Get The “F” Back Up!!!

Success in anything isn’t all about talent. It’s not even all about networking. Certainly it’s not about luck since I don’t believe in any form of luck – good or bad.

The formula for success is an intangible formula to calculate. All the “gurus” always have some answer in “three easy steps” and always for “$249” or something like that – eeh, pahleeze don’t believe the hype!   The formula is different for everyone – no one has the answer for your journey except YOU!

But the one thing that I am sure of, without a doubt, is that success is all about perseverance.  And what does that exactly mean?  It means that every time you fail, every time you fall, every time you get kicked, every time you see no hope, you find a way to get back up and try again.  Dust yourself off or don’t dust yourself off, but get the fudge back up and try again.  Never let anything stop the path you’re on.  It’s your journey. Your dream.  Your life.   Make sure you notice the signs along the way, because you’ll learn something valuable. Pay attention so you don’t accidentally veer off course or go the wrong way, but never give up.  Never ever give up.  And always know, yes, you have it in you to succeed.  We all do.  It’s the beauty of the human spirit.  We’re always trying to know more, do more, be more….  It’s who we are.  And that means, YOU too!

So… No excuses!  Figure it out and keep on keepin’ on!

Freezing in NH! "Persevering" to get my booty back to Cali!

Freezing in NH! “Persevering” to get my booty back to Cali!

My Sadness, My Regret, My Pain. And Love.

Today was tough.

My God Mother died today.

To put this in perspective, my God-mother and God-father (who died years before) basically took me in when my mother, my only parent, died.  Although most would hear the stories of my childhood and think, “oh, how sad and painful…”.  When I think of my childhood, I feel fortunate to have experienced such beauty of the human spirit many times over.   I certainly have been blessed.

Mr. & Mrs. Martin.  My God Parents

They didn’t know my mother. We weren’t neighbors.  They didn’t work near or in the same place as my mom, but, somehow, the Martins cared about me. A lot.

I was friends with their twin daughters in school.  Jo-Ann and Mary.  And how the friendship started still brings me to tears today… it was before my mother died – the third grade.  I never had a decent lunch mostly because I was a latch key kid and we were poor. Don’t get me wrong, my mother did the best she could, but sometimes I went without.  And Mary and Jo-Ann – well, they always had the best lunches.  And they would share with me – half a sandwich here, a cookie or chips there. Eventually they’d just bring me a whole separate lunch.  I’ll never forget that.

You hear about kids who bully other kids all the time nowadays. And I always listen and think how…it just never happened to me.  You hear these horrible stories of children hating other children for being different.  And I was certainly different.  But these girls, they didn’t care.  If anything they went out of their way to protect me.  To call me “sister”, to call me friend. Let me just say, they were (and are) spectacular kids and along with their older sister Patty-Ann, are the best people I’ve ever known. In. My. Life.

The apples truly don’t fall far from the tree.

And when my mother died and I was lost in the system and left, at points,  to my own devices – it was Mr. and Mrs. Martin who stepped in and did their part to walk me through this thing called life….  Even when I made mistakes – and goodness knows I made many — they loved me anyways.  I was part of the family.  I was loved.

When I was in high school, I asked Mr. & Mrs. Martin to be my Godparents.  None of us are crazy religious, but I wanted so badly to fulfill something my mother never had the chance to do. And I wanted to honor the Martins.  And when I asked, there was no hesitation at all. Not a question.  Of course, they’d be my God-Parents.

What most people don’t know – is that they went farther in their support of me.  Don’t get me wrong, everything they did was beautiful and enormous enough.  Goodness knows they went out of their way to make me feel part of the family.  But when I wanted to go to college and didn’t have the money to do it and all my scholarships and funding was depleted, it was the Martins, who co-signed loans for me to continue on and get my degree.  I don’t know why that hit me today like a ton of bricks – but it mattered.  Maybe because we all talk a good game about wanting to help someone less fortunate, but at the end of the day, would we really co-sign a loan for a non-family member who may or may not succeed?  Would we really invest and be responsible for such a quantity of money for a non-blood-related relative?  Most of us wouldn’t do it…  but they loved me and believed in me so much.. when I asked for help, again, it wasn’t a problem.  No hesitation. They signed and I finished college and got my bachelors.  Ain’t that something quite beautiful?

