By Clare Almand
22 Mar

My Name Is Clare Almand and I Have CHD (Part 2 of 2)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Note: To read Part 1 of Clare’s post, click here.

When I last left you, I was talking about being more open about my heart condition and sharing it on a larger scale—“fulfilling my purpose,” if you will. So here’s what I’m doing: I’ve collaborated with a dozen amazing women—writers, actors, and directors—and the first weekend in May we’re putting on a women’s perspective show in Los Angeles. We’re all writing and performing pieces about our lives: where we come from, the issues that are important to us, and the events that have shaped us. As you may have guessed, I’m talking about my heart and I’m getting very personal—because I’m tired of wondering if I’m the only one who’s experienced this or felt this way. If no one else is talking about it, then maybe I need to start the conversation.

I’m tired of waiting for things to happen. I’m tired of waiting for someone else to write a TV show about a girl with congenital heart disease, so I’m writing one. I don’t know if it will ever get made, but it’s what I know and it’s a narrative a lot of us share and have yet to see properly explored in TV and film. And I’m not just telling my story: I want to tell the stories of the people I owe my life to—the doctors and nurses who kept me alive and my parents who went through this hell with me and remember more of it than I do. I want to pay tribute to what I believe are the two most difficult jobs in the world—the people who save us and the people who raise us.

The older I get, the more that writing has clearly become the thing that I’m supposed to pursue. Not only do I love it, but it’s what I’m best at and I find that I just want to get better at all different kinds of writing—screenwriting, sketch writing, and writing personal essays like the kind you read on this blog. I’m also in the process of writing more of these essays for other publications—maybe even some major ones (wink wink).

This whole trying to be normal and not be the sick girl hasn’t really been working for me personally or career-wise. I haven’t had much momentum the last few years and maybe it’s because I haven’t been totally true to myself.

I also have this bad habit of after I’ve known someone for at least a year, even if they’re little more than an acquaintance, I assume they know about my heart condition. Sometimes I’ll mention my defibrillator over brunch and look up at confused face, because I’ve actually never mentioned my CHD before to this person and they had no idea I had six heart surgeries as a kid. I think it’s time that I stop doing that.

I’m finally learning to trust my journey and that the people who are supposed to be in my life will be there and the opportunities that I’m supposed to have will come my way as long as I keep working and moving forward.

Maybe I won’t change the world or have a breakthrough series about congenital heart disease on TV. But maybe I can spread some CHD awareness or encourage a few people to embrace what makes them different as well. That would certainly be fulfilling.

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