Getting It Done

I hate using the word “procrastination” because it has such a negative tone to it. Truth is, some of my best work is done when the tic-toc of the clock is closing in.  I know quite a few people who also function this way, successfully too! 

However, it’s not my favorite way to work. Not at all. I tend to be a very organized, “To Do List” kind of person. I love scratching off an item on my list and moving on to what’s next.  But sometimes there are items that just feel so big or torturous that I just don’t want to do them – that’s where procrastination plays a role. 

The things I don’t care about at all, are the things that get pushed aside in the wake of the things I love to do and want to do.  I’ve decided not to be too cruel to myself about it anymore and instead embrace the idea that I’ve mastered the art of procrastination.  That can be a new skill after-all. Why not?

Beating ourselves up for not always doing things the “right” way, tends to just make matters worse. Negativity isn’t going to make you work any faster or better! Instead, find a way to embrace what you may see as “faults” in your way of functioning and see if you can’t make what seems to be lemons, into lemonade! 

I procrastinate. It’s just the way I get some things I hate to do, done. Getting it done, is all that matters.

🙂

What’s Wrong With Me? Bucket List

 

20190124_160919In the past two weeks I found myself catching up, in one way or another, with old friends/acquaintances. Some are old work-related contacts, others friends from long ago —  with one contact it was as if no time had passed on by at all – we just picked up where we left off.  With another “friend” I remembered instantaneously WHY I stopped talking to that particular person within 5 minutes! Oy!

Of course, this promoted me to look at old pics.  As it always happens, I ended up going down a rabbit hole of pics and found a few… my last marathon 2004 for example… 

 

Runnersbefore

 

I think I want to run the LA Marathon next year.  WHAT?  This is what I get for looking at old pics!  Oh no…

I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about it. I’ve completed three full marathons — but they were in San Diego — and the LA Marathon has been on my mind for a long time.  Of course, if I was real serious, I’d try to qualify for the Boston Marathon, since it’s my hometown. But, uhem, baby steps…  I’m shocked I’m thinking about this at all!   

I’m hesitant because in 2017 I participated in a Tough Mudder with my fabulous work-out group and nearly died!  Look at my face in this pic — it kinda says it all — this is ME trying to get over a wall: 

 

51089679_race_0.7186450649885151.display

 

Below is a great pic BEFORE we hit the track of mud. We didn’t take a group pic after, but actually, we were all pretty happy and it was a great time — but the scars, scratches, bruising… it was weeks of recovery for me. Just not my kinda thing, but glad I tried it!  Again, crossed off my bucket list FOREVER!  

 

Tough Mudder Love 03.25.17 (2)

 

Granted, running and doing an obstacle course are very different things, but running 26.2 miles is still RUNNING 26.2 miles.  Unfortunately, nowadays, I call a “long run” any time I run to the beach and that’s just a mere 6 miles at best — and only if I actually run back!  Ugghh.  But…  there’s something in me that thinks I can do this again.  I should do this!   

It’s funny. I have so many things on my Bucket List.  I crossed this one off three times already and yet, I still feel like it’s not finished yet.  What is wrong with me?  

I’m positive I’ll NEVER do a Tough Mudder again.  It’s just not my thing. But for some reason I’m itching to finish another marathon.  Maybe I’m posting this so someone will talk me out of it?  I hope so.  

You have at least 4 months to talk me out of it. I’ll have to start heavily training by then.  The next LA Marathon is March 8th, 2020.  I just tried to register but it’s not open yet… is that a sign NOT do it? Hmmmm. 

 

 

I’ll thank you in advance for talking me out of it. Maybe you have another thrill seeking, accomplishing, kinda crazy thing I can do instead?  Lay it on me.  I’d love to hear what’s on your bucket list…  

Happy Sweet Day!  