I’m heart-broken today. And I can’t stop crying. My face is stained with tears.

But intermittently I’m crying tears of joy. How lucky I’ve been to have been loved by such wonderful people.

And here’s the thing. The best part of the story:  the Martins, these beautiful people, helped so many.  I’m just one person whose life they changed and made better.  There are so many people whose lives transformed because the Martins went out of their way to help.   And they did it just as powerfully, and just as beautifully, as they changed mine.

I’m not sure I ever expressed enough how much I appreciated what they did for me. I hope I can be one tenth of the person they were in helping the world be a better place – by loving, by caring, by touching even just one person’s life.  What an amazing presence on the planet they were…

I love you so much Mrs. Martin.  I love you both.  Thank you for everything. And enjoy the dance…

Best Tina Fey Line – Golden Globes 2015

“George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin this year. Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case; was an adviser to Kofi Annan regarding Syria; and was selected for a three-person U.N. commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip. So tonight… her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.” —TINA FEY, at the Golden Globes ‪#‎BRILLIANT‬! ‪#‎GENIUS‬!

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Journal Entry – This Older Black Lady

6:55am Thursday

It’s 39 degrees in Beverly Hills this morning.

I just wrote on Twitter how freakishly cold it is for Los Angeles.

The New YeaNext Doorr is starting out with a BANG!  Starting fresh and new? I’m not so sure.  I want it to be a special morning, a bright beginning to the most productive and life changing year but. . .

Maybe part of me is afraid that it’s going to be just like every other year.  The earth has made one trip around the sun (or something like that, right?) and it’s starting to do it again – I’d like to think that next year I’d be able to say I’ve done something profound. Brilliant. Memorable. Magnificent. Profitable. Unique. Beautiful?

The one thing I am positive about – that I will no longer do – is visit Facebook so much. I finally took it completely off my phone (no easy task by the way).  I’m not deleting it out of my life completely by any means, I do see the value in it, but SERIOUSLY – I found myself most times just reading and reacting to useless information. Being on Facebook didn’t enrich my life it made me feel worse most days because it just seems like everyone else’s lives are thriving and dazzling.  Everyone seems to be skipping along in life having no problems at all.  I admit, I’d become super jealous. It made me feel inadequate – like I haven’t been doing enough.  I’m human. Shoot me.  So, for the past few weeks I’ve only allowed myself to touch base once a day (if even).  And actually, it’s been amazing!  I’m shocked at how much more time I have throughout the day.  And I’m not comparing my life to other people’s lives – I mean, in the past, I’d be perplexed by why I didn’t find my trip to Starbucks as amazing and inspirational as my Facebook friend did.  I know! It sounds like a no brainer, even childish, but until I “unplugged” if you will, I had NO IDEA how much time I was wasting.  Literally.  And oh, how much better I feel!  So, that’s one goal that’s a definite.  Done actually.

My other goals are pretty much exactly the same.  Every year.  Bums me out to keep sharing them, to keep writing them. I wish I knew how to change the tide.  Guest starring roles on major TV shows, powerful movie role with a prominent well acclaimed director, cover of Glamour Magazine and Runner’s World (yes, it has to be both – I dream big), move back to my beautiful neighborhood that I love, quit my “day” job, publish my book (and be a NY Times best seller), travel to Scotland, meet my best friend and partner in life…  See?  Same ‘ole, same ‘ole.

I have no idea how it’s going to happen, but that’s what I want.  Still want.  Will continue to pursue. Period.

