Randall Forte

Mertztown, PA

Engagement in the arts affects people in deeply quiet ways, and it can be particularly magical for those of us with disabilities. I understand the isolation that a disability can instill because for the past eleven years, I have coped with Parkinson’s disease. The anxiety of controlling my tremors in a public arena often makes me feel uncomfortable. My biggest fear is not knowing what the future holds.

I recently completed a nine-month acting class as a creative outlet — I needed to shake up my life. A former professional actor, I had not been on stage in almost 20 years. The time away from the craft, in addition to the challenge of maintaining my concentration while on stage, was, at times, frustrating.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the camaraderie of the class and felt empowered by the process and the performance. The journey allowed me to confront my Parkinson’s in both a private and public way that made me feel less isolated and whole again. Today, I feel less apprehensive about tomorrow.