WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE MOVING TO LA

Los Angeles, California is an oasis. From our beaches, to downtown, the snowy mountaintops, and everything in-between we pretty much have it made here. At least that’s how it seems to so many on the outside looking in. As a Los Angeles native I’ve become somewhat of a unicorn around these here parts. Every new person I meet has relocated here chasing the all to familiar dream: FAME. As an actor and writer I understand the desire and incredible pull that Los Angeles has. I mean we are home to Hollywood, Sony, Warner Brothers, and countless other studios. All of the best agents are here from WME to CCA and literally thousands of others.

Los Angeles is shiny, glittery and sparkles at night. The Hollywood sign sits on a mountainside you can see from pretty much every popular hiking trail. It’s elusive, inviting and has an incredible backstory that fills you with hope that maybe one day, no someday you will tell your own unbelievable backstory about how you, “made it.” Driving down the palm tree lined streets of Beverly Hills, Hollywood and the like, you often see the TMZ bus shuttling along tourists with their cell phones and cameras in hand. I swear you can literally see the stars in their eyes. They are so hopeful.

They don’t see the drug addicted and homeless lining downtowns Skid Row, no, they see all of the Instagram worthy pics from their favorite youtube sensation in real life, and think that polished exterior is what LA has to offer. The tour bus doesn’t show them the all of the homeless Angelenos that sleep on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and the other hopefuls who perform there day and night with a bucket out for tips. They also don’t see the overworked, underpaid, and mostly immigrant nannies who walk around Beverly Hills with little white kids in tow. That’s the thing about LA…its the most beautiful illusion you’ll ever experience. Continue reading

UNPACKING EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE IN RELATIONSHIPS

Emotional Baggage: we all have it and some of us struggle with how to deal with it. When we enter into relationships we want to be able to unpack it all, dump it in our partners lap, and have them find the proverbial matching socks. Emotional fortitude does not come easily and depending on the environment we are raised in, is something many of us may learn as adults, which makes it even harder.

Last week I was in a room with a man and a woman who got into a heated discussion about dating, relationships, and emotional baggage. I sat listening to these two very emotional beings spar with each other. She, defending her beliefs and he determined to prove his exactitude. He used every tactic to sway her, from quoting the Bible to playing upon her emotions as she became more and more defensive. His take, ‘a woman should be a man’s solace. When he comes home from battling the day, he doesn’t want to come home and battle you too.’ Her take, ‘a woman should not be expected to just take/deal with all of your bullshit.’  Continue reading

I QUIT MY JOB: FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH & MY DREAMS

After five years of working for my former employer, I finally quit my job. It’s been a while now, and the changes to my mental and emotional health have been remarkable. I wanted to quit my job for years, but didn’t out of crippling fear. Quitting would mean I’d no longer have health benefits, my paycheck, be able to pay rent, car note, cell phone etc. Leaving jobs in the past did not hold the same amount of fear for me as this one did. For some reason I felt as though I would not be okay if I did. The anxiety kept me up at night, distracted me from my daily activities and stressed me to the brink. Fear set up shop, took over, and kept me down…for a while.

We put a lot of stock in our jobs. They mean everything to us and we will sacrifice family time, sick days, vacation hours, and our physical health just to get the job done. How many times have you headed into work sick, missed a familial moment, hospital visit, gone in limping from an injury, or not taken a vacation in years, because of your job?

On top of our mental and emotional health, there’s another important aspect of our lives we will also put on the back burner for our nine-to-five: our dreams. Don’t ever feel as though working a nine-to-five job is a negative because it is not. We have bills that must get paid, kids that need to be fed, and dreams we have to build, which require the money from said nine-to-five to become our reality. When that nine-to-five becomes a mental and emotional crippler, then we have a major problem. And for me it became a serious issue. So severe that I found myself breaking down into tears during the entire hour long drive to work and home almost daily. Something had to change, but yet, I still hadn’t found the strength to leave.  Continue reading

What My Parents Marriage Taught Me

Driving home from Las Vegas one weekend, my mom and dad argued almost the entire time. They weren’t yelling but I knew they were angry. The signs were obvious, as I had learned to recognize them early in my young life. I remember my mom telling my dad to pull the car over immediately. He did. Suddenly, my mom steps out and the money she was holding in her hands went flying everywhere as she threw it in the desert wind. Dad adjusting his cigarette in his mouth before opening the door to finish the argument, and of course, pick up the money.

