Starting over at 24.

I’ve been wanting to write a post about this since my diagnosis, but I haven’t had the breadth of words to discuss it. But her we go!

Before I grew sick I was a singer and a dancer. It was my passion beyond all. As I got older, it got harder. But not in the same way it did for others. For others it got more competitive, for me I physically couldn’t do it.

About a year and half before I was diagnosed I was always sick, my breathing was dreadful and I decided that it was the stress from my life in theatre that was causing my ailing health. So I made the change and decided to leave the stage for good. For a very long time I remember saying “wow I’m so thankful I chose to leave my passion before I got sick or else this would be tragic.” But that just wasn’t the truth. I knew I was sick for a while, I was going to doctors but we had no answers and I left because I physically wasn’t capable.

Leaving my first love of theatre was one of the hardest things I have ever done. From the time I was a small child it was all I wanted to do. Sure I still sing now and then, but with one lung it’s completely different.

At the end of the day, my life changed because of Lung Cancer in a million ways. I get frustrated by many things, but this is probably top of my list. I put in years of hard work and had to throw it away, and it feels like I threw part of myself away with it. I meet people now who never knew the first 24 years of my life, and sometimes that fact makes me very sad.

But  I can’t stay sad for long. Closing that chapter opened up the rest of my book. While I dearly miss being on stage, I am so proud of all the work I’ve done to get to where I am in my career. I go to sleep at night and dream about the millions of things I can do and be, and it is a magical and sometimes wonderfully overwhelming feeling.

Being told you’re sick when your 24 could have put a huge damper on my life. Instead it really opened up a million doors for me to look through.

I miss performing because I miss going on stage and using every amount of energy inside of me to tell a story. Well the truth is that I get to perform my story every time I speak publicly, and it is just as fulfilling.

At the end of the day, I’m only 27, about to be 28. I have at least 70 more years ahead of me, and each day I can play someone new. But I’d rather enjoy each day as it comes, and not worry about the future, and especially not to wallow in the past. I’m proud of who I am in all forms, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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