Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Anjelica Ruiz

Searching for meaning and spiritual guidance, Anjelica Ruiz found a home in Judaism, which meant going against her mother’s wishes and abandoning the faith of her childhood. Undergoing an ancient Jewish ritual, however, she finds new strength. On November 3, Anjelica steps onto the Oral Fixation stage in “Jump Off A Cliff,” and takes us along on her spiritual quest.

A native Dallasite, Anjelica N. Ruiz jumps at any opportunity to leave the state and travel. She can often be found at Temple Emanu-El, where she works full-time and teaches on Sundays. In her free time, she is usually reading, daydreaming, or writing for her blog, The Wondering Jew.

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Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Dawynn Edwards

After a childhood of body shaming that included awkward P.E. and a girdle, Dawynn Edwards embraced herself and stayed active. Having already conquered tap dancing and hula hooping, she decided to raise the stakes. On November 3, she’ll take the Oral Fixation stage in “Jump Off A Cliff” and share some momentous moments from Rock Climbing 101.

Dawynn Edwards sporadically writes poetry and short stories when not maintaining the facade of a gainfully employed adult. She hopes to share her musings with a larger audience while traveling the world. Dawynn lives with her partner in Bedford, Texas, where they enjoy planning adventures and exploring local entertainment.

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Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Amy Pengra Button

Dashing through an airport, Amy Pengra Button received the worst news imaginable: the untimely death of her brother, Moss. Missing his presence, she makes a bold choice in dealing with her grief. On Friday, November 3, in “Jump Off A Cliff,” Amy takes the Oral Fixation audience on that journey with her.

Amy Pengra Button’s stories have appeared in Marie Claire and the Los Angeles Times among others. After nine years with Warner Bros. in LA, she returned to Texas to be closer to family and queso. She writes for Freeman, an event experience company, and holds degrees from USC and TCU.

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Meet the Cast of “Jump Off A Cliff”

Don’t miss these upcoming stories told live @ Hamon Hall on Friday, November 3.

Oral Fixation (An Obsession with True Life Tales) is kicking off Season 6 with “Jump Off A Cliff”! Headlining this power-packed show is former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who sued Fox CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Carlson’s personal story will draw from her new book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back, which highlights how she completely transformed her life by jumping off a cliff in her career—a transformation so impactful it inspired Oral Fixation to assemble this special show, featuring an all-female cast:

  • Mired in grief over the untimely death of her brother, Amy Pengra Button finds hope from an unlikely activity.
  • Attempting to find a new hobby, Dawynn Edwards awkwardly and hilariously braves a climbing gym.
  • Searching for connection, Anjelica Ruiz goes against the wishes of her mother and leaves Christianity.
  • Emma Vrabel—14, living with albinism, and attending a new school—discovers the power of self-advocacy.
  • After nearly two decades of stuffing her emotions, Latvian-born Tereze Gruntmane finds her voice.
  • For Rachel McEnany, when previous efforts to conquer her fear and anxiety fell short, she tried something completely different—falling to earth instead.

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Share Your Story: “Jump Off a Cliff”

dʒʌmp / ɒf / eɪ / klɪf 

What does it mean?

– jumping off a cliff as a form of sport (source: Wikipedia).

– taking a risk or leap of faith (source: The Dream Diary).

– wishing to give up or quit, feeling hopeless (source: Urban Dictionary).

– part of “go jump off a cliff,” as in “get out of here, go away” (source: Dictionarist).

Example Sentences:

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down (Source: Ray Bradbury).

If your friends jump off a cliff, are you going to jump too? (source: The Phrase Finder).

Bro, I want to die, I want to jump off a cliff! (source: Urban Dictionary)

Love meant jumping off a cliff and trusting that a certain person would be there to catch you at the bottom (Source: Jodi Picoult).

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“Out From Under The Rug” Featuring Emily Cortez

Theme: “Out From Under The Rug”
Storyteller: Emily Cortez

In her early twenties, Emily Cortez felt her life was really starting to take off when she fell in love with an older man, missed some birth control pills, and suddenly found herself gaining weight and fighting back nausea. With multiple tests confirming her pregnancy, Emily knew she was not ready to be a mother. Going against her Catholic faith, she chose to abort her pregnancy. “Walking into the clinic, I was greeted outside by a middle-aged man holding a sign: ‘You’re going to hell!’” Later, a full range of emotions overtook her, including fear of being judged and a wavering between guilt and non-guilt. Ultimately, however, the experience transformed her: “My unplanned pregnancy helped shape the timid woman I was into the strong, vocal woman I am today. To that protestor who held that sign, I want you to know: I am like you—a person—a human with stories, moments and experiences that have shaped me but do not define me.”

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Oral History: Out From Under The Rug [Austin]

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On Monday, October 10, 2016 Oral Fixation (An Obsession with True Life Tales) produced its first-ever show outside of Dallas at the regionally recognized Zach Scott Theatre in central Austin. 150 Austinites packed the jaw-droppingly beautiful space with anxious energy. “What is Oral Fixation? And what will a show about abortion be like? Not depressing I hope,” they may have been thinking.  But the group of men and women who shared their own, true personal stories related to abortion took them on an emotionally positive and healing journey through women’s reproductive lives. After the performance, the lobby was buzzing with strangers greeting each other. With tears in their eyes, they shared deep gratitude to the storytellers for their courage in speaking out. Some people divulged their own abortion stories in show of support. The show in Austin was undoubtedly impactful and made even more special by the presence of two documentary film crews. Stay tuned for more #SweepOutTheShame to come!

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Introducing Shiloh Venable, “Out From Under The Rug” storyteller

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Shiloh’s life has changed immensely since she was a college student. She came out of the closet to her family and friends, and now she is sharing her abortion story live, when the Austin “Out From Under The Rug” cast takes the Zach Theatre stage.

Shiloh Venable is a native Texan, a feminist, an Aggie, and an amateur healthy eater. She loves her finacée and her pups, and can’t get enough of improv comedy or road trips. If you can’t find her in her kitchen, look for your nearest soapbox, and there she’ll be.

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Introducing Mayela Gutknecht, “Out From Under The Rug” storyteller

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After having two abortions, each at a different stage of her life, Mayela reflects on her life and her choices. Hear her brave story in “Out From Under The Rug.”

Mayela Gutknect has a Master’s degree in Advanced Public Health Nursing from the University of California, San Francisco and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Beloit College, Wisconsin. As a Public Health Nurse in San Francisco, she home visits with pregnant women and mothers with newborns to promote safety, bonding, and breastfeeding.

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Introducing Elise Bilodeau, “Out From Under The Rug” storyteller

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When she was 16, Elise Bilodeau had no idea what her future would look like. Later this month, she’ll take the Oral Fixation stage in “Out From Under The Rug” to share her story of how an experience she had as a teenager changed her life.

Elise Bilodeau is a transient liberal, who mistakenly made Dallas home. She works at an abortion clinic and volunteers with TEA Fund and DARCC. Her favorite acquisitions while living in the South include an affliction for cheese fries, a dog named Boo, tattoos, and an appreciation for “family” near and far.

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