With A Heavy Heart We Say Farewell to Maya

5.28.2014
When celebrities pass I'm saddened, but it doesn't shake my universe, ya know what I mean? When I learned this morning that Maya Angelou had passed, my heart sank and grief hit instantly. I wasn't fortunate enough to meet or speak to Ms. Angelou in person, but I was able to attend an engagement she had in Liberty, Missouri years ago.

Even then, as a raging, lost young soul I was moved by her presence. She radiated a calm magic...I wept hearing her words then just like I wept last week when I watched her on Oprah's Master Class. She had that effect on me.

Jenn was able to interview her once and after the conversation ended she called me to share all that she had learned. She was fighting for the right words to describe what it was like speaking to such a force. I told her it was like standing in front of the ocean.

I stand by that still...

I don't think I'm done with my tears. I don't think I'm ready to fully accept that she's gone. If reincarnation is true; then that woman had already experienced hundreds of lives. I sadly wonder if there will ever be another like her. The infinite wisdom spread far beyond that of a normal Earthling. Like I said before; she was magic and her soul will be missed.

Home.

5.27.2014
Home...

Such a loaded word...or idea really. The idea of home sends me into topsy turvy spins today. Home is where my husband is most of the wonderful time, but then I have a chance to be with my family; specifically my mother and the idea of home grows complicated. I know I'm a big girl now and I'm married...doing adultish things and all, but I am a quintessential mama's girl through and through.

Mark and I journeyed to Middle Earth this past weekend to visit my family. My parents wanted to introduce Mark to the fam the Kansas City way (by throwing us a BBQ bash.) It was awesome in theory. My mom makes THE best brisket on the planet. I invited friends from my high school hometown; my parents invited the family who couldn't come to the wedding and BOOM we had a bash. Except so many things didn't go as planned on that trip. There were so many heartaches...so many stories that pulled me out of my mama's arms...there was even a trip to the hospital to visit an uncle who had been in a horrible wreck. It was necessary family call to actions, but it meant that I had only hours with my mom instead of days. When our time was up and it was time to hit the road I turned to Mark with panic and said, "I didn't get to get a picture with my mom!" And then the tears splooged out. All the emotions of the weekend...realizing I wasn't going to see my mom for a long time...well it was just too much.

Life's been hard. I've dealt with some crazy feminine energy guffaws that require my mom's wisdom...her kindness and her ability to heal any word wounds. I've needed that particular home. I've been craving it something fierce and as I sit in my own place; listening to my husband scurry about upstairs unpacking our things I cry a little bit more. I left home almost nine years ago and made a new one for myself, but there's still a little girl inside me that needs her mom.

My mom is the calm. She's light and joy...if you're lucky enough to receive her guidance at any point in your life you take it and you honor it. I know I had to move out to LA for acting. I knew I had to be here, but believe me when I say leaving her was damn hard. There's a lot of pressure I've created for myself. I frequently remind myself that I have to make that move worth it...that I have to make something of this distance and this dream of mine. It has to be worth it because being away from her is getting harder and harder.

I may have a meeting with a producer this week. I'm willing all the magic in the world to pool in my favor and make that happen. It's crazy logic, but I hope that moving away will someday result in me having the means to come home whenever I need to.

All that to say I've got two homes and I'm happiest when they're in the same time zone.

Friend of Your Mind

5.20.2014


BELOVED

by Toni Morrison
“She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

Don't you just love those book passages that ooze into our spirits like molasses?...sticky and all encompassing; not a crevice or crack ignored. Toni Morrison's idea of a friend seeped into my cracks and warmed my spirit up with some kind of sweetness. 

I love the idea of a woman who is a friend of your mind...someone who understands your spirit...then learns your spirit and then honors your beloved spirit with honesty and kindness. I can get down with that definition. I'm currently reading two books right now: Mindy Kaling's, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and an acting book that's supposed to help me learn how to manage myself. (sarcastic doubt) The two couldn't be any more different, but the one thing they do share are definitions of friendship. Everything my eyeballs rest upon today is about friendship. It's a bit spooky how persistent the universe is. She first whispers. If you don't listen then you get a couple of loud shouts. I try not to push her past that. Kaling layed out the rules of friendship which I adored and will now share with you.


