Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I woke this morning eager to read, write, eat and play in the unfamiliar surroundings of my apartment. I too, am eager to learn, play, give, and receive in the unfamiliar surroundings of the new season that God is bringing upon me. In the Spring Cleaning of my soul I need to seek out those undesirable areas that should be discarded and not donated or transferred onto another. I shall pray for guidance with letting go of the issues I've been holding onto, season after season, that have done nothing but cluttered my Spiritual Closet and blocked space for new ideas and blessings. I will dust myself off by choosing a better attitude each day, especially during adverse moments. In my physical life, I have always been some what of a Pack Rat and have difficulty letting go of old clothes, shoes, and other nic nacs in my possession. I surely believe this is true in my spiritual life as well. For as much as I pray and say I want to change and be a better "me" I continue to hold onto grudges, past hurts, undesirable people and habits.
I'm proud to say that slowly I've been allowing myself to do away with those cluttering items like the jeans I cant fit or just shouldn't wear anymore. Or shoes that are out of season or too small for my feet since they've grown. The same holds truth for my soul. There are some habits and characteristics about myself that are no longer attractive or suitable for this season of my life. Likewise, as I grow closer to God, there will be plenty more "shoes" or ways that these feet will grow out of. I have to be willing to let them all go to receive the bigger blessings of a renewed closet of knowledge and wisdom appropriate for my NOW. Because I've been such a Pack Rat over the years, I can honestly say that Spring Cleaning was non-existent. Well, a new season is the present and I'm beyond overjoyed that Spring Cleaning exists in my world, physically and spiritually.
Monday, March 28, 2011
The biggest conviction thats been weighing me down is jealousy or this notion that I have to compete with other people to win something or beat another to a goal. Its been coming at me from all areas, in auditions, in organizations I work with, in conversations to get the last word in or the most impacting words. Maybe jealousy isn't the right word, unhealthy competition is more like it. In my readings I'm learning that a jealous mind is a selfish mindset, a limiting mindset. It implies that the universe or God are not great enough to supply my needs and desires while also fulfilling the next persons dreams and purposes. How can I believe that God is all knowing and all powerful and abundant and not believe that he can produce more than one great accomplishment at a time? If I believe that Im worthy of having my prayers answered than how dare I allow jealousy or competition into my world and think the person next to me isn't worthy? I'm breaking habits of that narrow thinking, feeling that I need to size up an opponent or de-value someone in my mind to feed my self-worth. If the Universe has it written for me than I shall have it regardless of the next person's beliefs, talents, or behavior.
I read in I Corinthians 12 about the different gifts that we're given that form a complete "body" for Christ. Basically, if I'm the hands and another person the feet, we serve two different purposes but we are part of a larger unit that is a complete package with a bigger purpose. The foot shouldn't desire to do the hands work and the hands shouldn't be envious of the foot's work. Even if one feels they can easily fulfill the other's purpose, they should stay focused on their intended purpose and understand that they're right where God wanted them to be. It doesn't mean the hands are more or less important than the other members that make up the body. We all have a purpose in this world and I need to remind myself to stay centered and focused on mine so that I can fulfill what I was sent here to do.
So for me, there is no need to be combative or defensive and limit myself or God's plan for the blessings in my life. I can be a team player and support others on their journey to greatness while I walk up my own path to greatness. I want to be free and open and limitless to receive all that is meant for me. I know that the Universe can bless me and the next person simultaneously, there is enough greatness for all of God's children. My battle should be with myself to keep my mind free of negative boundaries which produce non loving words and actions. This thing called Life is a never ending learning process and I'm always humbled by how much further I have to grow even when I know I've grown a great deal. Thank you God for the Countless Life Lessons I continue to receive.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011
The more important question is why does that title even exist? Do we really have to be "starving" artist? Why not "fed, but could use a little more" artist or "watching what I eat" artist. Starving by definition means "in the process of perishing or suffering severely from...". Ouch, I don't want to perish or suffer severely from something I love doing.