Carmen 

 

 

 

Old List, New List

I kinda wish 2018 wasn’t over.  I feel like so much is unfinished…

Here’s the list I wrote at the end of 2017:

Michael Roud Photo Shoot 2018
  • Visit home (Boston) for a couple of weeks.
  • Finalize the Book Canela, get published before end of 2018.
  • Clean out my storage area / donate everything.
  • Meet 10 new people who are extraordinary.
  • Rid myself of the 5 toxic people – kindly.
  • Stop “facebooking”.
  • Connect with like-minded creative folk and be inspired.
  • Buy a new car.
  • Find a new apartment / quieter, still close to the beach.
  • See a movie a month at least.
  • Read a book a month at least.

Every year I write a list of at least 10 things I’d like to do, but no more than 20.  All of them tangible and possible.  Here’s how it all panned out:

Visit home

After my book was published in June, I visited most everyone in the book and spent a lot of alone time in my home town of Boston.  It was magical, emotional, inspiring!  I had only been “home” for brief moments over the past 20 years since I moved to Lost Angeles. I’d visit for a funeral or a wedding. Just quick weekend trips where I only saw the airport, freeway, and/or a church. But this past year, I was home for a while.  I got lost in my own neighborhood – that’s how long it’d been and that’s how much things had changed in the city I grew up in.  I saw old friends and fell in love with my childhood all over again.  I saw how far I’d come and I realized how much I loved Boston, but missed Los Angeles. It really was beautiful.  Maybe my favorite part of 2018.  

City of Boston at Night - Taken at the top of the Prudential Building in August 2018 on a clear evening. The glass and lights give it an eery feel.

My Book Canela

I’ve written so much about publishing this book – but let me say this again: if you have the want, the desire to write your story (because everyone has a story to tell) please, do it!  For me, it was cathartic and life learning at every level. The process of writing is one part, editing another – what I didn’t realize was that AFTER you publish it, well…. maybe it’s just me… but this part has been just as incredible and teaching as well. It has changed my life and the way I view it.  Creatively I’ve changed. How I view people’s importance in my life has changed.  And the book has become a very central part of my every-day life in ways I’m just starting to understand.  Tell your story. Preach your story. The world will be a better place because of it.    

Clean out Storage

Done and done.  We all have that STUFF we keep “just in case” we need it.  Uhm, I got rid of all of it.  Period. Just a housekeeping item that I had put off for too many years so… done. 

Meet New People

I met more than 10 extraordinary people in 2018. My point in writing this in my list (I write it every year by the way) is because I think when you meet new people, you have the opportunity to grow and learn and be “better than you used to be”. If you are constantly around the same people all the time, well…. that’s cool. But for me, it can become pretty stagnant.  Here’s the cool thing about the people I met this past year:  I met so many of them because of my book!!!   Yes!  I have done no publicity, no advertising, just giving it out to friends and yet, others have read it and reached out and it’s been amazing!   I ‘ve learned so much and am excited to get to know these people even more over the next years. 

Rid Toxic People

We all have people in our lives we wish we didn’t have to interact with.  And for most people I get this is a hard thing to do.  For me, eeeh, it’s pretty easy. I’m really great at walking away from people when they are toxic.  Even if I have to work with them or be around them for some reason (creatively). I have a pretty tough barrier that keeps them at distance.  It’s a skill I developed growing up the way I did.  You know “bad” people right away and learn to always keep them at arms-length, while still “dealing” with them as best you can.  This past year I had 3 people I definitely wanted OUT of my life, but there were 2 others I was hoping to also end the “pretend” friendships with. That happened earlier this year.  Wow.  Clearly a great thing!  Rid yourself of people who do NOT lift you up or make you a better person. Seriously, it’s the best thing you can do for your health! 