Arguing was a regular form of communication in my household growing up. My siblings and I were not shunned from the goings on between our parents. There was no taking it to another room, or waiting until the kids were asleep to purge themselves of all the anger coursing through them at any time. No need to whisper when the kids have grown accustomed to the shouts.  Continue reading

My Body, My Words: From A-Cups to Thick Thighs…

“Wow, you got so fat!” are the words my aunt said to me as I walked into my grandmothers house on Thanksgiving, years ago. My then boyfriend and I were in a toxic relationship; he emotionally abusive and me, mentally exhausted. Depression took over, and so I cried, and ate…and cried, and ate. Gaining an extra twenty pounds on my small, five foot two frame. I tried to pretend I was unbothered for the rest of the night, and silently cried while staring out of the window in the car the entire way home. After pulling myself together, and kicking his cheating butt to the curb, I dropped the weight, but the mental toll it took, stuck with me. This is not the first time I’ve struggled with self acceptance, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last. My body and I have had an internal struggle most of our life. My Body…My Words.

As a kid things weren’t much better. “Look at your legs…you have thunder thighs!” Ryan, my fourth grade classmate yelled as we walked on the playground. I wore my new Bongo shorts and matching t-shirt my Mom bought me, and felt ready to conquer the world that morning on the drive to school. Everyone will love my outfit, and this will make them finally love me too was my internal hope. As one of the literal few black students in the entire school being made fun of was a daily part of my routine.

My thick thighs, kinky hair, and brown skin were the subject of many hate campaigns. I tried desperately to fit in and be liked, but I would always be considered an outsider, and my body, skin and hair would never let me in. I began to resent my brown skin, kinky hair, and strong thighs just like they did. For the rest of the year, no matter how hot the weather became, I’d wear my thick black New Kids on the Block jacket to school, and use it to cover my legs anytime I wore
a dress or shorts. Their words stuck.

“She hates me.” is what my body must think. Continue reading

4 Fears to Leave in 2017

As the New Year approaches, I, along with you, will replay every single moment of this year over and over in my head. All of it, the bad, good, insane, and awkward events that shaped 2017. A few things scared the bejeezus out of me: the state of our country, stepping on my new puppies leg, the black mold in my apartment, quitting my long time job, and pitching my scripts…to name a few. I’m an over thinker, that’s not a secret, but I started to really delve into a few of these fears, and how to let them go, or at least use them for our benefit. 4 Fears to Leave in 2017:

1) Fear of Success: This is a fear many of us have but don’t fully recognize. Success is scary. There is so much that comes along with it, mainly, pressure to keep it up, and this is where the fear creeps in. We all want to be successful in life, no matter what that may look like. My definition of success may not match yours, but I can guarantee that the fear of obtaining and keeping it is a real emotion we both share. Let’s agree that we will leave this fear in 2017 and not let it dictate how we go about accomplishing our goals in 2018. One day all of the sacrifices and hard work will pay off, or, you may have already achieved success and are in panic mode trying to keep it up. Don’t focus on all of the what-ifs, and live for right now. Use that fear to push you past the point of success you have dreamed up for yourself. Believe in the impossible, and watch the universe unfold around you. You deserve it.

2) Fear of Failure: Failure is a bitch. Seriously. I have failed at literally everything I have attempted, tried, or accomplished. Yes, I typed accomplished, because I had to fail more times than not to be able to accomplish whatever it is. This year I pitched scripts to executives, managers, production teams and even executive assistants, and was rejected by almost all of them. It comes with the territory. What are you afraid of? Is it putting yourself out there, feeling as though you’re not talented or educated enough, feeling as though you’ll never succeed?

Let that fear fuel you. I do all of the time. Writing a blog post, script, screenplay, auditioning. etc. are all scary as hell. I open myself up to severe criticism, hate and judgements daily, but how else can I reach my dreams and goals of becoming a successful actor/writer. The nervousness is normal. Fearing failure is normal, but it cannot exist in an accomplished world. You will never become an actor, writer, lawyer, engineer, disney princess or whatever the hell it is you want, if you allow fear to lead your life. Use fear, don’t let it use you. Let 2018 be the year you put yourself our there. You earned it. Continue reading

Stop Asking Women Why We’re, “Still Single”

I am so over this dumbass question. Thoroughly sick and tired of having to defend myself against an McCarthy like era interrogation into discovering the reasons why I’m still single. Its offensive and just plain ridiculous…also, in most cases, its filled with judgment and makes me want to punch you in the throat. The question is almost always posed as though there must be something wrong with me if at 37yrs old, I am single, never married and have no children. Why is it that as a woman I must be damaged, too picky, hard to deal with, crazy or super selfish, and George Clooney who remained a playboy bachelor until his 50’s, is considered an intelligent hero for taking his time to settle down?

