Yesterday, I spent the majority of the afternoon watching “My Generation”, a fake docuseries catching up with a group of former friends, a decade post-graduation. Despite being a scripted drama, the message is surprisingly accurate: No matter how set your ten-year plan is, you will never accurately predict the next decade and where its course will lead you. I know I never saw the life I’m currenty living or even have been able to guess my current life at twenty in my wildest fantasy or nightmare. This week’s blogs are devoted to (my) life’s surprises.
When I was almost nineteen and waiting for college to begin, a Hummer totaled my family’s rental Expedition at a stop light while on vacation and my joints (especially, my jaw) were “turned into hamburger” according to physicians. After only one year, I had to drop out of my performing arts college. The recovery-process for my TMJ was so drastic, it took until I was twenty-one to even sing again. I wore a permanent orthotic in my mouth 24/7…and 2 ½ years of braces with bands after that…not to mention a lifetime of physical therapy, night guards for my mouth, and retainers. One cannot be a musical theater major at Boston Conservatory if she cannot sing. I was also still unable to dance after undergoing my first knee surgery and dealing with the implications associated with that and its difficulty healing, so musical theatre (my soul) was obviously put on the back burner after only one year of training.
The only dream which has never altered since I first watched “The Sound of Music”–unflinching from the age of two, was to perform as a singer/actor. After my jaw and knee joint “issues” underwent the beginning stages of treatment, I officially withdrew from the top program in the country and moved to New York City (or Williamsburg, Brooklyn…before it was cool) in 2004. I was the only tall, white chick in the neighborhood, thus my moniker: “Hey Tall Girl, Can You Reach That?!”…given to me by the abuelas at Key Foods who couldn’t reach the higher shelves. Only ten years later, I would be asking for help with the lower shelves from mis abuelas.
I had planned on returning to Boston Conservatory after the medical issues had been fixed…but my braces weren’t removed until late September 2006 and I had found my niche in NYC. Why go back to Boston Conservatory when I had Stella Adler Studio in my corner and a vocal coach only blocks away? Anyway, my immune system was starting to produce really funky test results and my lively energy was starting to break down.
As my friends moved away to a city I left for LA, a city I had no desire to return to, they had lovely, well-intentioned, pieces of wisdom about acupuncture and love….which were somewhat entertaining emails about the horrors of chemo. So I chose to take that with a grain of salt. People always have so many opinions about what not to do…but they never offer to help you through it. No one has any right to comment on my decisions if they don’t plan on sticking around for the puking.
***Everyone assumes I either do or do not want kids. 10-years-ago, I would have said, “hell nah!” with no hesitation. Now, I am banking on a life spent with the man I love most and his children…and I truly believe that may be enough…but more in a later blog this week.