in regardless of where he is or who he is with and encouraged the audience to have some diversity in their friendship groups.

Robin ended the night saying that hindsight can be both a blessing and a curse. When her child brought up an embarrassing ordeal from her past in front of everyone at a church fellowship meal, she turned it into a teachable moment. In hindsight, her son gave her the gift of redeeming her story in the same way she feels church redeems her soul.

Pride and Prejudice

By Nikeala Frederick

Rabbit Box’s October show “Pride and Prejudice,” a collaboration with Athens Pride, gave voice to the Classic City’s LGBTQA+ community. Return emcee Tara Stuart fostered an environment of respect and support by making a point to ask each individual’s preferred pronouns and letting it be known that coming out is not simply a one-time event but a daily process

Kicking the evening off with good humor, the first storyteller of the evening, the writer and journalist David Ferguson, said that his preferred pronouns are he, him, or cake. The audience responded by chanting “cake!” (Who doesn’t love a good piece of cake?) As a child in Columbus, Georgia, he preferred the company of his opera singer mother’s friends and her jewelry box more so than that of boys his age. After coming out as a teenager, David made the decision to walk “gay first” into a room, asserting that when he came out of the closet, he “took the door off.” After visiting Athens for a college tour, he knew it was the place for him. He has since gotten married to a wonderful man, become the lead singer of the band Kompromat, and over the years is grateful to have found a diverse, safe community here.  


The LGBTQ acronym has now expanded to a more inclusive acronym, LGBTQIA+. Elise Stangle’s coming of age story gave insight into an A+ perspective. After years of confusion and feeling abnormal, Elise has finally found her place identifying as asexual.  


Local activist Cameron Harrelson has a story full of beginnings. He grew up in a rural, religious community where everyone was “the same.” Being a gifted musician, singer, and public speaker, Cameron was thrust into the spotlight at a young age, particularly within his church. By high school he was a full-blown worship leader, often speaking against what deep down he felt described himself. It wasn’t until he moved to Athens for college that he decided to stop living a lie. Even though his grandmother said that she would never attend his wedding, he wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up in the front row when the day comes.


Cracker Jack storyteller Ida Barrett reminded the audience that no one owes you a coming out story, and you don’t owe others one, either. Each person’s story is his or her own to share. 

For this Rabbit Box show, a second Cracker Jack storyteller, Moriah Payne, was welcomed to the stage. Growing up in a strict, religious household where the word “gay” was not used and later attending a faith-based college, she tried to live up to certain expectations. But from a young age she knew that she liked girls. She tried dating guys over the years, but it never worked out. She just came out last month at Athens Pride and is now living happily in her truth.


Muralist, dance instructor, and make-up artist Jean/Jen Arias, who has lived in Spain, New Jersey, and Athens is now dealing with a second coming out. After starting adulthood living as a gay man, Jen is now ready to start a new journey as a trans woman. 

For the first 40 years of Morgan Henry’s life, she went by the male name she was assigned at birth. Growing up as a boy, she was “gently corrected” by adults to not act too feminine even though that’s what felt natural. She spent years trying to figure out where she fit in. 2016 proved to be a pivotal year when she found out that gender identity, biological sex and sexual attraction are all separate parts of each person’s overall identity. She now spends her days in the artistic and game-design realms living happily as a gender queer trans lesbian.


Lucy Ralston described hate as jumping through hoops for little people who make you feel small. She knows all about having to pretend to be someone you’re not when it’s too dangerous to be your true self. She has dubbed this year, her 30th, as an opportunity to live a more genuine and open life.

Changes

Rabbit Box is moving to a quarterly schedule — for now! We’ve had a hard time making ends meet due to recent low attendance — and a couple of dedicated staff and board members needed to step down. It’s challenging to put on a monthly show and find storytellers to fill out each slate. This will give us some time to regroup.

Stay tuned for more information about how to support Rabbit Box as we will be unveiling a new sponsorship program!

And we’re looking for people who love Rabbit Box and are interested in being more involved! We are seeking a new director and there are other opportunities to help out as well.

We’ll be back in October — on the 9th — with a show called “Pride and Prejudice, which will celebrate National Coming Out Day with stories that celebrate the power of community in collaboration with Athens PRIDE.

The Foundry has been a wonderful partner! Go on over there anyway to support them and discover some new music!

We so appreciate all our loyal attendees, friends, sponsors and amazing storytellers!