How to Let It Go

“Let it go”.  Such a cliché line.

Letting anything go is not easy. Generally we hold onto things because we’ve been hurt or there’s been an injustice.  There could be a lot of reasons, but the real reason we can’t easily let things go is simply because we haven’t taken responsibility for our own actions in the situation.

I know that stings a bit. But let me explain with a few real life examples:

First, a Personal example: 

I had been dating this guy for a while when I first caught him in a lie.   I forgave him and we went on.  Then he lied again. But I was in love with him. I wanted to make things work.  Everyone who knew him talked about how brilliant we were together and that he was such a good man.  Then he cheated on me.  I dumped him.

But not until three years after the first lie.  

For the longest time I couldn’t let it go.  I was hurt, angry and felt like I had been manipulated.  And then one day I realized I wasn’t mad at him as much as I was mad at myself.  How could I not see so clearly that he had no respect for me?  And did I honestly believe THAT was the first time he cheated on me?  Of course not.  I was mad at myself.  I was angry with not “getting it” earlier.   But once I accepted responsibility for my own actions, or lack thereof, in the situation, I was truly able to let all thoughts and feelings of this person go… in effect, actually, let it go.

Now please, don’t misunderstand – acknowledging your role in the circumstance doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.  Clearly, I wasn’t the one who cheated.  But, when we know better, we do better (paraphrasing the great Maya Angelou here).  And acknowledging my role in allowing this man to be a part of my life when he had no respect for me from the beginning…well, that’s on me.  Maybe I could have forgiven him the first time – but three times? Three years?  Now I know better.

Here’s another example from the Business point of view:

I was working with a group of people on a huge project – we were a team.  And every morning we would discuss the plan for the day and how we would accomplish the goals that we had set with our clients.  Various times I would come up with an idea and later in the day this other woman who was playing “team leader” would take all the credit for MY idea when we would present our end-of-day analysis to our boss.

At first I tried to blow it off and tell myself that it didn’t matter, it was a team effort.  But she continued to do it.  And she did it so brazenly that it kept me up at nights – I couldn’t sleep.  Other people in the group kept telling me to let it go and honestly, that just made the angst in my chest worse.  Finally, I realized that if I wanted her to stop taking credit for everything, I needed to take responsibility and let her know how I felt.  The next day, I confronted her professionally at the morning meeting with a list of all the ideas she kept taking credit for that I felt was inappropriate.  I listed all the specific ideas that belonged to other people, myself included.   And I told her, that it was creating an uncomfortable environment for me – either we were a team and it was a team effort, or it wasn’t. And then I reminded her that she couldn’t do this herself.

Little by little other members chimed in as well showing support for my conclusion.  She was voted out as “team leader” and I was put in her place.  From that day forward, credit was given to the team. And if one individual soared above all others in some specific thing that changed the course of the project in a positive way, special credit was always allotted to that person, not to the team leader.

Yeah, I slept beautifully after that. Dealing with a situation makes it real easy to actually let it go

Even with Death, it takes work to actually be able to let someone go 

One of my dearest friends, died three years ago. Honestly, I’ve been having a hard time of it since he was found in his bed. He had died in sleep and had been there for about 5 days.  For whatever reason, after two memorials, spending time with his family and friends, I still couldn’t stop thinking about him.  It wasn’t a sorrow of loss, but something else.  Something wasn’t sitting right with me.  Again, people kept telling me that I just had to let him go.  And the more I kept hearing that phrase, the more I realized that it meant absolutely nothing…  You can’t let someone or something go when you still have something to say or do.

So I sat down and wrote my friend a letter.  A long letter. And I realized pretty quickly, I was angry with him. Pissed actually.  Surely, I missed him, but we had had some plans, some unfinished business and…  I needed to say it all. Angrily. Sadly. And then, I found myself smiling, laughing even.  Ultimately, I realized it wasn’t his fault I was missing him.  His death was such a shock – and it was unfair to lose someone so young and so healthy.  I had to acknowledge that before I could let my dear friend rest in peace…  and finally, for real, let him go….

So how do you actually LET IT GO?

By figuring out the problem. The real problem.  By answering the question as to WHY you have such angst. AND using a very proactive approach to stop feeling the way you’re feeling.  Look at the problem from a different point of view – and then taking responsibility for it.  Letting it go isn’t about ignoring the issue or expecting Time to magically fix it.  It’s about figuring out the problem and then doing the work to ease your own pain. Once you heal, it’ll be easy to move on through the situation.

Some Carmen-ism Tips: 

  • Try not to use the cliché line let it go when trying to comfort someone. It might make YOU (the consoler) feel better, but it never really helps the person in the predicament in the long run.  I know AA folk and religious folk like to say “Let go and Let God” a variation of the same thing that is always brought up when I start this topic of conversation.   Again it may sound good and come from a good place, but sometimes God needs us to use the brains we were given to get through a problem.  “Let go and Let God” sounds nice, but rarely ever works and rarely ever helps on its own.
  • If you have a feeling of angst, or something that you can’t just let go of because you know someone has done you wrong – then do some self-reflecting. And what I mean by that is, as hard as it may be, try to see what your role was in the event.  Look at it from that new perspective. Remember, knowing your role or accepting your responsibility in the situation does not mean you are to blame. But it will give you the first tools to really move through the angst regardless if it’s personal or business related  – and maybe you’ll also seeing a silver lining (there’s always a learning moment, even if it’s not easy to see at first).

Once you take responsibility for your role in the situation, then you can choose what to do next.  End a relationship, confront a person about their misgivings, write a letter to let your feelings out or whatever may be an option for you.  Either way, it gives you back some control on how you’re feeling and really is the best way to start the process of healing.

Hope that helps.

Keep on keepin’ on.

Carmen

Remarkble

 

 

 

 

 

Get The “Fudge” 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!

Best. Gift. Ever.

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My six year old God-daughter sent me two birthday cards in the mail. It really is the little things,  the unexpected things, that can make my day, warm my heart.

Best. Gift. Ever.

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~