I know how arrogant I sound.  I have this solid belief – as I always have – that all this will happen.  Can happen.  Should have already happened actually.  It’s a knowing.  An “is-ness” if you will.  I’ve known this my entire life.  And ironically, on things I know, I’m never wrong.  But goodness it’s taking a mighty long, long time to manifest!  Clearly I’m doing something wrong.  And my frustration is in figuring it out. And in trying to do the work. Over and over again.  No matter how many times I fail, fall (same thing), I get back up and try again.  Hopefully smarter or at least numb-er.

If I’m really honest, I know I’ve tried my heart out.  I’ve attempted many things, and I find myself some days just asking God to take all these wants and desires out of my being.  If my goal in life is to be a bookkeeper – than let me be the best mutherf’n bookkeeper there is!  Let me love it, let me own it, let me enjoy it. But nope.  Don’t get me wrong, I am the best mutherf’n bookkeeper there is, but I hate it, I don’t want to do it and I don’t own it at all. If I had money right now, any money at all, I’d quit all my hateful work and focus ONLY on my art.  But everyone wants that, right?  Everyone would do the same.  So again – arrogance!  I apologize!

The point is I have tried doing all the things I know how to do to get to where it is I want to be – I’ve even gone out on a limb and done some things that were just outright silly or stupid and still, nothing comes to fruition.  I get disappointed more days than not. I get discouraged – and although I find it harder and harder to get myself back up, I always do. I shake it off and continue on the journey.

Continue down the path no matter how hard or long I need to go. . .

Continue down the path no matter how hard or long I need to go. . .

I keep thinking of this psychic woman I met many years ago when I first landed in Los Angeles.  It was 1994. I was working as a receptionist at this hair salon and the woman across from me, who was getting her hair done, came over to me and told me she needed to tell me what she was “seeing in my aura” –  she was a psychic after-all.   I remember laughing just a bit – but kindly – and she proceeded to tell me that I had all the ingredients to bake the cake, but that I needed someone to show me how to put it all together.  She mentioned that this person would be an older Black lady and that it would all happen much later on in life.  She seemed sad to tell me this.  Troubled even.  I could see the tears well up in her eyes.  She quickly changed subjects and said I would also have three kids.   And her whole face seemed to light up.  “And you will be happy.  And it will all be worth it. You’ll see.”

To this day, I can see this woman’s face as clear as day in my memory.  I think 99.9% of psychics and people who follow horoscopes, birth signs and all that jazz are pretty much charlatans. It may be fun and give you a sense of hope and good feeling, but I just don’t really believe any of it.  But I’m also someone who knows I don’t completely understand how the universe works, so I’m open to the possibilities.  This woman stuck with me all these years. She wasn’t selling anything, she didn’t charge me, she just felt the need to share something with me she was feeling. And in some way shape or form, that kinda made it more authentic.  More telling.  So did I accidentally or subconsciously follow this pattern?  I mean, clearly I don’t have three kids – and anyone who knows me understands I love kids precisely because I don’t have them – no brainer there – but what about the rest of it?  And goodness knows I could still end up with three kids – she said I would “have” three kids, not bare them – I’d adopt easily.  So, is it possible she predicted my life correctly? I mean why has it taken me so long to get to where I’m going?  Why haven’t I figured it all out yet?  And where is this older Black lady already????  Hahahahaha!

Of all the things I truly hold onto from that reading is “…and it will all be worth it, you’ll see.”

The truth is I’m much happier today than I’ve ever been.  I work part-time from home and make ends meet fairly easily.  Surely I’ve cut back a lot, but goodness. I make an okay living and have the freedom to do whatever I want – well, mostly – and I’m not pained by anything in life but finding my way towards my goals. I worked really hard to get here and gave up a lot, but I know most people would kill to be in my position.  I get that. So, in that sense, I’m grateful.