The abridged list of Mindy-isms:

  • Clothes can be borrowed.
  • We sleep in the same bed. I loved this one because it's so true. "How else will we talk until we fall asleep?"
  • Be honest about how you look but be gentle.
  • I can ditch you, within reason. This one's a hard slap of reality but necessary. She ends with, "In return, I need to talk about you a lot with that guy so he knows how much I love you."
  • I will take care of your kid if you die. 
  • I will nurse you back to help.
  • I will keep products at my home for you for when you visit. She discusses pads and contact solution...I would add workout clothes, a shower sponge and wine to this list.
  • I will try to like your boyfriend five times. I got lucky. I actually adore my friends' mates, but that wasn't always the case so yeah...gotta stay on the list.
  • When I take a shower at your place I won't drop the towel on the floor. Some of these are eerily paralleling the movie Beaches, no?
  • If you're depressed, I will be there for you. "I will not abandon you." Not gonna lie. I teared up on that one.
  • I will hate and re-like people for you. ONLY true friends will get this lol...and do it wholeheartedly for you. 
  • No two people are better than us. She ends the chapter on this note. 

It was a cute and real list. Toni's is still the one that speaks to me the most, but I laughed the good laugh while reading Mindy's...which is a big fat duh being that she wrote for The Office. She's contractually required to make me laugh.

So yes, the Universe spoke and I listened. I continue to listen...

We Only Get What We Give

5.15.2014
Never were there more true lyrics in a song.

Jen and I recently picked back up a tradition we had done for years; we begin each morning by listing three things we're grateful for. One of yesterday's gratitudes came in the form of an aha moment about jealousy. I had previously watched one of Mastin's Daily Love videos about jealousy. What it is and how you can turn it into something positive.

Light bulbs went off. Triumphant music blared and my world aligned. I have been harboring a lot of pain and suffering. The root of the pain: good ole jealousy. So using Mastin's logic I figured out what I was jealous of specifically and how I could get that on my own. It was a life changing moment. My soul released a heavy sigh of relief and something shifted. The aha moment.

The culprit? Why friendships of course...I was upset that people I no longer talk to had won my friendships in our divorces. I was so stuck on their friendships...but after the aha moment I took a hard look at why I was jealous. I wanted my friendships to be as solid and fulfilled. I wanted the joy and happiness that comes from my pals and mother effin DUH--I already have friendships...that bring me joy and happiness. I stopped at that moment and made a mental list of all the wonderful people who have blessed my life and made a note to start honoring and nurturing the folks who want to be around.

I'm usually a smart chick. It's a bit surprising (even for me) that it took this long to figure out.

My best gal pal, Jen made this abundantly easy to grasp and implement, by the way. Homegirl is ROCKING at her business right now. She's the CEO of Fit Bottomed Girls. Her and her awesome business partner, Erin, wrote a book that was published and released this month. It is SO unbelievably hard to get published AND to get that gift from Random House Publishing??! You have to be pretty damn awesome. It's mind boggling actually. Her successes are like a storybook come true: you work hard and your dreams come true.

So here's where she helped me practice....I looked at her recent successes. She's been on TV this week promoting the book. I took an honest look at all of the wonderful things going on in her life and I asked myself if I was jealous. It would have been a totally human thing for me to do...be jealous of her...but I wasn't and I'm not.

Realizing this made me smile. True friendship is about honoring and lifting up the ones you love. There's no place for jealousy in our relationship. My admiration takes up all the room! She's worked so hard for all of this. She knows her ish! She's worked hard for her ish! Watching her maneuver through this new world she's manifested for herself is perfectly lovely to see from the sidelines. She's got talents that are far from my grasps and dreams and this is totally something I accept and love about us.

Friendship checks are essential...to check in mentally from time to time and make sure you're in the relationship for the right reasons... Still proud of us and what we've built...why we're in it together...who we are and why we are. Powerful (sometimes scary) questions, but they keep things real.

So yeah. I'm just gonna keep honoring and appreciating the friendships I have and stick to my own lawn...tend to my own grass. I'm going to stop fighting the green-eyed monster and start looking at jealous feelings as calls of action. I've turned a page...THANK GOD. I seriously couldn't handle anymore of the crap I was stewing in.

