Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Speaking the Blessing

149th Street – Grand Concourse (New York City ...Image via Wikipedia
I was flipping channels and caught a moment of Joel Osteen (not something/one I generally watch) a few weeks back and he said, "You have a blessing locked up inside of you that's just waiting to be released." Sometimes you just need to speak the blessing in order for it to appear before you. And then a couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of learning just how true speaking the blessing really is.

I worked on a short, horror film a couple weeks back called Green Plastic Sandals. I was on the set for 3 days and met different people everyday I was there. There were a few people who were there all 3 days with me so by the end of the shoot, we were all pretty tight. That 3rd day, I wasn't particularly interested in making anymore friends. In all honesty, I was exhausted and looking forward to getting home so I could put on some sweatpants and sleep. That was pretty much the only thing I had on my mind that day.

I introduced myself to some of the newbies on set, but didn't really hold any conversations with them, preferring to stick with the people I had gotten to know over the last couple days. There was one girl that had mentioned she lived in the Bronx so we briefly talked about where in the BX we each lived respectively....but that was just about the only conversation we had during the shoot.

As we wrapped for the day, I was grateful to be one step closer to slipping into my sweatpants and starting my weekend. The girl from the Bronx offered me a ride to the subway station by Yankee Stadium since it was right by her house. I thought about it for a second and then decided why not...I'll probably get home a lot faster than if I took the train the whole way.

On the way to her car, she mentioned she needed to stop for gas before she could go anywhere. Being that we both live in the Bronx, we had no idea where the closest gas station was. It was the first time I had ever been to Park Slope and everytime I've ever been in Brooklyn, I manage to get lost so I was no help at all. We both got on our Blackberry's (Blackberries?) and started to search for nearby gas stations. She set up her GPS to the apparent closest location and we got on our way. Before I knew it, we had made a giant circle...she had taken a turn too soon and we did a complete 360. I was tired and my patience was wearing thin. For a moment, I considered asking her if she could just drop me off at the closest subway station and giving up on the ride. But almost at the same time that this thought crossed my mind, she said something to the effect that she was glad to have me with her for the ride back. I took a deep breath and settled in. After we asked for directions from someone, we made our way to the busiest gas station I've ever seen. There were cars upon cars backed up, waiting for the next available gas pump. I sighed from impatience...I'm not sure if she realized at this point that I was kind of over the whole thing. Eventually, after careful manuevering, she backed up next to a gas pump and I could feel the tension releasing from my shoulders...knowing that we were back on track and I was another step closer to my beloved sweatpants.

We reset the GPS and were on our way. We started talking and I realized how much we had in made me feel a little guilty for having not spoken to her more while we were on set. We talked about our dating history, our ethnicities (she's Dominican and referred to me as "a white girl with swag"...bonus points for spot-on accuracy haha), acting, music, our families...and somewhere along the line, we got to God and spirituality. I can't remember where it began, but it was the best part of our conversation.

We had similar upbringings and I explained being born and raised Catholic to the transition I made to a Baptist church when I lived in Florida. She had had a similar experience and had stopped going to church regularly because she had found a good church home while living in VA for school and hadn't taken the opportunity to find a new church since she had moved back to NY. I could empathize with this since I hadn't started going back to church regularly until fairly recently. I returned to Iona College where I had faithfully practiced my and was grateful to be back practicing my ministry. I invited her to join me at mass sometime since I figured she might enjoy that particular setting.

Our conversation transitioned back to acting and as I told her about the newness of my acting endeavors, we got back to the notion of God and spirituality. I told her about the last year of my life...about losing my job, the heartbreak the loss of that job had caused me, the time I spent in and out of hospitals due to sick family and friends, the time I took to help my friend plan her wedding, and several other events that I had allowed to de-rail my ambitions of getting into the entertainment industry. I talked about my prayers to God to allow my creativity to be my livelihood. It was a prayer that had become a kind of song in my heart. But in the same breath, I told her that although I had been praying to God, I still felt some kind of disconnect from Him lately. I couldn't seem to feel Him or connect with Him the same way I once had. I was feeling lost...even while the conversation was taking place, I felt the sadness this realization had caused.

In saying all of this out loud, I had an epiphany....right there and then while I was talking to her. And because I was so taken off guard by this revelation, I don't think I even told her that it was just dawning on me. I said it as if I had already learned the lesson. The last year of my life had been dedicated to others...not something I was mad about...just a simple truth. However, all the time and energy I had spent on others were blessings unto themselves. It was a blessing that I had the time to be there for those so dear to me. And all of that positivity and giving had come back to me tenfold. It was now raining blessings in my life...the auditions, callbacks, booked gigs...they were the answers to my prayers. My disconnect with God was because I forgot to look inside myself. It was with God's grace that any of that was possible. I had forgotten that God could be inside of me....I was looking for Him everywhere else. In speaking the blessing to my new friend...I can honestly call her a friend even after such a short time....I had released the blessing that had been locked up inside of me. I got goosebumps as I tried my best to explain this revelation....fumbling over my own words and my excitement at the realization.

