Monday, July 26, 2010

A Bayooteefull Day

"Life is a journey, not a destination. There are no mistakes, just chances we've taken. Lay down your regrets, cause all we have is NOW!" - India Arie's "A Beautiful Day"

(I needed a little musical inspiration as I woke up on the morning of my 30th birthday and no one does it better than India Arie's music. This song played and gave me a refreshing spirit to get through my day. The song played as I drove to class in Maryland for an ear prompter lesson, a vital skill set to have in my industry.)

I woke Sunday morning exhausted and longing for more sleep, just a few more minutes to lay still and not answer the phone, not think, just breath. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option. I had to bypass all the voicemails, Facebook messages and other forms of birthday wishes that strolled in from friends and family. Time to hop in the shower and revitalize myself for this long but grateful day in front of me. I couldn't kick into high gear and felt today was going to be a challenge. I promised myself I'd find time to read my daily proverb before zooming to class but it didn't happen. I did and always find time to stop and at least thank God for waking me with another day of life and blessings. Out the door I go as I become aware that this day will be off to a better start if I put some food in my belly. I don't have time for it but I call my instructor to notify her I'm running late and speed on over to Burger King for a chicken sandwich with cheese and mayo. (Sidenote: I made a decision to remove dairy and meat or at least red meat from my diet for 30 days and improve my workout regimen. I failed this morning but I did resist the cheese on my sandwich.) The highway is moving great and all the drivers seemed to be on the same path to hurry and get there because we were rolling at least 70mph the whole way. I actually arrive in the general area of class a few minutes early and so I decide to peak at some of my bday wishes. I had to start with my dad because I'm so grateful to have in my life as he is responsible for giving me life. He wishes me a Happy Bday and reminds me that I'm getting up there by saying "You're almost half my age, baby." Thanks Daddy for that wonderful He calls me right back because he forgot to me he loves me and to be careful and the emotional day begins or thickens. As I mentioned earier, this new chapter of my life is bittersweet without my mother here so I've been choking back tears left and right throughout my celebrations this week.

Class begins and we are rolling along when the power starts flickering and eventually gives in to the thunderstorm tearing up anything in sight. We completed the last two hours of our 4 hour class in the dark with candles lit all around the table, Koom Bye Ya Style (spelling?) I learned so much in that class and met some great industry folks perfect for networking, including a well known News Reporter for Channel 7.

So I head to my truck to just sit and breath for a moment before I plan my next move. I drive to an empty lot up the street because reception is bad where the class was held. I check and respond to all my voicemails, BBMs, text messages and emails including the two from my nieces (6, 4, and 1) singing me Happy Birthday. This tickles me and makes me more emotional because the youngest cant even speak but she was in the background humming a little tune that resembled the birthday song so I'll take it. Ok so I knew I wanted to swing pass Walmart and my post office box before heading to DC for my celebration dinner. Looked like I had plenty of time so I go for it.

This next part of my day had the power to get the best of my exhausted, emotional self but its a bayooteefull day so were not gonna give in. 495 was backed up with rubber neckers looking at an accident on the other side, so when I could I got off at Route 1 to take some back roads that will get me right to Walmart. (Sidenote: I found it rather country of me to make my mission for the day getting to WalMart, especially on my birthday.) Route 1 is backed up and I turn off to other side roads to get turned around three times due to fallen trees blocking the roads I usually take. Back to the traffic and stop lights with no power on Route 1. After hitting one last road black I decide I should call Walmart to make sure they even have power. From Silver Spring, MD down to DC there were numerous power outages so it's likely that they may not have power, but they did....YESSSS! I whisk in like I'm on a grocery store game show and search for the items on my mental list as I observe that my party starts in 30 minutes and I still have to change somewhere and I'm more than 30 minutes away, OH NO! I checkout and hop back in the Chevy, down to 295 which once again had traffic so as soon as I got a chance I got off at 197 and took more back roads. This time I said "I'm not hitting another road block" so I go past my usual detour and head to the next closest highway with no lights to get me to the party as soon as possible and that was Route 50 and it was an excellent decision. While I'm doing 80mph on the highway, my nieces attempt one last time to talk to Auntie BJ on her bday. I answer and they sing me more songs and tell me how they want to come to my bday party and I promised we would have a special nieces only bday party for Auntie. (Sidenote: Make a mental note to actually do this, those girls remember everything.) I ended the conversation with the girls so I could focus on the road as I was approaching DC and don't have time for no tickets for driving while talking on the cellular. I do however begin texting my guest at each red light to say I'm running late and see ya soon. I start changing my clothes in the truck while driving. "Slide the dress down here and put one arm in there and grab the belt from the back seat so you don't forget the completion to your outfit, BJ." I am the queen of driving and doing a gazillion things, not saying it's a good thing but if I were on a game show for most tasks completed while driving, that prize would be mine. Through this entire experience I put the India Aria playlist on repeat, I needed the confirmation of a beautiful day because it looked gloomy in more ways than just the weather.