As far as my career goes, I’ve done some good stuff as an actor.  I’m not just a good actor, I’m actually better than just good.  I have the potential for greatness.  And it took me being on stage night after night to realize that for myself.  Validation.  And I still love performing. I love everything that goes along with it – there’s no question about getting back there solidly.  It’s a craving that just won’t end no matter what I feed it.  So I’ll keep hustling for a better break, but in the meantime…I’ll do what I can to keep nurturing that hunger.

I wrote a book – a manuscript – and this past year – yes, in 2014, I had two publishers interested.  One wanted to buy my story for $3K (what?).  Uhm, I’m not saying my story is worth more than $3K, but you know what?  Yeah it is!  What the hell! And the second publisher – well, we were close to signing, but they are a start-up and at the end of the day it just didn’t feel right.  Oh well. I don’t regret my decision but it was a bummer.  My book, my piece of art, is like a baby to me – I’m happy to let it go and put it into someone else’s hands, but only under the right circumstances and only if they prove they are responsible enough to handle it (Ha! Maybe that’s one of  the “children” the psychic was talking about? Clever!).

Being on the cover of Glamour and Runner’s World?  Ha!  Yeah, I just added those goals in for flavor.  Can’t help it. In my perfect world the idea of a woman in her uhem, 40’s (yes, I admit it!), to be seen as beautiful – especially with my mug – and also seen as a runner would be pure goal to me!  I do still run.  It’s harder for sure, but it feels better than I remember.  Weirdly, I feel prettier than I ever have – surely my boobs are a little less perky than I’d like, and the wrinkles on my face are a little more visible, but somehow, I still walk into the gym like I own that 20 year old ass!  Ain’t no shame in it. And yeah, I still think I could grace the cover of Glamour and Runner’s World, no problem.

So, what the hell is all that about?

Denial?   Naah, Wisdom!

It really is Wisdom.

I realize that for all my faults, all my disappointments, I am still in the best place I can be today.  I wake every morning with purpose, with dreams, with goals and nothing seems to shake that.  Not psychic predictions, not rejections, not disappointments, not sagging skin or a slower pace on the treadmill.  I still got my eye on the prize.  And that prize is all about being happy.  Staying joyful.  Yes, being a successful actor, a published author and maybe even some sort of cover girl, may be goals I’ve set for myself, but the truth is, the overall umbrella goal has already been achieved.  The bigger picture is clear – the FOREST for the trees: and my forest is happiness.  The trees are just individual possibilities along the way.

So, in 2015, I’ll keep looking for that right agent who might help me get that movie role or TV show. I’ll keep doing what theater comes my way or audition for student films if that’s all I get because at the end of the day, I do love the ART of it all and doing it any way I can nourishes my soul.  And I’ll keep looking for the right publishing house to publish my book.  And if not, then maybe I’ll consider something else for my beautiful book CANELA – Getting rid of my bookkeeping “job”, moving back to my old neighborhood – all technicalities.  No big whoop.  The great thing about living in these amazing times is that there are so many options! So many possibilities.  And yes, I am so grateful!

Oh, and this elusive life partner perfect man I said I wanted…. Uhm, I can honestly say that I’m not looking for it at all.  Again, I threw that in for flavor – like Glamour and Runner’s World.  It’d be icing on the cake for sure!  I love the idea of the perfect guy (perfect being relative of course).  But I think it’s something that happens naturally and without force – or at least it should.  And I’m not ready for it anyways, I’ve got too much more to do.  Maybe in 2015 instead of a life partner, maybe I’ll revise and say, I’d like a travel partner instead?  Yeah, that sounds so much better!!!  Traveling to Scotland to film a movie,  that he’s directing while doing a photo shoot for Glamour and then running off to my book signing… Why not?  See…it’s all doable!

Now, if I could just find that older Black lady already we could get a move on…

Aah, I feel so much better. And I’m totally in love with 2015, I’m ready. Bring it!

Sweet day, Sweet year,

Carm~