If I Could Have Done Things Differently…

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Writer's Workshop

2.) You HAVE to go back in time and choose a different career path for yourself. What do you choose?

This is a question I have asked myself many times. In my mind I do go back in time, chose something different and then flash forward as to where I would be right now.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”, they would ask me, and I would say “I want to be a singer!” and later, “I want to be an actress!”

When I was nine and living in the suburbs, the broadway musical Annie was holding open auditions. That meant you did not need an agent to audition, you could just be any little girl and they would listen to you sing.

At nine I was taking singing lessons and singing wherever I could; at farmers’ markets with pianos, at talent shows and at my cousin’s wedding. I would get standing ovations and when I went to the bathroom I was greeted with compliments about how good a singer I was.

I begged my parents to let me audition for Annie, I pleaded with them. I felt sure that while I was not good enough to be Annie, I could probably be one of the orphans. My mother said that she didn’t want me live the Hollywood life, where children grew up too early. But this is Broadway, I said.

But she had the last word on that decision.

In high school I went to a Performing Arts School. Kind of like “Fame”, although we didn’t break into song in the locker room. I wanted to go to college and major in theatre, somewhere like NYU, that was my dream school.

But my SAT scores were so low, none of the schools I had wanted would look at me. I went to Seton Hall University where I did sixteen plays in the four years I was there and sung in the choirs.

I majored in Communications and concentrated on television and radio. At my radio station I was giving a job anchoring the news right away. Some of my classmates had me act in their television projects.

“You should go into television!”, many people told me. But I didn’t think I was beautiful enough to be on t.v. Sure, I was pretty but the people on television were all beautiful.

I did well in radio; I was an on-air personality for eight years until I got totally disillusioned with the business and quit in 2000. Up until 2012 I did voice-overs. It was a very nice side job, until I became too sick to do it any more.

I guess you could say I made a lot of wrong decisions, and just maybe, I may have sung or acted professionally, or maybe I would have wound up on network news.

But no matter what, I still would have gotten Lupus, become Bipolar and Diabetic and I would have had to quit whatever it was I was doing.

My agenda is different now anyway. I don’t need to be those things any more. I just want to write about what it’s like to be chronically ill and how it feels to have Lupus and be mentally ill.

I guess my new dream is to get the word out to as many people as possible. I guess I would like to live long enough that my name becomes…well, not a household name…but a name people will think of that furthered the causes of the chronically ill and disabled.

I’m only 44, so maybe my dream is closer than I think. I hope you will help by spreading the word too.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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