Now I arrive at my party and to my disappointment not one person is there. I'm scratching my head because I know I'm 30 minutes late. WTH? A few folks started texting me throughout the day to cancel due to power outages and not feeling well and blah blah blah. (Sidenote: I understand everyone has their own life to live and I mean this statement in no negative light just as an observation. We should all try to make an honest attempt to be the best friend we can be to those we appreciate having in our life. I'm not perfect but I can recall numerous times when I've had a drop of energy left in my body and I pushed myself to be there for friends in times of need or celebration. I do appreciate those who made an attempt to come but just couldn't get it together and even more those that limped in and arrived right from the airport to bring in my bday with me. OK moving on) Again another moment in my day that could've got the best of me if I allowed it. The positive in this was that I finally had a moment to myself and can relax with my new iPad and catch up on some work over a cocktail with the most important guest of all...ME! But shortly after I freshen up and order my cocktail an unexpected friend is the first to arrive. Shout out to Mikey, not to be confused with Mickey ;-) So slowly but surely friends started rolling in and the night was great. The sushi was fresh, the hookahs were a delightful addition to the festivities and I even bobbed my head a little to the music playing softly in the background. I received lots of love, cards, hugs, laughs, photo opps, and alcohol from some of my closest friends. As much as I wanted to keep the night going my body had other plans. I think we left around midnight and I let my Chevy take me home to my bed for a few hours of sleep.

My alarm kept nagging in my ear to wake up at 545am on this Monday morning to get ready for a 730am bus back to NY and two auditions. Hey... Mama got money to make, 4 days of celebration is more than enough. Besides this was the just the peak of my Celebration of Life, no need to drag this particular weekend on any longer. My life up to this point has been full of so many lessons and emotions and accomplishments and disappointments and much more. But I have yet to walk through so many other doors in this journey of life and I'm ready to take those chances. Couldn't have asked for a better Birthday and it was truly A Bayooteefull Day!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lightbulb Moment!

I say age doesn't mean much and that I just prefer to live life and not be concerned with what people or society says I should be doing at a particular age. Approaching my 30th birthday gives me so much to write about. Some could say, and I have pondered myself, that this attitude is merely an excuse to act a fool and live like a child rather than an adult. But I don't let those thoughts get the best of me. Contrary to how I may seem on the outside, I'm really a fine intelligent, brilliant even, woman on the inside. I curse a lot and drink and party and flirt and blow stuff off all the time, where inappropriately short and tight clothing (according to some). Probably do a lot of things that people wouldn't dare do without running to church the next day and repent. But behind closed doors, I read my Bible and other books, I save money out of every check I make, I help family and friends and can be very reliable when you truly need me, I observe my actions of the day prior and think of ways to do it better, I exercise here and there and choose a salad over a burger occasionally. So you see, looks are not what they really seem to be, they are as the saying goes, quite deceiving. I observe some of my closest friends who to the naked eye seem more disciplined, spiritual and "put together" then me, I can think of at least three that come to mind instantly. And without passing any judgment on them while making this statement. "I have accomplished more things and can probably provide more insight on life then they could probably imagine from my real life experiences". I beat myself up from time to time saying I need to be more reserved and proper and lady-like and educated when I compare myself to my friends. But then I have these "lightbulb" moments when I realize that I'm just as fabulous as I think they are and maybe more.

Just my random thought for the day, carry on ;-)

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

A Mosquito Bite!

In my reading of "Eat, Pray, Love" this morning I stumbled across a comment the author made. "Whenever something happens, I always react!" She wrote this in response to an exercise she tried to help her meditate. She sat in the garden at practiced Vipassana meditation. In this form of meditation you don't move at all, even during physical or emotional discomfort, you don't move for 2-3 hours at a time. So in the garden she sat and at this particular time of day the mosquitoes feast heavily. She centered herself and sat devoted to her meditation and allowed the mosquitoes to nibble away. She realized at the end of her meditation exercise that it was the first time in life she hadn't swatted at a mosquito in her site and she had over twenty bites. It was a puppet reaction she said that she had always done. And it prompted her to make the statement "Whenever something happens, I always react."