Yes, I am thirty-seven. No, I have never been married or plan to have children anytime soon. I have been single for over ten years, and no I do not feel like I am missing out on anything, or that I am running out of time. There is no need for me to put out a billboard on the street searching for my new man, and no, I don’t think I am being selfish. My career comes first, and I am truly okay with that. Am I worried that I will not be able to get pregnant later in life? Nope. If I end up married someday and decide to have children, but can’t get pregnant, then I will adopt or use a surrogate. Do these issues play in my mind daily…not at all.  Continue reading

My Pitch Was Rejected, Here’s What I Did Next

An executive at major entertainment company recently passed on my pitch for a television script. He stated he loved the comedy and my pitch, but that I should’ve hidden the fact that my lead character didn’t have her life together. His opinion made me look at how women are represented in media, and how I as a writer/blogger/screenwriter add to that. When you look at television shows like, “The big Bang Theory”, “Entourage”, ”How I Met Your Mother”, and pretty much most of the shows starring men who were apart of other insanely successful shows; for instance Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc have both recently found renewed success in their new tv roles. These shows and many more are male driven representations of sexuality, fatherhood, married life and work relationships, where the lead protagonists do not have their shit together.

All of these shows are well written/acted, funny in their own right, and feature common tropes about the bumbling father who after getting married, and having kids, all of a sudden has no idea how to raise their middle school aged-children…comedy ensues. Or the single group of guys partying their way around the globe and having an insane amount of amazing sex with some of the most beautiful women you’ve ever seen, but in all other aspects of their lives are unable to also get their shit together…comedy and hot sex scenes ensue. Then there are the nice guys who seemingly have their professional lives together, working for a museum, accounting firm etc, but cannot for the life of them find a woman to settle down with…hilarious dating scenarios, comedy, awkward sex scenes ensue.

These are of course just a few examples, and there are women centered television shows that have the same tropes in them, which are just as hilarious-if not more-than their male counterparts. Shows like ‘Two Broke Girls’ and ‘Insecure’ show women as hilarious, flawed, and complex. The women on these shows and included in the shows from the examples above add so much to the screen that they are literally changing the way women are viewed by not just men, but other women. Seeing smart, beautiful, female scientists on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ makes me happy. Knowing the Issa Rae has shined a huge spotlight on black work relationships, love and sex in a funny and relatable way literally fills me with hope. Continue reading

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give Up On Your Dreams

We are told we can be anything, do anything and can have it all if we just try hard enough, but what if trying hard enough still isn’t enough? What do you do when you have given it your all and still cannot achieve the dream and goals you have set for yourself? We’ve all been there. Life is kicking you in the ass and you’re worried about making rent this month, or wondering how you’re going to pay your student loan payment and still have money for groceries. Or you’re not getting auditions, job interviews, making enough money etc. It seems like everything you try you fail at, or it ends up going left when you’re desperately trying to go right. Is there ever a time when you should just say, fu*k it, and give up…maybe, but here are four reasons why you shouldn’t. Continue reading

3 Things to Leave in 2016

Am I the only one happy to see 2016 go? Good riddance to the rubbish that was this year because I am completely over it. While there are serious reasons why 2016 sucked on a larger scale, you know, like the orange cheeto inciting an insane amount of hate and mysogyny…or losing Prince, which by the way I am still not over, but I digress. Here are the reasons why 2016 totally sucked:

My Instagram Crushed Ruined Everything: Okay, he didn’t ruin everything in real life, just in the fantasy I created of him and our future children in my head. How did he ruin it all, you ask? He never asked me out! I am so over time wasters, and flirters with no follow through, so goodbye Instagram crush. I am leaving you behind in 2016. I will not delete you from my feed because then you’d know that you actually bothered me, and also, I need you to be able to see my fabulousness on a daily bases.

2016 taught me how to value my time, and myself as a whole. I am completely worthy of a man that will see how dope I am from the get-go, not leave me wondering how he feels, not flirt with me just to feed his ego, and who will ask me out on a proper date. You deserve that too you know. If he/she has left you guessing about how they feel, or does not make you a priority, please leave them in 2016. You are worthy of all the love you allow yourself to experience. Continue reading