My name is Troy Haywood and I live right outside of Charlotte, North Carolina in a little town called Indian Trail. I am a 29-year-old choreographer, dancer, and yoga teacher. Sometimes I like to call myself a director, but I use that term very loosely. I am also a reader, a traveler, a dog dad, a coffee drinker, a Survivor super-fan, an EDM lover, a gay man, an extroverted introvert, a recovering alcoholic, and a manic-depressive. All wrapped up in an all black wardrobe and carrying an enthusiastic demeanor and a wild wonder if this great, big world.
I’ve got the same story as many: I was young homosexual boy growing up in an extremely religious environment; church every Sunday and Wednesday, and private Christian school Monday through Friday. I mean, my grandfather was the pastor of the church my family were members to from the time I was a newborn to my early teenage years. It didn’t take long for me to feel a little different than everyone else. When the guys were picking teams for basketball, I was in the grass teaching the girls how to execute one-handed cartwheels. When everyone had a date to the winter formal, I was going with all of the ladies but I was really just going alone. While all of my friends attended pool parties and missions trips I spent my time dancing on competitive stages all around the country.
As soon as I graduated high school I moved my home base to Miami, Florida and traveled abroad working as a dancer for the next five years. This is when I began drinking more than usual, as many young, wild and free adults do. I noticed my drinking was a little different than the friends I surrounded myself with, though. I also began to realize my psychological reaction to my using was becoming very unhealthy. It wasn’t until 2009, right after I turned 21, I was diagnosed with depression and axiety. I used my drinking to disguise the fact that (once again) I was different than everyone else. And I lived as the victim of this for almost a decade.
Today I am so very lucky to say that I DIDN’T reach a decade before I decided to stop being a victim of my disease, get sober and became a hero of it. Today I am allowing myself to live with my anxiety, depression, and addiction instead of allowing it to kill me. Today I am learning more about who I am, what I am capable, and how to accomplish my life’s desires. All while I have the honor of sharing all of those things with kids and adults all over the country through my dance and yoga instruction.
As soon as I heard about This Is My Brave and the story behind the show I knew I wanted to be a part of it in some capacity. The more I learned about the light that it shines on the amazing individuals, artists, writers, and so many more amazing people living with mental illness I knew I wanted to tell MY story. I saw the bravery and vulnerability these cast members from around the country possed and I wanted to be one of them. So, after 5 years of staying back stage and behind the scenes as the show goes on in front of me, I am excited to be putting my dancing shoes back on and sharing story of survival through my dance at the This Is My Brave Charlotte Show![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]