So it got me to thinking, what if I take a different approach or reaction in my life? What if I don't let my friend annoy me with her constant guarantee that my 30s are doomed to hell? Perhaps then I can just enjoy my 30s without her voice popping into my head. *Sidenote: I've never been the type to worry about age or my accomplishments based on societies rules of you should be doing this or experiencing that at this age and have accomplished this by that age. Just live life! End of Sidenote.* What if I decide to smile at the tourists that stop directly in front of me on the sidewalk instead of getting pissed off and stopping myself from screaming and pushing them out of my way? Maybe I'd get to a casting and be ready to roll immediately instead of needing a moment to de compress, especially if I'm already late. What if I make the decision not to give my number to or take a number from the irresistible cuties that are always in my face? Maybe that'll be one less heart break for me. What if I decide not to buy that Frappe or candy bar when I walk past the store? That would put me one step closer to the body shape I keep saying I want to get back. What if I don't constantly get annoyed when my ex calls or texts me and just let the past be in the past? Maybe then I can unlock my heart and find love again. *Sidenote: Is it possible to have a locked heart and yet still have an increasing number of entries to my Little Black Book? Does that sound contradicting? I usually throw most of the numbers away or don't answer when they call. Maybe its a subconscious reaction that still gives me Hope for a shot at love...hmmmm? End of Sidenote*

So I think the point to her exercise was maybe about not reacting to certain things and to stop sweating the small stuff or reacting to things simply because you can or because they are there. Steadying your mind and focusing on the priority at that moment. I'm thinking I need to start with a more positive reaction which will hopefully lead to no reaction or not sweating the small stuff. That's all for now, back to the book. Gotta finish it before the movie comes on Aug 13th starring my fav actress Julia Roberts... Yay!

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Monday, July 19, 2010

No Regrets???

My Final Thoughts: There are no do-overs in Death, so why not treat Life the same? Live each moment like you wont get a second chance.

Random Thoughts: Clinching my tear soaked pillow, thinking how amazing my mothers voice sounds, thanking God that I have hear music to hold on to her voice, hoping my iPod battery doesn't die before I fall asleep, Wondering what the hell was I doing when she was here?

Initial Thoughts: I decided to play my mothers version of Amazing Grace to help me sleep tonight or this morning rather since its now 330am. It's sung in our native tongue, Navajo Cherokee, along with my grandmother who equally had an amazing voice. As I listen to the song and I appreciate my mothers voice it made me reflect on the times when she was here and the lack of enjoyment I allowed myself to feel. I remembered traveling all over with her, driving and chaperoning her to her performances, making sure she had water when she got off stage, double checking that she had the right lyrics to the song in case she forgot on stage, ensuring she didn't exhaust herself when fans approached her and cutting conversations short when I saw she needed a break. She was very loyal to those who enjoyed her music and would stand and smile as long as they would regardless of how she felt. (Sidenote: She performed and recorded her best while she went through one of her last bouts with chemotherapy.) Anywho, I realized tonight that I was so business about her singing career that I didn't take time to enjoy her singing. She'd ask me what I thought about a song and I'd just comment I like it or it sounds good. Never really taking the time to sit and listen and just enjoy the sexy raspiness of her voice. Not because I didn't like her music or didn't support her, but my mind was so cluttered with her health and making she didn't put herself in the hospital trying to please her fans. (2nd sidenote: I will say that I got little pieces of enjoyment while she was on stage. That woman could put a show no matter what she was going through and she felt every second of each song she sang and you could tell whenever she performed. I have no idea how she did it some days, getting up on stage finding the air in her lungs to sing as strong as she did when her body was fragile and breaking down.) When I think about her travels to the cancer center, I see I had the same approach, very business like. I took on the role of being my mothers brain, eyes, legs during her weaker moments, basically I did everything she couldn't do to make her days runs smooth. Again I took moments here and there to enjoy the time with her. But I was definitely focused on what pills she had to take next, what refills I needed from the doctor, what test results didn't we get, when was her next appointment and what did I need to cancel on my schedule to get her there or what questions did I need to ask the doctor so we could stay on top of this cancer.

