Always Acting


Always Acting

I sat in the audience in awe as my “stepson” transformed in to Charlie in the musical “Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.” He was selected to star in at by Arts in Connecticut, the Summer program he was enrolled in by his mom. For a long time, he expressed interest in being an actor. However, his ability to emote, to change his stance, and to conquer his shyness dazzled me.

As his blended family walked down to congratulate him, I wondered if he acts sometimes when he’s not in the stage. If pretending during uncomfortable interactions between us helped him hone his skills.

Normally, I don’t think of myself as an actor in any way. In fact, my fiancé often says I swing my “truths” with a sledgehammer. Yet, standing there with him I realized I have feigned an interest in or affection for each others for his sake. I have also smiled, laughed or distracted my loved ones in other ways from the pain, worry or annoyance that riddles my life each day because my chronic illness.

I tried to shake my thoughts as we walked around near Yale and ate lunch before we headed to the mall to do another escape room. We chose Zombie attack room. It was filled with medical equipment including vials, a blood pressure cuff, needles and an IV. Instead of solving clues, I put my cane down and I tested out the items as I reflected on my medical woes and efforts to hide them. When the time ran out and it was time to take the picture, I found the perfect prop, a mask.


It made me think of words by Paul Laurence Dunbar, “We Wear The Mask:”

“We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!”

#mask #escaperoom #acting #chronicillness #chronicpain #stepson #ArtsinCT #WillieWonka #igg4 #disability #blendedfamily #yale #backpain


The Need To Escape


I woke up after just six hours of sleep and thought I’m not going to be able to function today. My eyes burned and my head throbbed as I glanced at my phone. Just for one day I wish I could escape this body, I thought.

I swallowed a pill and used my legs, which had a tingling sensation from the knees down, to stumble to the bathroom. As water washed over me, I mumbled my morning prayers. I asked the aching in my joints and the pins and needles in my calf to end. But, it didn’t.

So, I got back to my bed and did Yoga stretching. Finally, I felt okay. Unfortunately that changed as my fiancé and I made the 1 1/2 hour long drive to CT to pick up his son.

We could both barely stand when we got there but the smile on that child’s face upon seeing us made it worth it. We hurried off to Chick-Fil-A for lunch in North Haven. A worker came up and asked about our visit, cracked some jokes, and made us feel as if we were in someone’s home. The banter relaxed me as I took more meds.

When we arrived at our house a few exits away, yard work had to be done. I clipped bushes with a hand held hedge trimmer. The whole time, the rotator cuffs in both arms felt like they would give out. I kept thinking, I wish I could escape this life; everything is so hard for me.

At around 6:45 we decided to head to the mall. We were about to try to escape from Alcatraz.

50 minutes were on the clock when the door to our prison cell was locked. My fiancé, his son and I figured out the first clue easily. Then, my ” stepson” found a box with the second clue. My fiancé solved it and we were on to the third with forty minutes to spare. But, we hit a wall. Nearly 17 minutes and a mini meltdown passed before we got into the box that gave us the code to find the final clue. We were free wth six and a half minutes left.

On the ride to dinner, I thought, I’ve often wanted to escape from paying my bills, my job, my body, and my chaotic life. Today, I learned from an escape room that there are no easy exits. I may always require help, a plan and a drive keep me from giving up. But, with the love of family anything is possible.

#NeedToEscape #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #Disability #AutoimmuneDisease #CT #NJ #ChickFilA #EscapeRoom