The more I get involved in the arts, the more I realize that starving artist are starving due to lack of knowledge or desire to gain the knowledge. Let me explain. I'm often asked the question by other artists or aspiring artist, "So what do you do for a living? Like what's your real job?". I pause for some thought, "Hmmmmm, do I take offense to the "real job" comment or do I realize that this person is just ignorant and needs some schooling?". Most times I decide to be wise and take them to school. Their mouths fall to the floor with disbelief, like there is no way possible to make a living in the arts. Let me say that I have successfully been living on my own with no roommate, right outside of Manhattan, for over a year and a half. Even with a few financial hiccups I've managed to enjoy most of the lifestyle I desire. I'd consider that making a living in the arts, wouldn't you? I think it comes down to simple things that make a huge difference in your finances as an artist. After all, money is what artists are usually lacking when they give energy to this "Starving Artist Epidemic". So let's look at some examples of how I pinch pennies to avoid falling victim.
Example 1: The average artist lives in a borough outside of midtown Manhattan so either they're driving in which is an unnecessary expense i.e. parking fees or they take public transportation to get around. NYC metro offers a free transfer to either the train or bus in any direction within 2 hours of swiping your card from your initial ride. So I plan my day out and depending on time constraints I'll take the subway to my first appointment, walk to my second appointment and then swipe my card and take the scenic route on the bus back home or onto my next appointment. All for $2.25! Most of the castings are scheduled around the same time or you can request an appointment change if flexibility is an option. You can accomplish a lot in two hours if you're focused. I've seen fellow artists, take the subway to go 7 blocks instead of walking or swipe their card multiple times a day for the subway because they don't like the bus. I have no problem walking or taking the bus if it means I'll save a penny or three. Those metro cards can add up and the monthly unlimited is over $100...waste of money. I spend about $60 a month in metro fare. That difference of $40 is my utility bill.
Example 2: Manhattan has a Starbucks, McDonald's or a "mom and pop" coffee shop on every corner, literally. Set up your mobile office in a coffeshop and stop spending money to go back home. If I have a significant gap in my day I won't typically go back to my apartment and then return to the city. My neighbor calls it "double dipping". To avoid double dipping and spending a lot of extra cash, I'll pack a snack. Peanut butter crackers, cookies, fruit snacks, fresh fruit and almonds are my favorite. I set up shop with my cell, iPad, a good book, and grab a $2 tea from the spot. Most times I'll spend an hour submitting myself to new castings, being my own agent. So not only am I saving some money, I'm potentially making money in the process by self-submissions to castings. Of course, I realize that some folks say its easier to go home and eat instead. "I spend more money when I hang in the city", they say. My response: "Exercise some discipline with your wallet". If you don't have the money to spend then why are you spending it? We holler "Broke!" and then go buy a new bag or shoes. But if you exercise discipline the $4.50 you'd spend to take the subway home and back to the city could've gone towards a quick sandwich. I eat at Lenny's often and my preferred sandwich costs $5.44 with tax, so it is possible. I also prefer to hang in the city for those last minute castings you can get. Yall know when we get home we get lazy. I'm a hustler so I can't afford to turn down easy opportunities like an extra casting because of laziness. If I'm in the city, I'd rather stay focused and catch up on some blogging, reading, submissions, and scenery. I find a window seat and observe NYC's pedestrians, quite interesting actually.
OK let me wrap this up. Example 3 or Point 3: You are only a starving artist if you claim it. There are numerous websites that post the same castings that most agents send us to. As I stated earlier, you can do it yourself, so Why not? Some of the sites I use cost as little as $5 monthly to have an unlimited number of submissions to their postings. You can sacrifice that fancy Latte at Starbucks that you really cant afford anyway and submit yourself to jobs that pay well in excess of one months rent. No guarantee that you'll book it, but I believe you get back in life what you put out into the universe. So if its laziness and lack of motivation that you display to the universe then it's laziness you shall get back from the universe in giving you what you desire. Another area of frustration is that artist moan and cry about agency representation. This is 2011! If a light bulb doesn't go off at some point to say let me Google and see if I can find agencies or casting websites to get me more opportunities. We have an infinite amount of knowledge at our finger tips if we choose to seek it.
All I'm saying is make an effort to not be a starving artist before you give up and cry home about being a starving artist. I don't pretend to know it all but I do know what works for me. I refuse to perish and suffer for anything without a good go at it. I'm never starving but always hungry for more and that drives me to seek as many opportunities as the universe is willing to send me. Let's stop spreading this diseased mindset of starvation and get some food for thought. Ask around, surf the Internet, get creative with your pennies. The best antidote is knowledge against the Starving Artist Epidemic.