The more and more the song played on repeat I started to think about other things I didn't take the time to enjoy about my mother. The lessons she learned throughout life that I could have learned if I picked her brain more. The style and creativity she had, that I only discovered after she passed and I inherited most of her wardrobe, jewelry, and pictures. The knowledge she had on cooking; I always left the recipes up to my younger sisters to learn and said I just want to eat the food I don't want to learn how to cook it. (Pause here for intense crying, literally) I only started desiring those skills in the last year of her life when she would stay with me in Maryland. She would get so sick sometimes that I insisted she pack up and stay with me so I could be ten minutes away from her instead of two hours away. She loved getting up and cooking for me when I got home. She showed me how to make her famous rice pudding and I made lasagna, I was so proud of myself, lasagna is tricky. I could go on about the talents, knowledge, and bayooteefull things my mother possessed that I barely scratched the surface on. My way of coping with my mothers illness what to try and control it. I don't think this was a mistake but I could've allowed some moments of spontaneity to enter had I not tried to control every aspect of her illness.

I love my mother more now than I ever realized when she was here. I know she knew I loved her but I definitely wish I was more aware of my emotions then as much as I am now. I painted a bag at a charity event the other day with my name on the front and on the back it read "Tia's Girl 4 Life". My friends and cousin looked at me crazy when they saw a broken heart painted under that quote. Some people think I'm crazy but losing my mother is like having a broken heart forever. It's challenging and painful to desire a person and not have them when they're right in your face or at least walking this Earth. So imagine how much more pain I feel longing to have my mother beside me or even walking this Earth and knowing that no matter how much I wish it, pray for it, do right in this life, that it will never happen. I can only do my best in the life and pray that I see her again when this one is over because I can't get a do-over. My broken heart is soothed by the thought that she watches over me and is hearing all that I express in this blog and in my prayers and that somehow starts to make up for lost time.

I'll leave with this. My mother was right in front of my face and while I made great sacrifices to take care of her and be by her side until the end I took stuff for granted. Not seeing the bigger picture possibly that this was the last year of our time together and the opportunity to get as much from my mother a daughter would need to survive for the rest of my life without her. (Pause for more crying) But then I think, maybe God wanted me to be all business minded and analytical about everything because it allowed my mother to be care free and enjoy the last year of her life. So maybe I didn't take it for granted and I made the ultimate sacrifice of getting to know my mother more intimately so she could be happy and not have regrets. I'll never know, because as I said earlier you don't get do-over in Death and you shouldn't need them in Life either.

HOMEWORK: Look around, who's standing right in front of you, waiting for you to make an ultimate sacrifice or suck the knowledge out of them before its too late. Who have you taken for granted thinking you'll get a do-over?

Signing off at 4:18am... Living Life... No Regrets!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dirty Thirties

With all the death around me its hard not to think about the loss of my mother and shed tears. So many friends have lost loved ones this past month and it saddens me. As I come into my 30s, I think about her more often because I'm following in her steps in so many ways and she's not here to help shape me into the woman I am to become. Its crazy actually to miss her most during this time of my life. My mother wasn't the best at being domestic and she would have been the first to admit it. So why am I longing for her guidance so much when realistically she probably wouldn't have provided much advice. (I don't mean that in a negative way, its just a fact about my mom) I think because I see so much of myself in her as I mature that its hard not having her around to observe and kind of discover myself. If she were here I feel like it would be some parallel outer body experience watching myself mature into my mother and noticing those little nuances throughout our time together. Turning 30, is surely bittersweet, more sweet than bitter. I know that no one's experience of their 30s is the same but man it would've felt great to sit and chat with Mommy and hear her wild Dirty Thirty I think she is living spiritually through me because I am becoming more free and full of life as each day gets closer to me being older. If she was known for anything it was taking challenges by the horns and wrestling it down on the dance floor and making a great party out of it with a glass of vodka in her hand. Replace vodka with Grand Marnier and you have me. I'm so ready for my 30s and want to embrace all the challenges this new chapter of my life may bring. Doing it my way, regardless of anyone's expectations of me and living free. Bring it on Universe... This Leo is ready for her Dirty Thirties... Yee haw!!!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Climate Control

