Saturday, 20 February 2016

'SETTLING FOR' - THAT'S WHAT CAREGIVERS DO

settling for, to be satisfied with:
to settle for less.



I had a dream and it was to become an actor.  I studied performance at university and went on to work in professional theatre as an actor, director and teacher.  My fascination lay in giving voice to human stories – in locating metaphors that could transform deeply personal experiences into universal truths.  When I was pregnant with Nicholas, I was working with the Caravan Stage Company, a horse-drawn gaggle of travelling theatre-makers who performed plays about injustice under a big top tent.  It was the late 80’s and we were doing a play about Nicaragua, using baseball as a way to explore the stories of political struggle in Central America. I was an idealist who believed art could make the world a kinder, less confusing place.  I still believe that.

Then Nicholas was born and I became his mother, his nurse, his advocate, his champion, his therapist, his teacher, his translator, his researcher, his driver, his playmate, his comforter and his task master.

For years, I couldn’t take my eyes off our children and slowly, my dream of being an actor turned into a distant memory; something from my ‘old life’, almost as though that dream belonged to another person. I was so tired, I couldn't carry on a conversation.  Every train of thought broke into a million pieces. 

But my passion for stories and metaphors didn’t die. It was like a small fire inside me - one I didn’t tend often, but that would spark sometimes when I imagined my day as a story I could write, changing endings as I pleased.

My dreams of being an actor, of having a job with a business card, of inventing another version of myself outside my home became something private – like precious gems locked away in a bank vault. 
I settled for a life without the theatre, but I found my voice in writing.  I mine my own mundane, everyday life for meaning and find unpolished gems there. I turn them over and over till they sparkle.  In my case, settling for did mean giving up on a dream, but it also meant discovering a new one.


Post a Comment