Peter Pan

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” – J.M. Barrie from Peter Pan.

Peter Pan. A classic playwright. Most individuals only know Peter Pan on its bare surface; they just know the story from the Disney animated film adaption. Disney did an injustice to the story.

Peter Pan, the playwright, is covered with themes and ideas. These themes and ideas still relate to our world today. Is adulthood truly this terrible? In a way, it is. Growing up sucks. It comes with worries, stress, responsibility. It comes with emotional and physical pain. Whenever I see my friends back home, we always reminiscence back to the days as young children. Our only worry was to convince our parents to allow our friend to sleep over.

Oh, how I wish I could go back to such a time. Growing up, I always wanted to know and experience so much. Now, being further down the road, sometimes I wish I concentrated on enjoying life at the moment. Peter Pan helped me realize that.

Peter Pan also introduced me to a fellow lost boy. Last semester, I performed in a graduate performance of Peter Pan. I met a lot of interesting and great people, but none of them made an impression as much as Jen Wells.

Jen first introduced herself during auditions. I had walked into the auditions. Some candidates were reading lines for one of the parts. I went to the first free chair closest to the back there was and slumped down.

“Why HELLO!” Came a voice from behind me. Startled I looked behind myself; there sat a girl with a short haircut and glasses. She had a pure light glowing from behind her eyes. I introduced myself back. We shared hush small talk while others shouted lines from Peter Pan, trying to impress the director. After their performance, I was called on to read lines. Perfect, I was called to read the lines of a lost boy. I looked to my right; Jen stood there with a script as well. A girl lost boy? Ha! I thought it would never work.

After auditions, rehearsals, and the performance – I was proven wrong. Jen was better at acting like a twelve-year-old boy than I was. Her boy acting skills weren’t the only interesting thing about her. The more rehearsals we spent together throwing a ruckus. The more Jen’s unique beauty started to flow out.

Jen has Neurocardiogenic syncope, Cervico occipital neuralgia, Chiari malformation, and more. Of course, most of us don’t even know what those are. We don’t care to. We don’t need to. We aren’t affected by it. But Jen is. Jen, as she told me, is just a pantry full of different diseases. Even riddled with these unfair circumstances, I still saw a radiant glow of joy in her eyes during auditions.

How can someone, who lives with constant pain, have that glow? How can someone, who fears her own body, live through so much joy?

Jen’s joy has nothing to do with herself. She pushes her body to limits for others. She helps, listens, cries, works for others. Her joy is affecting others, which she did for me.

After she finishes grad school, Jen wants to work with troubled teens. She wants to offer them another sort of way to express their emotions. She wants to teach fine arts classes. A way to put them back into society.

Jen Rose Wells taught me one valuable lesson. Joy is a disease. She might contain different diseases, but the strongest one she has is joy. It always beats the others; her glow always shines through. Her laughter masks the lasting pain in her body. Joy is contagious. She gets her source from others; helping others grows her joy.

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