With the heatwave in effect right now you'd think this title references the 100 degree weather. Well its hot as crap outside but I'm talking about controlling my temper. As I type this I'm fuming at the head over my current situation. After a 3-month dry spell, I booked a two day shoot in NJ that pays quite well if my spot is used. I am definitely thanking my lucky stars and God for this booking because the bills are starting to pile up. Anywho, we had a 730am call time and the set is 30 minutes from my NJ apartment so I figured I'd drive. The client provided transportation but I had two castings and a callback after the shoot, so driving would be easier. I checked with the Production Assistant (P.A.) yesterday to get an idea of my shoot times so I'd know if it were at all possible to make the appointments. He told me it was a good chance since I was only in one scene first thing in the morning. I told myself last night that no matter what, I'd be prepared for them not to release me early and be grateful for the booking. Worst case scenario, I'll drive and if they release me late I'll just make the callback because that was the most important appointment. I had the best of intentions from yesterday all through waking up this morning and even while on set shooting. I said don't ask what time it is and don't stress about how long its taking and whether or not you'll finish before lunch and get to leave. I tried really hard...I promise I did! So we break for lunch at 1:20pm and I had once again confirmed with the P.A. that I wasn't in anymore scenes. So I ask if I was "wrapped" for the day since it was lunch time. There's no point in me sitting around for lunch if they're going to let me go after lunch...I got money to make. They say were not sure, we'll take a look at the film and assess after lunch. And so it begins.... The bullshit dramatic game of "I know we're finished with you but we've hired you for the day so you're ours B***H!" Sounds exaggerated but that's how it feels in this industry sometimes. People think they can talk to you and treat you however they feel because they're paying you and even more so because you can easily be replaced by the next actress. "I have a life and feelings too, ya know!" Moving on, I sit down and enjoy lunch and keep my agent and fake boyfriend for the callback updated on my progress. I ask again as lunch comes to an end and they start to select talent to go outside for the next scene setup. Question: "Since I wasn't called out does that mean I'm wrapped?" (With the nicest sweetest face and biggest smile possible). Answer: "Let's get everyone else to set first and then we'll see what it looks like". What it looks like??? What it looks like is I'm about to pack my stuff and be out, because I have three appointments to make and you playing with my money. The "Bonqueesha" in me wanted to leave regardless, especially after the first hour of doing nothing, but waiting... checking each appointment off my mental list as the time passed by. Back in the trailer they wanted to touch up my hair and makeup and I'm like can we wait to see if I'm wrapped first? I dislike being poked and prodded by the creative team on a good day so right now was definitely not the time.

Let me pause here to say that I realize I sound like an ungrateful Diva actress right now. But its not that, the thing is my world doesn't process wait time very well. I'm a hustler and always have been a juggler of a thousand things at once. So when an obstacle presents itself and says you have to pick one, you can't have it all, you can't possibly complete all those tasks, I say "The hell I can't!". So its not that I don't appreciate being on the set that others auditioned to be on and potentially making $4000 off this shoot. It's that I always see a potential way to overcome any obstacle and when I dream so high and set goals so BIG, sometimes the fall from that High is explosive.... Hence my temper. If I sat around, waiting patiently and never spoke up or sought out others opportunities while working on current opportunities I'd be broke and unsuccessful. This is a hurry up and go get it industry.

Back to the story, I started calling agents and telling them I can't make it, because I'm still on the set. Even called a friend to fill in for me at the callback, thinking maybe she'll get booked and I won't feel so bad. In the end, 2 and a half hours had passed, I missed both castings and the callback before they released me. In that time I'm sure I annoyed the three P.A.s, vented way too much to the gossip crew (hair and makeup), rolled my eyes, huffed and puffed, held back tears of frustration and said way too many curse words.

I know that I have more than enough experience and accomplishments in this industry to allow my character and reputation to get smeared in light of my attitude. Even as the guy told me I was wrapped I still had an attitude and wanted to scream. I updated my Twitter page in the process and said "I wanna pass out middle fingers" But that's not right, its not anyone of their faults... Directly or personally. That's just how this industry is. I should've done what most actors do and blocked my calendar out so I can't receive any appointments during the shoot. Should've, would've, could've... My "Hustler Mentality" is greedy sometimes and wants it all and believes she can have it all. When she doesn't get her way.... Booooooy watch out because her friend "Hot Head" is coming out to say hello and she don't play nice.

In summary, I know that I shouldn't have reacted the way I did and while I didn't make a huge scene, you never know who's looking. Even though I'm in the same predicament tomorrow, I believe that I will have chance to redeem myself and be the professional, level-headed person these clients booked for the shoot. This shoot is teaching me a great lesson about getting my temper under control. I have two castings and another callback tomorrow and without realizing it earlier while updating my calendar, I see that God is giving me a do-over. I thank him and say Amen!