LA: Month II

I’m late. I swear I have started to write this blog at least three times this month already, in my head. Plus, I’ve jotted notes in a sharpie pen on a legal pad at work, like a week ago. Yet, I digress. My two biggest areas of opportunity going into month three are timeliness|time management and securing financial awareness|stability. In fact, it’s sad to say that I kind of stopped using my Erin Condren Life Planner for a bit. I feel awful, but I intend to end the year strong.

Aside from the shame that comes with the dust and blank September pages of my life planner, things continue to go well for me in the city of angels. I finally feel like I am settling into my job. No, it is not on my list of things I love to do, but I am ok with my current situation. Speaking of work, its hard to deal with the amount of money I spend on transportation everyday. I actually enjoy the luxury of riding, instead of driving to work, reading, listening to audio content or sleeping.  Each day, each trip rather, uber/lyft sends a complimentary receipt via email. I have so many that I am haunted. Honestly. There is no way I can continue to ignore the amount of money I spend just getting around here. Think about it; I mean we’re talking at least two trips a day. Hundreds of dollars a month, that all adds up, and I’m sick of it!

I feel like I’m really learning what it means to have a roommate as well. Somedays (a lot of them) it feels like Franceli and I spend more time being roommates than we do being friends. So much so that I have had to find quiet reminders, remnants of a friendship bound along life’s journey. I have always known that I’m a particular person.  A creature based on habit and routine. I am a planny person (despite having neglected my planner this month). I think I live a pretty quiet life. I love my own space and the companionship that comes with the ownership of my own little corner of the world. Don’t get me wrong because it’s not that Franceli and I yield two completely different lifestyles, we just happen to have two different operating systems, ya know? She’s the droid to my iOS device. (lol) In all fairness it is the beauty of our friendship that makes this situation work. And that’s what I am most grateful for.

This month comes with fresh opportunity as well. I am so ecstatic to be a host on Afterbuzz TV. Like, beyond. Currently, I am on the panel of three after shows: This is Us, Inhumans, and 90 Day Fiance. I almost feel as if the whole world it’s opening itself up to me. Lending me her ear to speak the entirety of my vision.  That’s a feeling many of us know to be fleeting, but when it comes it’s for sure something to grasp with the grip of both hands.

I also got the chance to produce a music video that will be released later this month.  (More on this later!) That’s not something I ever imagined being in the position to do. It lets me know that there is a place for me in entertainment bigger than the little I’ve imagined. Especially when it comes to music. Y’all know my first dream was to sing back up for Mariah Carey!

This month was showing of so much. More than anything I know the work that comes with being successful. Strategy is important. Time is of the essence. And, you can’t do shit without money. Thank God for favor because I still got tricks up my sleeves!



Fun fact. I love legal pads. Interestingly enough, I’ve long since been obsessed with the allure of them. Not sure if it stems from wanting to be a lawyer for so much of my life, or just wanting to feel important; either way, I never really pass on the opportunity to write. I’m the exact same way with post it notes. I used to write my journal entries at work on post its, in between calls, down to the call center. Now I’m using legal pads. The big ones are mildly intimidating, I much prefer the smaller pages, but any legal pad will do.

Some where along my start this morning I felt convicted, for sure as I sat in the back of the uber on my route to work. There inside me felt this massive weight of conviction, guilt that I am not working hard enough, doing enough to propel myself forward. Don’t you just love|hate when those moments creep their way into your consciousness? I swear. Yet, with as much as I’ve been able to accomplish in LA thus far I’m left knowing that there is so much more to be done, because the fact of the matter is I am only actually providing a small application of work|effort on my end, and that doesn’t please me. It does not serve me well.

#XD30-six-Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman recently hit box offices everywhere and set summer movie records on fire. I got the chance to see the film earlier this evening and it’s easy to see why people everywhere are interested in the story. Let me start by saying that I don’t know anything about Wonder Woman, or any comic book hero for that matter. It has never been my thing, and when it comes to action movies, it’s not really a genre that I go running to the theatre to see. Yet, I have heard nothing but amazing things about the movie.

To be fair, lets go ahead and note that Wonder Woman is the story of Diana, (played by Gal Gadot) an Amazonian woman princess on an Island governed by women, in a world without men. She is linked to greek mythology in that the Amazons were created to save the world after Zeus and Aries fell out, and that is where we find young Diana, eager to fulfill a destiny and save the world.