We arrived at the subway station and I was sad to say goodbye. We traded contact information and I walked slowly into the longer thinking about sleeping...or my sweatpants. I got on the subway and smiled as I reflected on what had just happened. I got off at my stop and as I walked towards my house, I was overcome and started to weep tears of joy. I had spoken the blessing...and I hope that in sharing this that somehow, in whatever small way, I helped you discover...or rediscover...the blessings in your own life.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grabbing the World by the.....

ARRI-35mm-Kamera-im-DreheinImage via Wikipedia
I missed you! No, seriously...I really missed you! I've been so busy lately that the blog has gone to the wayside. It's been on my mind, but I've been entirely too busy and/ or tired to write anything...and there's certainly been plenty to write about with all the things going on lately. It goes without saying that I have been seriously blessed in the last month or so...things have just been falling into place.

After spending an entire year helping others and being the person that other people have needed me to be, I can honestly say that I'm living for ME for the first time since I can really remember. All of my auditions and submissions have really paid off because I'm actually DOING what I set out to do. I've been booked for small acting gigs (i.e. short films, television episodes, etc.) and a music video. I am having the time of my life...I really couldn't be happier.

I can honestly say that I am a living testament to the fact that you can live your can do whatever it is that you set out to do...and it's never too late to start. I've also learned that there is no such thing as "trying" to do either do it and it works or you do it and it doesn't....but thinking about doing something does not constitute trying. For a long time, I was convinced that if I thought about something long enough that perhaps I could think it into existence. I know how ridiculous that sounds even as I write it, but I'm just being honest. And I'm sure I'm not alone in this thinking.

I have had a constant force in my life who has believed in me more than I believed in myself many times. She has been my guardian angel here on earth, my rock, my second mother, my best friend, and anything I needed her to be at any given moment. It was with such delight that I emailed her and sent her texts about my latest projects. And this blog post is inspired by and dedicated to her...I know I usually keep my blogs (and most of everything I do) relatively PG, but I have to end this blog with the quote that she has instilled me over and over again...even though it's a little vulgar, I can't think of any better way of putting it. I am finally "grabbing the world by the balls"....I highly suggest it!
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Seasons of Change

Miner's Bay DockImage via Wikipedia
The end of the summer is always the saddest time of year for me. I think of those Countrytime Lemonade commercials with the somber voice-over talking about the final days of the depressing. But what can you do, ya's ending whether you like it or not. This past Labor Day Weekend, I spent less time thining about how sad it was that summer was ending and more time using every waking moment to celebrate those final moments. I spent the weekend with some of my very favorite people...friends and family....oh and food., lots of food.

There's already an autumn chill in the air and summer is unmistakably on its way out. I've held on to every last ray of summer sunshine I can, but the season is changing and with does my life. As I put away my bathing suits, sundresses, and flip flops, I prepare for the coming months of jeans, sweaters, and Timberlands. I'm also packing up my self-doubt, reservations, and fears and slipping into a new wardrobe of confidence, fierceness, and courage....this season's real "it" fashions. Auditions and callbacks are getting more consistent...I feel the change of the season more than I ever have. This new phase of my life is looking more and more familar and feeling more a favorite pair of jeans. Bring it on, fall...I'm ready!

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Epic Failure Sometimes Equates to Epic Success

Broadway show billboards at the corner of 7th ...Image via Wikipedia
"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

Good old Albert. He wasn't kidding! As you may or may not know, last night I went on my first legitimate audition for an off Broadway show. I had less than 2 days to find a monologue, memorize it, and get ready for the audition. I've never had to recite a monologue before so this was all a little overwhelming. I ended up finding an appropriate one about this girl who loves a guy who gave her the bare minimum in return...sound familiar?

I practiced the monologue over and over again. I wrote it out. I typed it out. I recorded it on my phone and played it on repeat. I did everything I could with the little time I had to memorize it. But I guess my nerves got the best of me because it just didn't seem to stick. I remembered most of it, but I would get stuck on certain parts and just lose it. I figured it would click once I got up for the audition...I generally work best under pressure....lots of it.

I got off the train and ran through Times Square. The MTA was full of abnormal amounts of train traffic and a police investigation literally de-railed my commute into Manhattan. I got into the city a few minutes after the audition was scheduled to begin...I pride myself on being punctual, unfashionably early even, so I was already pretty frazzled.

