“My passions are who I am. They are written into my DNA. They are my sustenance and my lifeline, and no amount of growling from RA is going to stop me from pursuing them. I will always find a way to shape my creative life around chronic illness, whether it’s on the stage or on the page.”
I have been a performer for many years. I danced, I acted, and I dabbled a bit with the written word. I established a comfortable world where I naturally fell into the same rhythm every day. I never thought about doing anything different. I never thought I’d have to until RA stole the spotlight – and while a new challenge with chronic illness changed the shape of my life, it didn’t change my dreams and desires. It did, however, push me to find a new way to continue to pursue them.
I stepped away from the dance studio and the stage for a time, but I was still able to follow offshoots of the artistic life I had built. I changed my focus, turning my time on the stage into words on the page, but I never doubted that I would find my way back. It took time, work and patience, but as long as I knew the direction I wanted to travel, I was more than willing to take that time.
My distractions, my hobbies, my family, my friends, my work, my loves, my desires and even my aversions can pull me out of the mire of chronic illness. I won’t let RA decide the life I should lead. I pulled my dreams into the boundaries that chronic illness created, and I watched those dreams stretch the lines a little more every day. It’s those dreams, those passions, and all the little things that make us who we are that will save us.
My latest post on Creaky Joints is all about how my passions sustain me, allowing me to escape from RA for a little while…
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.