Stay tuned for a "Non-Starving Artist Trade Secrets" entry. It will include websites and tips for all the tools we need as artists but for way less than the popular resources charge.
I googled this article and it is a good quick read: "Can You Become a Non-Starving Artist?" http://www.martynemko.com/articles/can-you-become-non-starving-artist_id1469
Monday, March 21, 2011
Thats a new phrase I learned tonight during a prayer and planning session for a workshop I co-lead. I will use this phrase often to describe a normal occurrence in my world. I could say argue, debate, disagree, or battle but Intense Fellowship sounds much better. There was definitely some IFing going on tonight. As I walked through the doors of my apartment I was deep in thought. I was questioning my part in the intensity and recalling other situations where IFing occurred. It made me take a deeper look at me and why this is a normal occurrence.
First, let me say that plenty of folks said I missed my calling as an attorney because I love to debate my side of any case and hopefully persuade the other side to agree. But at the least I have to plead my case or speak my peace and be heard then agree to disagree. What frustrates me most is that often we'll be stating the same facts or views about the topic but were both so intent on battling or fellowshipping instensely that we fail to truly listen to one another. It would take an outside person to step in and say "Guys, youre saying the same thing, so move on already". Sometimes that person is me after a bit of debating but then I take on the intent of proving to my opponent that were fighting the same war and another debate sparks. My head is spinning thinking about me and my IFing throughout the year...throughout life.
I'm working on being a better listener personally and professionally, because it is key to communication. I ware myself out sometimes with my passionate stand on certain topics but yet I still engage in these experiences. I guess it irked me tonight because I really want the group to be on one accord but sometimes you have to ruffle feathers to reach your full potential, get people's brain spinning. I'm passionate about letting God do the speaking for us and personal limitations can block his blessings of wisdom for us. With that being said, my intensity can be considered a personal limitation in that sometimes I dont want to listen to what others have to say and I want to drive my point home. I've been praying for words of love and unity within the organzation and I'm confident that they will come down at the appointed times. Obviously tonight wasn't the appointed time and the Intense Fellowship was a bit awkard at times. But it's great working with passionate people looking to serve a greater purpose, bigger than ourselves. My prayer is that God bless the group with like minds and hearts and guide our lips to speak necessary words that fulfill his purpose for our mission.
Intense Fellowship, ha ha, that phrase just tickles me.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011
Pretty Girl Confessions is going to be a series about my experiences past and present about the expectations us "pretty girls" are supposed to live up to. When I say pretty girl I mean that image that society has deemed a pretty girl. Whether it be her facial structure, wardrobe, body shape and so on. I personally think beauty comes from within but we can all get sucked into society's image from time to time. I've recently had conversations with some of the teens in the youth program about image and what they think about pretty girls. I've certainly had my share of experiences throughout life and even more so now that I'm in the modeling industry which is based primarily on looks. It's one of the reasons I started this blog. The title Crazy Bayooteefull has multiple meanings in my life and the craziness of this society's effect on beautiful people and non-beautiful people according to their standards is a topic to talk about. I think im too aggravated to go into detail tonight, after all, I do like to keep this blog on the lighter side when possible. But stay tuned for more in depths discussions from Pretty Girl Confessions.
I'd get so frustrated while lecturing my baby sissie or nephew and I'd always have a "bad word" or two mixed in there out of passion. My sissie would always pause and insist that I use other words to speak to her. I didn't think anything of it and told her in so many words to get over it. In my mind, I wasn't disrespecting her because I wasn't cussing "at" her. I mean it's not like I called her a b***h or anything, I would say things like "why the f**k are you always doing..." or "This is some bulls**t!".