I arrived at the Times Square Arts Center and took the elevator up to the 6th floor. The doors opened and people were sprawled all over the place...leaned against the wall and sitting on the floor with their resumes and headshots in hand. I took a second and scanned the room until I spotted the registration table. I walked up to the table, sweat beads on my face and sweat dripping down my back. The girl at the table gave me a form to fill out regarding availability and had me sign in. I took the form and found my rightful place on the floor. I was happy to have a moment to try to stop sweating and go over my monologue a few more times.

A few minutes later, another girl stood up and announced that they were at maximum capacity and that everyone needed to disperse in various locations while they waited for their audition. I made it to my feet and walked into the stairwell. I found a comfortable step and began reviewing the monologue again. I was still slipping up on certain parts...mainly in the beginning...which is obviously not an optimal point to be messing up. Again, I thought to myself that I handle pressure'll come together when it needs to.

I walked back into the main lobby and took a seat on the floor by 2 younger girls who appeared to be college students based on their conversation. They seemed pretty nonchalant about the audition. They were having a casual conversation about this and that...and then one of them broke out into a Queen song, "Don't Stop Me Now." I tried to read through my monologue during all of wasn't very effective. I looked over at them and thanked them for getting the song stuck in my head and sang part of the song out loud....thinking how easy it is for me to memorize a song's lyrics. We all started to giggle...and then they started calling names for the next group to audition. The 2 girls were I watched them leave, I heard my name get called. I got all my stuff together and made my way into the room where auditions were being held.

I walked into the room and took the last seat available. Seconds after I sat down, my name was called. I was first, FIRST! My heart dropped as I stood up. Those nerves that usually help push me through deadlines and come through in the clutch were nowhere to be found...they were just regular old nerves...that had taken over the lines of the monologue that I thought I would remember. I spoke the first couple lines of the monologue and my mind went blank. I improvised and just started pretending I was talking to the person I thought of when I selected the monologue. But it wasn't all that helpful...all I could think of was trying to get back to the monologue. I went silent and blubbered a few more lines. I apologized and grabbed the sheet of paper with my monologue on it. I tried to salvage what was left, but it was too late. I bombed. I sat back down and listened as the five other women proceeded to recite their monologues...with no problem.

I originally thought of not writing about this experience, but as you know (if you know me...or if you've been reading the blog), I don't have a problem sharing some of my less than glamorous experiences. In fact, it's these kind of experiences that I feel like are the best ones to share. Life is messy and things don't always go as you wish...but that's what makes life...well, life.

I left the audition smiling. I smiled the whole six flights of stairs down into the hot, city air. I walked down 43rd Street and bent the corner onto 8th Avenue...still smiling. Part of me was smiling at the mockery I had made of the monologue...if I didn't laugh, I might've cried. But honestly, the real reason I was smiling was because I had been brave enough to put myself into a situation like that. I've never auditioned for a show before...failing was a minor part of my experience...showing up was the highlight. Never be afraid to show'll always wonder what could've been....and that is true failure.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Standard Text Message Rates Apply

Carrying a BoxImage by pamhule via Flickr
When relationships end, things can go in so many different directions. Many times, there is some period of absolute silence between you and your ex.....strange to think that someone you spent everyday talking to, you now never speak a word. I've almost always been the kind of person who's been able to maintain some level of friendship with exes...which has not always served me well, but that's a story for another time.

Yesterday, the guy I had been dating came over to pick up his belongings. He would've done it sooner, but I haven't been around. We haven't had a legitimate conversation in a long time...last night was no exception. He sent me a text to let me know he was outside...he couldn't be bothered to call me. I sent him one back to tell him to come get his stuff because it was too heavy to carry. He sent a one letter text back, "K."

I answered the door and we didn't even make eye contact. He had his face in his phone and was busy sending more than a one letter text to someone else. I could feel my heart drop to my stomach as I pointed to the box of his belongings. He picked up the box and asked for a pair of glasses he had left in my car. It was the longest conversation we've had in was two sentences.

As I handed him his glasses, still avoiding eye contact, it seemed as if everything went silent. I walked away hearing only my heart beat so heavily I thought he could probably hear it, too. I choked back the tears that he didn't deserve anyway. I think the tears had less to do with him than they did with the realization that I was worse off than when I started with him. I've been single for almost 3 that time, I've done a lot of dating, soul searching, and rebuilding. In such a short amount of time of dating him, I feel like he made me second-guess 3 years of becoming the person I am I was somehow not worthy of the love he promised...the kind of love I had waited 3 years to find. I found myself back at square one...only even more skeptical that I'll ever find that kind of love.

I know that time will heal my honestly already has. And I'm thankful that our relationship was so short-lived. It was as if everything happened in fast-forward so I wouldn't waste too much time. I try to take a lesson out of every single thing that happens in my life...I guess the lesson in this situation is to not let a guy leave crap at your house. Ok, so I might still be trying to learn the lesson from this one...but I'm at least grateful to have an unlimited text message plan. Otherwise, those one word texts would just add insult to injury.
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