I honestly thought the story was done quite well. Although I find it incredibly difficult to imagine a society that lacks men, I could appreciate the telling or showcasing of the depth of a people of women. Albeit, older, white women (on a petty note). I love the power and prowess that the film took on for women. The film made every effort to assert women and that’s something we don’t see everyday, nor do we always appreciate it. So, kudos to that!

One interesting aspect I noticed was the transition coming from the amazonian world of their island into the world of civilization. Diana went to sleep on a sailboat with her hair braided back and woke up with it completely undone. I’m not mad about it, but it’s interesting to see how easily the world erases aspects of her heritage. Just something to think about.

As a whole the film appeals most earnestly to the hopeless romantic. Let’s be clear, these women kick ass, but the story is so much bigger than a woman hero on a plight to save the world. Diana is a woman that is true to self and fully actualized. I think it would also be interesting to unpack the way a woman navigates herself when she comes from a world that is matriarchal as opposed to the patriarchal societies that govern most cultural societies. She is bold, forthright, and unapologetic in her quest to be herself, completely. The only way we save the world is through love.

#XD30-one-Dear Thirty

Dear Thirty,

Here we are, face to face. In all of my dreams I’d never thought we would meet this way. You have always been seen as something foreign, to me. A year and experience that would both be life altering and staggering. By the time I turned twenty five I had enough foresight to see that fear rested in thirty. I had remnants of the same fright at twenty five then twenty six and twenty eight. Feelings of unworthiness, disappointment, and loneliness.

I was relieved when you brought me something different. I spent a week joking about age and how being a year older, thirty, changed everything for the worse, but in all honesty I feel the opposite. There is power in you. Like, a spark that’s been ignited that in so many ways has been the erasure of anything that may have come before. I feel invincible.

My twenties were all about the idea of finding me. From all of the hair experiences to wearing make up and being gay- navigating gay friends and gay culture in Virginia, to unreal romantic experiences and all the responsibilities that come with learning to be an adult.

I have literally spent thirty years learning to be myself. When you look at it that way it is easy to see how thirty is just the beginning. There was so much time spent pretending to be someone else, living for so many other people, to the point that I am ready to cement myself in you. I know who I am and who I want to be and you, dear thirty, are the catalyst to such a greater experience.

I received an email yesterday confirming that I am an official graduate of Norfolk State University and in that moment I realized just how successful I have become. It took me eleven years to graduate from college. I started in 2006. To see that dream deferred, complete, is enlightening. Also, it is so telling of life’s experiences. You really are the new twenty. You come with a new set of challenges; operating on discipline, facing mortality, and cleaning up all those petty insecurities that still lie within me. However, you are a shield to it all.

You give me the next few years to be free. You are the experience that we all spent all of our lives waiting for, freedom. There is no more noise or cloudiness. I can do whatever I want.

DAY 11: A Song that you NEVER get Tired of

These are harder than I thought they would be! This one is really tough because there are so many songs that I love and they never get old to me. I wanted to go with the first song that comes to my head, but then again, I also want to choose music that will be impactful and make others feel the same.

The first time I heard Mariah Carey I had to have died a little bit. I don’t know why or how I even relate so much to who she is, vocally, but I say it all the time, the first dream I ever had was to sing backup for Mariah Carey. Like, I’m pretty sure I was still high school  trying to actualize this dream! I knew the lyrics, I have the hand gestures down, and back in high school I could easily belt out one of her infamous whistles. You couldn’t tell me nothing!

Anyway, this song always shows up when I shuffle my apple music, each time I scream at the top of my lungs trying to hit the whistle sequence at the end. If I’m good and warm, on a good day, I can hit a few.

Lawrence Sharp, in memory…

The first show I ever did at Norfolk State University was Fences, by August Wilson. That is where I met Lawrence Sharp. From the very beginning, I can remember becoming completely encapsulated by his tender approach. His style, in acting and character was vastly different, so much so that I’ve only seen it, or experienced it with a few people. At NSU it was Lawrence, and then later in Ricky Flowers. Lawrence had enormous intellect and imagination. He was overwhelmingly considerate in his love for developing character, what he needed (his character) to say and to achieve to become actualized.

I was cast as Uncle Gabe, thinking back I notice how green I was and so obsessive with ego. Lawrence was cast in the lead role of Troy. You know, one of the reasons Lawrence became so significant, instrumental even, to me, is because of his “type”. You see, our Director, Dr. Murray, God rest his soul, was the king of double casting. And, that’s the reason I know so much of my early experiences were based in ego, because I was super excited to be one of the only actors, I think me and Anthyla, cast singularly, without a counterpart. But, listen! So, Lawrence was cast opposite Delvin Young. They were so different. Delvin was tall and athletic, handsome and charming; while Lawrence was shorter. His body more stock-ish and his spirit quiet.