My light has returned. I thank my friends for helping me find it.


Belle: A Q and A with Gugu Mbatha-Raw

5.13.2014
I was fortunate enough to attend a special screening of the film, Belle over the weekend that included a Question and Answer with the star of the film, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. 

I've been in Los Angeles for almost nine years now and I still geek out every time I have the opportunity to partake in such things. We are given the opportunity to sit with directors, writers and actors often and you don't have to be in the entertainment business, either. Brilliant magic I tell ya...

So back to the film. Belle is the true story of a biracial aristocrat woman. I won't include any spoilers, because you really should see this film. I'll simply say I wept a lot while watching because it was the first time I had ever saw a biracial-based story on film. Don't get it twisted. I know there have been many biracial women actors, but we've never had stories created for us. I didn't even know we had history like this...that we existed in this aspect. We're the tragic mulatta. We're white. We're black. We're other (meaning we just kind of become raceless in the movie...our multi-ness is never discussed.) Our experience with being mixed and what that means is never discussed. 

Then this film comes along and shows us that we were more than tragic. We have a sister who was going through the same things we go through today. It was a crazy sensory overload. I immediately connected to Dido Belle and the actor who played her, Gugu. Like stalking, crazed mad connections. I want to be best friends with her. I want to play her sister in her next film. I want to be Gugu's pal. 

After the film ended the lights came up and it was time for questions. I was the first (and most eager) person to raise my hand. I didn't even think I'd have questions. I mean I joked beforehand that I would totally ask her how she got into the business because I could use some help. (For the record: never ask an actor this question in this type of forum.) But then a real question came and I was raising my hand and the bloke holding the mic was pointing to me. Yes, I mucked it up. I cried and choked a bit. Probably embarrassed the stuffings out of my gal pal and my husband, but what can ya do. I thanked Gugu for bringing Dido to us. I then told her how strongly I had connected to Dido's spirit and struggles. I asked her what pivotal moment or line had connected her to her character. I captured her answer on video. (Sorry for the blurriness. I almost forgot to hit play so be thankful there's audio at all!) 


...and my heart exploded open. 



Gugu Mbatha-Raw, biracial, mixed girls, film, Belle, Dido

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, belle, theater, film

The N Word in Hollywood: Are The Laughs Worth It?

5.10.2014
Yesterday my husband and I went and watched The Neighbors. I had been geeking to see it for a couple of weeks. Seth Rogan makes me snort laugh. That movie was getting watched! (Passive writing totally warranted.) We got our awesome Neighbors-themed drinks and settled down to laugh and enjoy...and we did. We were laughing through the whole thing...until one of the actors impersonated Obama and ended his adorable bit with the N word.

The ENTIRE theater gasped. Yes, they gasped because it was totally out of left field. It made absolutely not a lick of sense, but it was fast and fleeting. Another joke came up. I twitched but figured it was a fluke and laughed along at the next joke. I was gonna let it slide.Then the dude said it AGAIN in a later scene and I was done. This time the audience laughed and I shrank. It ruined the whole experience. I left the theater feeling uneasy and furious. 

I'm so frustrated. I just want to know why the filmmaker allowed that word to make the cut. 

How do you get someone to understand the magnitude of that word? How do you convey that it packs an obscene amount of hate...even if you say it with a smile? It is NOT a term of endearment. It is not okay to use.

Whenever I hear the word I immediately flash back to being a small kid. I was playing with my friends and a white little boy screamed the word at me...told me to shut up and then BAM! He hit me with the hate. I was young, but I still remember how I felt hearing that word. I felt less than. I felt powerless and beat. Demeaned and even worse my white best friend sat by and said nothing so I felt alone. 

Back then I had no one to tell. No one understood and I didn't know there were others who felt the way I did. Now it's different. Now I have the interwebs so I took it to Twitter. I expressed my disdain for hearing the word. I didn't expect a response because no one wants to take responsibility and apologize for offending someone who isn't large enough to matter. I'm a no one...who cares what I think, right? But not even a minute later I get a notification that actor who had said the N word in the movie "favorited" my tweet. He was mocking me. I looked up from my phone; stared at my husband and started tearing up and the memory of the little girl being yelled at by the racist white boy back in Texas came flooding back in. By favoriting that tweet he was letting me know that he didn't care what that word did to me or like-minded folks like me. 

