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One-woman show tackles topic of anxiety

By Anaia Jackson, student writer

Mia Love, creator of the web series So Anxious, shared her personal journey with Wingate students during a Sept. 29 show in the Batte Center’s McGee Theatre. 

By reenacting various moments from her childhood until now, Love created a vivid account of her experiences as a young black woman with anxiety. Among them was one portraying her life-changing diagnosis. The scene began with slow, soul music. Love then walked on stage with a brown paper bag covering her mouth. The music broke as she began to speak about the moment she was diagnosed with anxiety at age 13. 

The music picked up again as she revealed what would subdue her: The doctor advised her to practice breathing into a brown paper bag to soothe her panic attacks. Love described her need to control her bouts of anxiety during her formative years. She began to realize that her anxiety came from insecurity about her insulin resistance. As a little girl, she didn’t want to be teased for it.

Love’s goal in creating such an interpersonal encounter with her audience was to share a narrative the crowd could relate to. As she talked about her family, dynamic pictures of relatives were shown on a screen behind her. 

“I used photos of my family members to create a more personal connection with my audience. The pictures gave the audience someone to identify with,” Love said as she described her one-woman show. 

Love said it is important that mental health is talked about, especially in the Black community.

Studies show that Black Americans experiencing mental health issues are less likely than their White peers to access resources such as therapy or counseling.

In a post-show interview, Love offered this advice for Black youngsters dealing with anxiety: “Being open and having conversations and being understanding to those who don’t understand will go a long way. Keep pushing forward and learn healthy ways to cope.” 

She said her coping techniques include meditation and staying active.

Wingate students who are struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues can book an appointment with a counselor.

Mia Love Live! was presented as an Arts Lyceum. Love, who is from Charlotte, will be appearing in Boone later this month.

Learn more about Lyceums at Wingate.

Oct. 5, 2021