When it comes to being double casted it feels like there is so much to overcome, at least there was for us at Norfolk State, under the competition that Doc loved to create. This is a lesson I would learn later, but you are faced with considering the character, the world of the person you are longing to create as an artistic expressionist, then you have to juggle the weight of the character Doc wants you to create, which at times feels like an anchor harnessed and bolted to your chest, thrown into the ocean; and, on top of all of that, you have to deal with your own insecurity, the feelings that come with having to sit and watch someone else creating the same character, and everyone else’s reaction to it. It’s a lot.

Then, there is Lawrence. I never saw him waiver. He was bold in the choices he made and when challenged as Doc’s ubermarionette, (super puppet) Lawrence would stick to his guns. He knew the weight of his own talent, the vision that he carried, and his ability to be greater, against it all. Whether he would perform one night or seven because of it did not matter. Lawrence was an actor. And, bigger than that he was an artist and that boy could paint a picture. It was a privilege to see him on stage because he was transformative. I get chills thinking about an audition piece I saw him do.

Here we are, so many years later. It is almost hard to believe that this was back in 2006. I’ve kept in contact with Lawrence over the years, not nearly as much as I’d liked to or even as much as I should have, in many ways that’s always the lesson of death. Anytime we spoke, mostly through Facebook or email, he was always so encouraging and compassionate. He was a believer in dreams, and if you had a dream and shared it with Lawrence, you know that he would believe in you, and share just a small part of your dream, relentlessly. Finding out about his passing left me stunned. I didn’t expect it, and my immediate reaction was to almost just look past it. By no means was I the closest person in the world to Lawrence, but he was deserving of so much more than just that. I compelled myself to take a moment and to experience this grief, and because we were not “best friends” my human inclination was to question the grief that began to fall upon me. I texted a few NSU Players that day, but Khalid put it to me best. I said, “I’m starting to feel bothered by this and I don’t know why.” With which he replied, “You knew him and you respected him.”

That hit me hard. I feel like if you knew Lawrence then you respected him and as tough as it can be to grieve the loss of those we love, try to hold onto the small part, that little piece of your dream, a goal, or moment that you shared with him, and remember his response to it.

I’m holding onto all the encouragement, belief and wisdom you shared with me Lawrence and I will let that drive me forward and I can’t wait to share in that moment of success with you.

After Sunday: 10/23/16

Sometimes I listen back to the podcast and I cringe. There were so many moments, in this episode, where I felt as if I had no clue how to articulate just exactly what was on my mind. And, I do believe, that’s the beauty of this After Sunday series.

We started this weeks episode with an announcement, that low-key, went seemingly unnoticed. Perhaps it was just that natural, but LUHRAY is the official co-host of The Sunday Afternoon podcast. I’m thrilled for many reasons. Not just because we have known each other for the most of our lives, or because when I first had the idea to go in and start a podcast I wanted to do it with her, but more than anything, because we gel so well together! I believe ours is a relationship that will grow both of us, the show, and our brands, collectively and independently. There is so much work to do, but I truly am excited to move forward into all that is to come.

Also, I wanted to flush out a bit more of the conversation we had about my father and his birthday. You can check out the backstory on our relationship, here. I think that Laure’s advice was deeply insightful, to just be, and invite the man to do things that we can both appreciate, together. I won’t lie, it won’t be the easiest thing in the world, for me. However, it really changes my perspective and takes the pressure off of trying to repair a relationship and just foster a space to build with the man.

In many ways, thats the exact same sentiment we have to take with relationships in general. Getting rid of all the pressure and just learning to be with people and communicating with them. More openly and more honestly. That’s the challenge of adulting. At least as I know it to be.

The idea of support is pertinent to me. When you think about you dreams and your goals there is no way you can consider them coming to fruition without some semblance of support. The topic was liking and lurking. Which one are you? I’ve spent a lot of time considering my vantage point and changing my mindset when it comes to an assessment of social media. It’s hard y’all, because we spend so much time in our own heads consistently evaluating the way in which other people perceive us. I can save you some trouble, it leads to nowhere. Chin up and check out this episode.

We’ll definitely see you Sunday. Oh, and I have a few tricks up my sleeves!