So I'm calling him out. I'm speaking up. I hope more people do the same. If people do...if they refuse to financially support that film and the writers maybe they'll learn that it's not okay and we won't just get over it. There are certain lines we shouldn't cross. The N Word isn't okay to use. I don't understand how people ignore that word's legacy. Are the laughs worth it?  

If you haven't seen the movie, please don't. Don't condone their thoughtless insensitive script. Don't support the bully actor who thought it was funny. Don't support the hate. The Clippers owner has been all over the news for his racist remarks. The same finger now needs to point at the gatekeepers in Hollywood.

Films are powerful. They have the ability to move and inspire us. Unfortunately, I went in thinking I'd get a great laugh and come away feeling a little lighter and goofier. I assumed the film would inspire some laughs. Instead I've felt like crap ever since. There are all of these actors doing terrible things right now and people are looking the other way. We need to stop looking the other way. It may not offend you today, but who knows what fowl slurs will come up next time.

I have no idea how to shake this off. I keep writing to friends who I know have the words and understanding. Words that I don't. I don't have smart comebacks. I just get angry and cry. (Not the way you fight the bully.) Even worse, I feel like I just have to let it go...somehow get over it because no one seems to really care that he said it. I'm not optimistic. That ignorant man's words counted for so much; mine for so little. People just shrug their shoulders and say, "Well not much can be done." The nuclear bomb of racial epithets was dropped. I'm searching for someone...ANYONE who cares about the impact.



The Neighbors , N word, Racial epithet, racial slur, Hollywood, Racists, Twitter, Ike Barinholtz

Dear Ms. Universe (The All Powerful, Not The Pageant Queen)

5.09.2014
Yesterday I posted this on the interwebs for the Universe to see. I know She totally has a facebook and twitter so... It was a goon-given duh.

A wise woman told me once that if I need something I should ask the Universe and She will send the help...here goes...I need to find an amazing screenwriter to become my bestie for a bit. I have an idea for a film that I need to be in and since no one else is hopping on the Tishy Train it's time I built one that people will want to ride. Okay that sounded vaguely filthy, but try to stay with me. Screenwriter. Amazing.Trustworthy since I'll be giving them THE best gift EVER and they can't screw me out of playing this woman.  Okay, that's all. Thank you for your time, Universe.

So...yeah. I'm putting that out there. I totally floated out that message with love and gusto! Now I'm waiting on the beach for the awesome person who finds my endearing little message in a bottle. This will work, dang it!




Jealous

5.08.2014



I'm just jealous / I'm just human / Don't hate me...

Yesterday I spent the whole day being jealous of the great Bey...

I bought the album back on that infamous Friday the 13th it was released, but it's taken me this long to sit down and just watch all of her videos back-to-back. The artistic explosions she called music videos are frickin' mind blowing. I developed some serious aspirations: using your talents to the umpteenth most power came to mind. I don't even know what that kind of power would feel like. To be able to put it out there that you want to create these beautiful films (because that's what they are; let's keep it real.) and have all of these mega talented directors come to the table (whilst salivating) is a foreign concept. I wanna be like Beyonce when I grow up!

Sometimes I read my horoscopes and grow terrified. Supposedly I'm supposed to already be delighting in the fruits of my creative labors, but here I sit...at my home...not being Beyonce-like. I wonder if I pulled one of those Sliding Doors scenarios. You know, I missed the train door seconds too late and it sent me off on a completely different path. Sometimes I'll be walking by someone and I'll have this crazy sense that we knew each other in a past life or were supposed to know each other...

It's hard to explain, but I clearly saw my life as an actor when I was super small. It felt super duper real and makes it hard (super duper hard) to recognize and accept the life of right now. Now all the smart ones reading this will instantly sound the warning alarms because smart ones know that comparing and fighting what is, is a no-no.

