I was driving to visit a friend and my phone rang. I glanced at the number but didn’t recognize it. Normally I would let it go to voicemail but for whatever reason I felt a need to answer it. I pulled over since I don’t have bluetooth. I have a phone set up that would rival those struggling at the time of the Rural Electrification Act in the 1920s.
Once safely off the road I picked up my phone. “Hello, this is Kate.” The voice on the other end was that of a casting intern, he worked for a company that I had once trained with for commercial auditions. I knew my name was in a couple data bases but with my parents and my own illnesses, I hadn’t been able to say yes to many jobs in the last few years so I honestly thought they’d stopped including me in casting calls. The young man told me they were interested in me for a shoot and inquired as to whether or not I was still interested in booking jobs.
Almost effortlessly I heard myself say, “I’m not doing that anymore, but thank you so much for your call. Have a great day.”
I placed the phone back down, reached to put on the blinker to get back on the road and placed my hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel.
I didn’t go anywhere.
And then the tears came, like the ugly cry in a Nicholas Sparks film adaptation. I was numb. Still, I was heaving and sobbing. My brain caught my heart off guard. I just told someone I wasn’t pursuing my dream anymore. Was that true? Why was it so easy for my to say and by extension why did it hurt so much it took my breath away?
Since I bounded down the stairs and slid across the living room floor of my childhood home, hairbrush mic in hand, belting out “It’s A Hard Knock Life” from Annie, I have been an actor.
My desire to know people through character is as strong as it’s ever been. It’s a part of my truth. Part of my truth is also navigating crisis with Jazz Hands.
I don’t know if what I’m doing with my speaking and writing gives me the same thrill as getting a call sheet, putting on a costume, doing a tech run. But I do know that all the training i’ve done, the skills I have honed, they do have a place in the work I do with patient and caregiver advocacy.
So I ask you, do you have a moment that blindsided you? What did you do? Did you make lemonade from said lemons or did you smash those suckers and add vodka? There’s no wrong answer here. You gotta do you and sometimes it doesn’t look the way you thought it would.
Kate D. Mahoney is a professional storyteller, actorvist and author who travels the country to share anecdotes from life as patient and caregiver- it’s crisis, but with jazz hands. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a speaking engagement.