‘Stories Act’ – a training about the stories that count the number of our heartbeats

In February 2024, three people from Bulgaria – Elia, Simona and Kai had the opportunity to go on an Erasmus+ adventure to Ommen, the Netherlands, realized by our partners Active Rainbow and Olde Vechte Foundation. The training brought together LGBTI+ people and community allies from 9 countries and focused on stories in their many forms, their power and how they can inspire positive change.

Elia (she/her)

When I was a child, I was fascinated by the power of stories. I loved hearing fairytales and I loved reading and creating them myself. Now that I’m a young person striving to make a change in the world we all live in, I re-discover every day the magic that storytelling holds – not only for pleasure, but for change. 

Stories Act was right on time for me to remind me of the true and purest beauty of creating stories for the things that really matter and fill us with excitement. It was not only about the ones written on paper, but the stories that we all have in ourselves, which are told by breathing, caring, loving, sharing. We wrote a story with not one, but many magical and unique worlds; a story with not one, but many, many strong and amazing heroes; a story which did not end with the end of our visit in Ommen but has just begun.  

We laughed, we cried, we talked and we shared the silence. We acknowledged and accepted each other. We were humans in the fullest meaning of this word. And that is a great feeling that, I believe, brings a better world.

Simona (she/her)

Stories Act turned out to be one of the greatest experiences in my life. It left me feeling content, truly inspired, and at peace with myself and the world around me. It is not so often that I experience a feeling of true belonging and fitting in a group of people, however, that certainly was the case in Ommen. The connections that I created with the wonderful people I met there, the shared stories of joy and vulnerabilities, the opportunities to speak up and have meaningful conversations contributed to me feeling safe, heard, understood, and respected for who I am. I realized how much I genuinely enjoy listening to other people’s experiences and having the chance to be a small part of their magnificent life stories. Moreover, I learned how much I like sharing my own story with people who are willing to listen without judgment. That came to me as a small surprise, as I have always been resistant and hesitant to share parts of me in new surroundings. Yet, the genuine facilitation and the trust we created with one another in the group made me feel welcomed and confident in my identity. The newer-to-me storytelling methods and tips inspired me to share my story the way it is and the way I prefer to do it, not the way “I am supposed to”. My heart is full of gratitude and my soul bursting with inspiration to share what I learned during the course. The best is yet to come!

Kai (he/him)

This adventure fascinated me with the unpretentiousness through which it managed to teach me so many life truths. ‘Stories Act’ allowed me to open up to a group of perfect strangers, gave me the gift of trust, of vulnerability that is not judged. This experience was our magical story by itself, there and then. We didn’t have to hide in the small corners of our consciousness to live it. I cried a lot. It was therapy and catharsis. I jumped on a trampoline with people who understood me, and together, through tears, we shared about the things that make us different in people’s eyes but unique in the ones of the power above. I learned to give more voice to my story because it is valuable and deserves to be heard. I saw my soul reflected in the pure eyes of those around me. I could finally be truly myself. True queer joy. 🌈