...Doesn't stop me from feeling uneasy and frightened that I'm walking the wrong path somehow. When I get on the correct one I'll let y'all know. Stumbling and learning...dreaming and attempting to control the fire burning in my belly.

Current songs of the Queen's playing in my head:

XO

Drunk in Love

Jealous

Heaven

Beyonce, Drunk in Love, Jealous, acting aspirations, dreams, hopes, sliding doors, aspiring actor


Headless Chicken

5.07.2014
...That's what I am right now...A headless chicken running around in exhausting circles trying to figure out where acting's allusive door is.

Lately I've been in the worst kind of funk a dreamer can find themselves in: the doubtful kind.

I'm working in a job that is HELLA boring and offers no real challenges...no interactions...no inspiration. Then to top it off acting is pretty much going nowhere. I haven't had an audition in a long time and haven't booked in an even longer time so I'm getting scared and a wee bit desperate.

Folks who are working have recommended books, new head shots, workshops...so I've picked up a book. I'm researching the new head shots and workshop bits and I'm slowly plucking my hairs out in quiet frustration.

I'm supposed to figure out what type of actor I am. At this point I just want to be a working one. (Ain't too proud to beg!) I get all of these different messages: follow every other successful actor's path. Don't follow every other actor's path....

I told you I'm running in circles...circles upon circles because some are telling me to run clockwise and then another person comes along and tells me I've been running the wrong way for years.

Breathe, Tish.

I'm so terrified that it will never happen. I never accounted for that actually. I never had a plan b for when I didn't make it...so even thinking that way has me terrified and stressed and freaked the EFF OUT.

The life of a wannabe actor...I'm sick to the ultimate death of that cliched place of being. I need some miracles, magic and hope STAT!



(The wine can only appease me for so long.)

Cinco de Mama

5.05.2014

Growing up I always thought there was a crazy amount of folks celebrating with my Mo for her birthday. We grew up in Texas...THE place to be for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but I never put the two together. I just knew my mother was kind of great and it made sense that everyone would want to sing along; margaritas in hand. Now that I'm grown a wee bit smarter the day has been renamed. Cinco de Mama is a big day and this year I wanted to really drive home the fact that I think she's swell. That in mind I thought it might be snazzy to collect memories of her. I started in January asking her friends and family to send me one memory each. I placed each memory in its own blue hued envelope and marked each one with a number. 

It was such a great and fun project...Some of the memories came to me sealed, but if they weren't I totally read those bad boys like the nosy rosy that I am and BAWLED some kind of ugly over how loved and respected the Great Sue is. 

She's the resident Medicine Woman. (Step over Dr. Quinn!) She's magic...She's kind and goofy and I'm proud to say I get my zany energy and passion for life from her. 

If I could I'd give that woman the moon and stars, but she's totally low maintenance when it comes to everything so it probably wouldn't fly. I could see her calling me a heifa and ask me to put them back....THE hardest woman to shop for, let me tell ya. I laugh at bloggers' attempts at mom gift suggestions. You can't get my mom anything girly. Purses, perfumes, jewelry...she'd look at you like a monkey wearing a sombrero was clawing its way out of your butt.  Yeah...it couldn't be traditional mom gifts. This year it had to be personal and touching AND non gender specific. It had to be memories...

I love you, dearest Mo. I'm glad you were born. I'm glad I get to be your daughter. Thank you for making this world a more Sue-tastic place! Happy Cinco de Mama! 

Do a shot of tequila for the gal! It's Paleo and I hear there's some other holiday being celebrated today It's a win (cubed) situation.

Put The Book Down!

5.02.2014
I feel the need to toot my gangsta horn for a moment. I started a book; got a couple pages in and learned it was about a subject matter that makes me unbelievably sad so I returned it to the library without finishing it.

I know....

Hide your kids! A girl name Tish is out there doing wild and crazy things with books!

I'm the worst kind of reader. I'll hate a book, but feel like I have to finish the damn thing. I don't know where that need to read comes from, but it sucks up so much awful time. Time I don't have! So I made a promise to myself that I would stop bad books in their tracks.

On to the next book!

If you suffer from the same predicament that I do put the book down! I'll give you some great ones that will make up for the bad. You don't have to read crappy literature, folks!




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