GIRL, STOP APOLOGIZING

Women are apologizers; we apologize all day for being who we are. Most of us don’t even realize when we’re doing it, and we need to stop. The USA Women’s Soccer Team recently came under attack for celebrating their wins and abilities in a way that male athletes do all the time. These women are the best soccer players in the world, and were admonished by talk show hosts, “fans” and the like for relishing in their accomplishments. They didn’t apologize for celebrating themselves, and neither should you. Girl, stop apologizing.

Issa Rae (creator of the viral webseries Awkward Black Girl, subsequent book and hit HBO show Insecure) won the Emerging Entrepreneur Award at the Women in Film 2019 Annual Gala. During her acceptance she gave one of the most hilarious and self-love filled speeches that also wet viral. At this point Issa should just change her last name to Viral, because everything she does goes platinum…no diamond!

While giving her speech Issa stated, “Sometimes I feel as women we tend to downplay ourselves and dim our light, and we’re kinda conditioned socially to be humble. I’m a huge hip-hop fan and none of the artists I listen to are humble.” Of course there is much more to the speech, and I highly suggest you watch it on YouTube because its pure comedy, but the opening lines are what really stand out.

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SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT

‘She’s Gotta Have It’ was absolutely stunning. I had no idea who Nola Darling was or what I was seeing, but I just knew that it was dope. No, it was more than that, it was beauty transcended past the norms. Each black and white shot was perfectly constructed into this myriad of colors and textures unseen, and I needed to see more. This film originally came into existence in 1986 I was just six years old, so I clearly had some growing up to do before I could take in its audacity, but once I did…my outlook completely changed.

Nola Darling, the films lead, had this big bed with candles lining the headboard dripping down onto its wood frame, creating the effect of luminescent wonder. When does she burn these candles? Only when she’s alone, or only when she is not? Could I do that to my bed? Would my mom be okay with that? “Like, seriously mom, come on, its just a visual representation of my angst…let me do it!” That’s what I would have said, had I ever worked up the courage to ask if I could have a mountain of seductiveness arched atop my beds headboard. 

I wanted to be her; she was a juxtaposition of every emotion and desire I needed to express, but couldn’t. I watched the film over and over again until I reached an age where I can fully absorb her feminism. Nola had an around not give a shit what anyone else thinks attitude, I was dying to posses. Nola was a black woman not being portrayed as a crack addict, prostitute, the sassy best friend, or the babysitter. This film starred other black people, but above all Nola was the star, sex symbol, and independent woman all the men around her wanted. This was an anomaly and I was, and still am here for all of it.

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WHY ARE ADULT FRIENDSHIPS SO HARD TO MAINTAIN?

Maintaining friendships as an adult has proven to be difficult for me. Mentally cataloging the varied people who have moved in and out of my life during my adulthood is exhausting. At times I struggle to wrap my head around why someone is no longer in my life. I also find myself simultaneously grateful certain people have exited my life. The older I get, the more I realize just how complicated adult friendships can be. So, why are adult friendships so hard?

There have been a myriad of friends who are no longer present in my life. From the girlfriends I partied with, the friends I picked up after a big break-up, and people resurrected from my high school days. Not one single individual from those groups are currently apart of my life, and I don’t miss them…at all.

In elementary school I had one friend, Summer. We spent our weekends together, and would talk on the phone all night after school. As kids, our friendship revolved around each other and was distraction free. Admittedly, New Kids on the Block were a huge second in our lives, but we put our friendship first. In adulthood, those days no longer exist.

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5 WAYS TO MANAGE FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY

Lately, I have been struggling with major feelings of inadequacy. While I always try to remain positive in this space, I wouldn’t be keeping it real if I didn’t put this struggle out there. Have you ever felt like no matter what you do its not enough? That everyone in life is headed into the right direction, but you are veering far from center? Maybe you are experiencing an emotional lack, or grappling with what move to make next in your life.

The onslaught of the feelings of inadequacy washed over me last year and I have yet to fully shake its effects on me. As a thirty something single woman struggling to make it as a writer and actor in a business saturated with…well…writers and actors, for months now I have felt behind on everything. As if my life is not progressing at the speed in which it should. My best friend owns a home, has a life partner, two kids and a dog. My long time male friend is married with a child and just moved into a home. I feel like everyone is moving forward and I am just barely treading water.

I moved back home to help my dad when he fell ill after my mom died, and I feel like he is progressing more than me in life! He has a girlfriend and I promise you also has a more active social life than I do! What the hell am I doing wrong, I constantly ask of myself. At times, I think my effort is pointless. Feeling as though I am screaming into a void, and no one will ever notice.

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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

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