Stop “Facebooking”

Well, this I could have done better for sure. I do not have messenger and I am not on there often.  I also have Instagram and eeeh, use it sparingly.  I’m a huge fan of Twitter though so I’m not sure any of these are better than the other.  But all are a part of our daily lives now – whether we use them or not.  But the point is to get better at NOT being on social media so much and I’ve accomplished that.  I think social media is finding its equilibrium in our lives in that it’s not a constant way of “talking” to each other.  Many times this year I went out to dinner or was hanging with a friend at the beach and missed so many calls and texts. And it’s simply because I’ve learned to turn off that ring/sound and just enjoy my time with the person I’m with.  It seems like things are calming down for all of us on social media.  Maybe we’re all learning that there really is something to actually (physically), talking to each other and enjoying REAL time with one another.  Maybe.

Connect with Creative People

I found a few groups on MeetUp.com and got inspired for sure.  WritersBlok was a great place to go and finish up the last edits of my book.  I’m really glad I found it.  I also had lunch with up and coming Directors this year, met with other writers, had dinner with a few musicians.  I met with dancers and graphic designers, actors…  being around creative people fuels me and I made an effort this past year to be around those people more often than not!  So glad I did. I’m a better person for it! 

Movies and Books

I did much better this year with Movies and Books but there’s still room for improvement. The movie that surprised me most was clearly Black Panther.  I’m a huge fan of all action movies (Marvel and DC) but Black Panther stunned me. It’s not what I expected at all and I loved it. I loved it when I saw it alone, then again with a few friends, but my favorite was watching it with my 10 year old God-Daughter who’s take on it was exactly how we all want the world to be! 

Black Panther viewing with Julie

Another favorite movie this year was definitely Mary Poppins Returns!  Loved it, loved everything about it. And can I just say, Lin-Manuel Miranda?  I think we’re in the midst of genius with this lovely talented man…I’d love to work with him.  Hmmm. 

As far as Books are concerned, I’m a slow reader and if a book doesn’t grab my attention or is too difficult, I just put it down. It bums me out. I didn’t finish four books this year to make my goal complete, but I did start them…that counts, right?  Ughh. *insert big cheesy half smile emoji here*

In 2019, I’d like to think I have a list as long as former President Barack Obama’s. I’m not sure I’m as interested in his entire list of books, but I’d like to think I’d read as much to even have such a list. #Goals.

Things I didn’t accomplish:

I didn’t buy a new car – and I guess I really don’t need one.  So, you know, there’s that.  I also didn’t move out of my current apartment.  That may still happen next year.  I love my apartment and it’s close enough to the beach (3 miles) but I hate my neighbor upstairs. She has a great kid but it’s just loud all the time. When I was a little girl and lived in an apartment with my mom, we were never allowed to run and jump in the house.  You just didn’t do it.  You were taught to have respect and consideration for the neighbors that lived next to you and below you. If you wanted to run, you went outside.  But not these people. It’s incredible. I don’t blame the little girl. It’s her parents. They are inconsiderate and…goodness, it’s a one bedroom.  They run up there, always have too many guests – every day.  And it’s just incredibly loud and not a great place to live if you like quiet and need to write, to work, to just be. So, it’s still a goal. But, seriously, I keep thinking:  First. World. Problems. Hmmm.   

More Time

Well, if I had more time I guess I’d finish the books I didn’t complete and maybe I’d… 

No, it’s all good. I had enough time for all the things that matter. 2018 is almost over and it’s been a good year personally after-all. There were some missteps along the way, but nothing too damaging or unfamiliar to move through. 

Actually 2018 started out with my sweet sister (Jo-ann) from Boston visiting me in January for my birthday.

The year ended with me hanging out at Christmas time with one of the guys – also from Boston— who helped me go to college (Scot in the book). 

And in-between it all I became an author, traveled, got inspired, did a GREAT photo shoot (with Michael Roud!), saw so many of my dear friends, met new people from all over the world (shout out to Jean-Claude in Luxembourg) and really accomplished so much more than I realized!

Okay 2018. Actually I’m ready to move on. Bring it! I’m starting my 2019 list right now.  🙂

Happy sweet New Year to all of you!  We got this! 

Carmen 

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~