Even when having general conversations with girlfriends, my vocabulary surely included the "F" and "S" bombs and the occasional calling someone out of their name. I was labeled a "Potty Mouth" and the name fit because my dialogue was full of garbage. Thinking back, I didn't have any references that influenced this language. It was my own anger and rebellious mindset that inspired these words. I felt like I was standing up for what I believed by using bold words that others wouldn't dare. "So what society says these are bad words, who are they to tell me how I should speak?" It's not like I wasn't aware of my actions, I knew full and well that my profanity turned off some people and that others preferred I didn't speak in that way but I didn't care because I was being "ME", sticking to my freedom of speech. Blah blah blah. I laugh at myself now because I can recall so many other things that I rebelled against and thought I was making a grand stand by rebelling against society's rules. Some I still hold onto, but the potty mouth girl has cleaned up her vocab. I'm still a work in progress and I don't know when I officially decided to choose my words wisely, maybe just through the natural process of maturity. I pause when I feel those words of my past creeping up to my lips and search my brain for more loving ones. When I do let them slip out, I'm so convicted that I attempt to be more conscious of them. I used to corrupt people in my presence and they would inherit my potty ways through influence. Now when I'm around others who cuss I feel uncomfortable, sometimes because of temptation. Especially if I'm on the receiving end of those words, the temptation to go toe-to-toe with fighting words is overwhelming. I say a little prayer under my breath and hope for inspiring words to say. Today, when I hear words of passion or frustration from my girlfriends in general conversations I reflect on the ME that used to be. I see now how undesirable and immature my conversations could have appeared.
This week my ears have received an overflow of passionate words on the subway, bus and sidewalks of NYC and I couldn't wait to run home and escape the craziness to speak words of love to myself. Perhaps these were tests because I was sure ready to walk up to some of those folks and say something to the effect of "you are too pretty, young, or gifted to be speaking like that". Maybe the test was two part in not judging them because I was once there and being reminded of where I once was is enough to keep me on my current path. When those words were spoke to me I was so annoyed and irritated but now they stick out in my mind so vividly. It's not my place to judge or convict others for their short comings but I'm thankful to be reminded of my past to appreciate my present that much more. I've been told that you know a true Christian by stepping on their toe or something like that. Basically it means that I can claim to be a changed woman but if you step on my toe or upset me or something of a non-loving way and I scream, kick, cuss, push, fight, and blame then my actions have revealed who I really am. I don't know if its the God in me or simply the maturity, maybe a bit of both...obviously a bit of both.
Say words to encourage PEACE yall!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
As I sat on the bench overlooking Manhattan from my NJ apartment, I prayed to the city to be nice to me and protect me from the evil out there. I sat out there in the snow-covered benches for at least an hour. It was the first time I sat on the benches that trim my street since I moved here a year and a half ago. I had always envisioned my mother and I sitting there, so maybe subconsciously I was hesitant to do it without her.
My mother always told me that she wouldn't come visit me if I moved to New York. She lived her days as a city girl in Washington, DC and had more than enough adventure to last her, so she wouldnt hear of it. I remember telling her that I would slip her a sleeping pill or two and then she'd wake up and be in my NYC apartment and she'd have to deal with it, LOL. At the time, it did make me a little sad because I knew that she was serious about never coming here even though she said it with jokes and smiles. I honestly couldnt have imagined that she wouldnt be around to live here or any other state for that matter.
It's bittersweet to live the life that I live with my successes and my location because she was my biggest fan. My mom would send out email blasts to everyone, even people that didnt know me, to show off my latest accomplishment. She would make a bigger deal about my magazine spreads than I would and whenever possible she wanted to go to my fashion shows. She was so proud and wanted to be a part of them. She even got invloved in my fashion shows in college and came to do the make-up and talk until she was blue in the face to other models. Sometimes I wonder if I'd be here in the big city, with a resume out the door of accomplishments, if she were still alive? We talked often about her issues with NYC because I truly wanted to make that move but wouldnt really do it while she was sick. I couldnt imagine being four hours from her. Even when I moved an hour and a half away from her it would drive me crazy. At that time I had a 9 to 5 job so I'd go to Delaware and pack her up and she'd stay in my Maryland apartment for weeks so I was only fifteen minutes away at the most. I feel guilty at times realizing that I only reached this success because she's not here. I'd like to believe that at some point I would have had bigger accomplishments while being her main caregiver. But I knew and still know in my heart that I would have put her first and continued to sacrifice moving to the city. The most bittersweet of all is that I live outside of Manhattan in a quiet little town that she would have loved. If she were here, my town would've been the perfect option for us both. Fifteen minutes away from the city for my career and any place not in a major city for her. We'd still have our quiet days in the house where she'd teach me how to cook my favorite dishes from her Mama Tia's recipes and wash my clothes and clean for me. I could write a book on all the things we do today if she were here. Two divas ruling the world and arguing all along the way. But she's not here, not in the physical sense, and its all just bittersweet today as I celebrate her birthday. Im at peace with her departure but some days it just really sucks!!!!
