A sad person sits in an empty theater with a spotlight on them

Halting Your Dreams While Sick

*Authors note: I curse in this a LOT

I was so sure I was going to be on Broadway (I mean, I still could be) but blood cancer went and mucked that all up.

I was training

One day, my grandma brought home a copy of Phantom of The Opera from the library. I started watching it thinking it was crap and then by the end I was sobbing and obsessed. I think I was a preteen at that point. But I knew what I wanted to do! I wanted to be Christine in Phantom.

After I grew into adulthood, I started training. Classical voice lessons, acting classes, and even a little bit of tap and ballet.

Things were going well! My voice was the strongest it had ever been, my technique continued to improve, I was learning ballet, I was auditioning, and then cancer hit for a third time.

Silence filled the theatre

As you probably know, while you’re on chemo you feel like shit. I couldn’t sing let alone act or audition. I could barely hold out notes. I was so weak.

And pissed. This thing was all I had ever wanted. To be a musical theatre actress and now I had to completely stop my life to try to not die.

It was really hard, I couldn’t even watch other productions because it made me so depressed.

How did I get through it?

I honestly had to ignore the stuff I loved for a long time. I couldn’t handle seeing what I wanted so badly being held out within arms reach, but unable to do anything about it.

I tried to tell myself that it was only temporary. I would sing again even if I had to start training from the very beginning (which pissed me off more), but if I did it once I can do it again.

I also tried to vent to my friends and allow their words of support to somewhat land. I think I was afraid I would never get back to putting in the work.

Back to treading the boards

I was already so mentally exhausted but with time, I am. I’ve even been in a LifeTime movie post-treatment.

It’s possible!

Taking control of small things

I find even doing small things that help you feel in control can make a big difference. Eventually when I felt okay to do so, I started looking up classes and reading material and making plans to work on them in the future when I could. It helped having something concrete in front of me to try to follow.

If this is you please don’t give up

I’m glad I took the time I needed before delving into this world again. I’m still not grinding as hard as I used to. But I do send in headshots and my resume now and then.

I’m actually auditioning for my first musical - 2 years out of treatment. I’m glad I waited until now. I feel more ready.

Whatever your love is try to find ways to be a part of it, even if they are smaller than you originally planned. It’s awful to have them ripped from you but even more horrible to force them out of your life indefinitely.

Warm wishes, Katelynn

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