Everyone’s got dreams. Whether you want to be a rockstar or to be a mom, we’ve all got ’em. Once one’s diagnosed with epilepsy, those dreams either change or become much more difficult to achieve. My dreams changed. I wanted to perform, to be a superstar on a stage somewhere and to have some little girl say “wow, I wanna be just like her!” But you know, I’m glad my dreams changed. Now, I want people to read what I’ve written. Maybe someday someone will read my work and have part of their worldview shift. I dream of change, now- in myself and in others. I dream of travel, of love, of life. I want to experience things and, more importantly, give others something to think about while they do the same.
There was a grieving process that came from the loss of my lifelong dream to become Broadway’s next hot thing. And, you know, unless they were specifically searching for an okay-looking alto with bright ginger hair, I’d be looked over. It wouldn’t have worked out, anyway. My dream wasn’t entirely realistic but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt to have to let it go. Because my trigger is sleep deprivation, having nights of rehearsals and parties and all those glamorous things that seem to be a big part of a performer’s life wasn’t an option for me. So…I gave up.
When I was fourteen and entering high school, I wrote to myself in my journal that I’d hate me if I ever deviated from “the plan.” Well, I had to do that, and I realize now that that decision was one of the best ones I could’ve made. I acknowledged my talent for writing, I began to take myself less seriously, and though I was dealing with a lot of emotional turbulence, choosing to attend Boston University was a lot easier than I expected.
I even applied early decision and got in. I met the best people. I had so much fun.
What I want you to know is that your diagnosis is not going to be the end of you. Regardless of what your goals are- or were- you will be fine. You might even discover something new about yourself along the way.