Tia was and will forever be a remarkable woman. Her beauty, legacy, and creativity live on through her husband, children, and grandchildren. We love you mommy and thank you so much for being the woman you were that made us the beings we are today.
May God bless her soul as she soars above.
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Monday, March 14, 2011
These are just a few tricks I'm learning to embrace as I get serious about myself and what I'm here to accomplish. What's in your bag and what's your desired Image?
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011
However, there is still Peace to be found in this world, so I'm trying to make a conscious effort and doing pretty good at giving thanks by doing my part. Not just my part in my career and personal life but by doing my part to impact other peoples lives. I start working with a new youth group this week and I'm eagerly anticipating all the excitement the teens will bring into my world. The acting workshop I co-lead has been going great and we are reaching more actors/believers each week. I finally got back down to my church in MD this weekend and although I'm not local, Ive taken on some small tasks to assist the youth in pursuing their dreams of modeling. This weekend I'm helping a friend overcome a major hurdle in her personal life that will help her professional life grow to a new height. I've been assisting model friends lately in gaining better representation and sharing as much knowledge as I can find to help the next model or actor reach their full potential. The wonderful thing about of all of this is that I'm doing it at no cost, not one single penny. So many people offer these services and charge a ridiculous price for their knowledge or offer tidbits for free and withhold the good stuff because money isnt involved. I know that helping other people takes a commitment and sacrifice of my personal time but i believe the return I will receive has a greater value than any number written on a price tag.
Ive noticed some great synchronicity in my life lately and i want to do all i can to build on that. Ive been touched in so many ways that I cant help but want to pour out whats been poured onto me. I don't want to complain about my challenges and I don't want to brag about my successes, I just want to do my part and do a good work.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Its been a few weeks since my last entry and I stepped away from my blog for multiple reasons. Illness, financial challenges consuming my thoughts, blessings of multiple gigs in multiple states, lack of focus on any one topic to blog about. The past two weeks have been equally challenged and blessed. I suppose i should correct myself because challenges are blessings in disguise, they teach you all sorts of junk if you allow yourself to be taught. I was sick with strep throat again for the fifth time in nearly seven months. I have to admit that i didnt want to find a lesson in this challenge, i just wanted it to go away and never come back. But after a stubborn week without visiting a doctor i finally came to my senses and found a new doctor and demanded stronger antibiotics and answers. I received what i asked for but only after waking that Saturday morning and praying intently for a solution to this illness. I dealt with some harsh side effects throughout the next week but found joy in that because i knew i was getting better. This next week wasn't a typical one, i booked three shoots and all required me to travel. Uggggg Fuggg! Without giving too much information, lets just say one of the side effects i encountered would make anyone want to strap a toilet to their bottom and not move for days. OK, TMI but it was necessary. I had to say to myself "Are you REALLY going to waste this abundant week that God has given you by complaining about finances and illness?" After a few more kicks in the butt i replied to myself "Absolutely not!" and I juggled some funds around and mentally prepared myself for the travel. I encountered other challenges and successes during this period but maintaining an upbeat and positive attitude with the illness and the travel consumed most of me.
I feel like this was surely a test, a test of my Faith, a test of my passion for my career, a test of my mindset. I had to front a lot of the money to travel for these shoots and that initially bummed me out because i knew my bank account was thin. God came through right on time and sent a check from one of my smaller gigs the day before i left. I knew that i would be exposed to more germs at the height of my illness but i had to remain confident that God was sustaining me through this busy week just as he did the week prior. I was on top of my game at all of my gigs and you wouldn't have known i was sick if you didn't see me popping pills every couple of hours and running to the bathroom.
I read once that spiritual maturity comes when you seek lessons in everyday experiences. Instead of letting a challenging day get the best of you, one should look for the purpose of these events and take home lessons for growth or in my case take lessons for growth on the road. I could have made the decision to complain and whine and be diva-like during this experience. I believe i was humbled and pleasant through it all. I hope that God saw it that way too and continues to send life lessons my way via multiple bookings and a little toilet action...ha ha ha. Hey... i'll take that!
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