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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dreams, songs, and continuity.

I used to live in NYC. I had dreams of being an actress/singer and then ultimately having my own small cabaret show; sitting on stage, alone in an intimate little theater, the patrons and I having a dialogue as I sang out thoughts, and feelings, through lyrics that spoke volumes.

The pain started 6 months after I moved to the city. I worked for a social worker as his receptionist. I had time to take a few classes and go to some auditions. Despite horrendous stage fright I forced myself to get up and sing.

I was lucky enough to do one Broadway audition.

I was awful. I looked the part - petite and dark haired, something easy to do (be?). Unfortunately it had not occurred to me that the last thing you do when you are afraid to sing is choose a slow song. The slower the song the more time for the fear to bubble through and the notes to tremble and waiver.

My song was slow. One of my favorites PURE IMAGINATION from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Come with me and we'll be in a world of pure imagination
Take a look and you'll see into your imagination
We'll begin with a spin traveling in a world of my creation
Look and see we'll defy explanation
If you want to view paradise simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world? There's nothing to it

There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination
Living there you'll be free if you truly wish to be.*

What a wonderful song. It spoke to me. As I bleated out the words, my voice vibrating on each note - more a sheep than a person singing, they let me continue. 16 bars or so I warbled before they sang out "Thank you. Next!"

Once the pain started, the dream of stage work became nothing but a taunt. After my face was paralyzed during a surgery it became a nightmare.

My life was gone. It was not going to come back.

My family was never there for me. No sibling called, sent a card, or visited during any of my many hospitalizations or any of the 12 neurosurgeries. I was alone. Imagination was all that sustained me. The fantasy that soon this would all be over or it was even a dream, albeit a very, very long one. At some point I would awaken to my life and the future I intended.

I think this is common, not only for those with chronic pain but any chronic illness, or unfathomable loss.

I wish I had a magic wand. I could tell you this is how you get over it, this is how you go on, this is how you accept it. (Of course better yet - this is how you make it go away.)

I read a lot of posts at verious chronic pain sites that say 'get over it -that is how you get over it'.

I do not think that is the answer. It is easy to say 'accept it and then get on with your life, with your future'. For me, even after 30 years, I live with those lyrics. "There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there you'll be free if you truly wish to be.*

In my imagination I am on that small stage, the audience with me as I spin out tales of love and life.

I am a late bloomer. I hope at some point I can instead look to the words "If you want to view paradise simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it." I know anything is a stretch but the possibilities are still there. Maybe not the ones I always envisioned but new and different ones not only just as challenging but also equally fulfilling.

*[| From: |]


  1. you have described me as well as yourself. I have read many of ur blogs as I found u while reading of sucide and then on to medication then on to your sight. thanks for sharing.

  2. Many of us with chronic pain know the pain of having the thoughts about suocide. I am glad you continued past that to meds and here. I am glad you found the site and thank you ot only for reading but also commenting. Carol