I’ve already mentioned in a few of my other blog posts that I had the privilege of playing Fantine in my school’s musical this past winter. It was undoubtedly the highlight of my senior year. But it is extremely difficult for me to look back o this dream come true and actually admit to myself just how ill I was at the time.
Said illness took over my life (that which wasn’t already preoccupied with Les Mis, that is) from December through March. Constant doctors’ visits. No conclusive answer. Two sinus inflections. Puking in the dressing room during tech. Parainfluenza virus. Fever despite antibiotics. Doctor visit an hour and a half to call. Praying I wouldn’t have a cough attack during “I Dreamed a Dream.”
It was scary. It was exhausting. There were days when I wanted to cry because I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to scream at people who were just being kind and asking if I was okay because they cared about me and they were worried. I’d dealt with two nasty bouts of social aggression, and my life had improved for it. But until December of this year, I had never had to deal with a health crisis. I didn’t know what it was like to feel as if your own body is waging war against you every day.
Normally, I would write an article with this title about how experiences such as the aforementioned social aggression can strengthen your resolve and help build you into a better, stronger person if you let it. This is exactly what I learned in battling myself this winter. These experiences can make you stronger. They teach you the power of positive thought and remind you of the importance of prayer. You’re the boss; you’re in control of your body- tell it to shape up! But take care of yourself. You are your own first line of defense.
I learned my limits. I learned how to push them. I learned how to exceed them. Determination and perseverance. What doesn’t kill you does make you stronger.
So as much as I hate to admit how vulnerable I was, I can be proud of what I accomplished in spite of it. Besides, the greatest art comes out of vulnerability.
Be vulnerable. But grow from that vulnerability.
(And drink hot tea.)