Sickle Cell's Influence on My Career
Last updated: August 2022
First, it was my basketball career that never started.
As a teenager, I wanted to become so many things. I had a passion for many things and I was even multi-talented. One of the things that interested me was basketball. I wanted to become a professional basketball player.
You might think that’s stupid but I didn’t think so. I was really positive about this dream. I knew the worst thing that could happen was end up in pain but I wasn't ready to let the fear take the joy of trying.
It wasn't like I had crises frequently so it was okay to try out basketball. I had gotten my kits ready. I started by registering with a local basketball club where I trained among other young aspiring players.
To be honest, training wasn’t easy at all. It was intense drilling for hours without water or any break. Luckily for me, I didn’t have any crisis during that period but I suffered a huge amount of fatigue. I would be the first to get tired. Sometimes, I’d almost lose my balance while standing, yet I kept going.
I survived the first week of training and got excited for the second. The second week came with difficulty and by the third week, I had to stop going for training. The third week was when I started feeling pain in my legs especially my thighs. I could barely bend without feeling like my thigh was on fire.
The encouragement wasn't enough for me to continue so I quit.
Even though I quit chasing my dream of becoming a professional basketball player, I enjoyed the experience and I do not mind playing basketball as a passion.
Dreaming of being a model
The second was my dream of becoming a model. At one point in my life, I came to really enjoy modeling. I was so interested in it that I would watch models on YouTube as they prep for a fashion show and all. I loved the model lifestyle and I would like to live it.
Although back then, I only knew one type of modeling. I thought modeling was only about fashion and runway models. The type of male models I saw are usually athletic and fit, so it felt like a dream that cannot be a reality because I am skinny. It took a long time before I learned that the modeling industry is wider than I thought and it can accommodate people of different sizes.
Waiting for the right moment
Even after I knew this, I still stayed back because of school. I thought it was better to graduate before pursuing my modeling career. Unfortunately, before I finished school, I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis (AVN), a sickle cell complication.
With AVN, it was almost impossible to go ahead with the career because I needed to reduce weight on my hip and avoid stress on the leg. I know modeling sometimes can require long hours of standing or sitting so it was better to drop the idea of modeling. However, the thought of modeling lingered in my mind. It was difficult to get modeling out of my mind so I continued looking for possibilities and I found disabled modeling.
And finding new paths
Watching disabled models on YouTube gave me hope again. Then I knew it was possible for me to model plus I was ready to explore other modeling types like commercial modeling. If you don't know, commercial modeling has nothing to do with size or height. It is a sector of the industry that requires the everyday person, so I saw my modeling career starting again.
This time, I took a step. I went for a commercial modeling audition for an agency but it didn't end as I thought. I tried for another modeling audition but this time, it wasn't a commercial modeling agency and my limp was getting obvious. At the audition, it was more of runway modeling so I wasn’t comfortable since I can’t walk well.
When I was asked to show my walk, it changed everything. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I tried my best to walk the space I was given but the few limping steps I took made me realize modeling wasn't what I wanted at that moment. It was a hip replacement surgery.
A new career
That was when I gave up on modeling and had to start working from home. It is still my dream to model but I have to first get my hip replaced in order to have full confidence in myself.
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