Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 27th July

It’s always exciting to begin something new. I am doing a production this block and had the first round of call-back auditions today. It’s such fun and so encouraging to see the talent and enthusiasm of the students .

It’s also quite daunting to begin something like this. We were talking about something that is happening at the end of August. Before then, this play will have been performed. Somehow, it seems to be a huge mountain to climb (and I think I’m vaguely insane), but it’s also such, such fun doing these things – and so rewarding.

There are always mountains that we face in every path we tread. Or hills. They may seem insurmountable, or they may be quite little and manageable. Then there are those that look like relatively small hills, but, just as one summits, you realise that that was merely a foothill and the true test is yet to come.

Conquering any ‘mountain’ is the same, I think. What you need to do is to go one step at a time – after all, that really is the only way to get anywhere. Then, you need to try to break it into manageable chunks. Sometimes that is not so easy, as the ‘chunk’ facing you may seem huge, or at the very least so much larger than any other you may have encountered so far.

The cancer journey is, of course, one of those ‘apparently insurmountable’ mountains we face. There are two main reasons for this, I think: one is that ‘cancer’ just comes with so much baggage, that we see it as huger than it necessarily is. The other, is that everything seems to be thrown at you at once. It’s almost as though, when you are diagnosed with cancer, someone should sit you down and take you through the different steps, different ‘milestones’ along the way – kind of talk you through the journey so that you have a better understanding of what is to come.

Even if you don’t quite understand the scale, looking at a map of a journey you are about to undertake does at least give you a picture of what you are likely to face along the way.

It is true that every single cancer journey is different and that things happen (or are discovered) along the way that can change the plan and affect the progress. At least if you have a plan / ‘map’ in the first place, you start from a place of some kind of information and can slot the ‘new’ developments in as you go along.

This production is the same. I can see the path and I know how to get there. Already, there have been a lot of changes. I know there will be more. There will also be ups and downs on this journey. But, boy, does the destination make it all worthwhile!

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