I belong to a church that is based in the performing arts and my career is constantly validated by the 85% who belong to the same industry. The challenges of being a faith based woman is that the majority of my friends and associates are progressive and wary of religion of any sort. It's not like I can't understand on some level. The latest stories representing people of faith have been less than flattering bordering on lunatics. Every time I hear someone says how this climate change is the fault of homosexuality, I just have to find a place to pray for strength.
My faith is tested regularly and I struggle sometimes even sitting in church. There are members in my church who's faith seems to withstand Hurricane Sandy and there are times I feel I fall short on the ability to believe monitor. This monitor of course, is all in my head there is no competition and everyone's spiritual journey is their own. There always those that believe they know the right way to salvation but of course that is ridiculous. If you are of the Christian faith, the Bible provides a road map but how we read that map can be different for each person and how that maps directs you is based on what you view as east, west, north or south.
I have always been of the mindset , we don't have to share the same Faith but you have to believe in something greater than yourself or science. I have had very strong feelings for two men who were Muslim and someone who was "spiritual". I do believe if you are a person of faith, its crapola that you can just feel your way through your spiritual development. If we can take the time to study for our career, how to drive a car or how to manage our money, how can we give any less to the protection of our spiritual health. I feel that is just an easy way out of having to be responsible and face your own inner challenges. Your study may not look like everybody else's but it worth some effort on your part.
My hope is that my Faith will be like steel, that I will be able to rely on it like a well oiled muscle and it will silence the constant fear and doubt that plague me at times. The struggle of being political progressive and spiritually focused is real and it creates such division amongst many of the people I know. Not being able to mix company and it seems like I have two lives. The irony is, my political commitment is fueled by my spiritual commitment. It is the responsibility I feel to contribute to the world, to walk in the path that the Divine has paved for us. If I didn't feel that spiritual responsibility, I would never have the energy or desire to see things through. I don't receive financial rewards and many times I feel like an outsider at these political outings. The sting of classism and racism still permeates even the places that are looking to create a "better tomorrow". I sometimes go to phone banks, where I am merely tolerated or just not seen or rally's where I am ignored. It doesn't matter, my motivation doesn't come from a need for community but to be anyplace where the work is to create justice for all.
The stronger or deeper my relationship with the Divine, the more I sensitive I am to images and sounds. I am a fan of SVU but I realize that I used to be able to watch marathons, I cant now. Hearing and experiencing painful images of assault and degradation just doesn't sit well with my anymore, it feels wrong. Television shows that rely on insulting or talking rough to one another disturbs me and I cant watch it, songs that degrade someone over and over and again I just cant tolerate. My need for beautiful imagery or thoughtful conversation becomes even stronger. Trust, I can always enjoy sexual imagery but it has to be done in caring way. Even if the result is just for momentary pleasure, there has to be some connection.
I have never enjoyed violence, I don't like action movies but now I cant even watch someone being shot, I have to turn my head. When I was watching 12 Years a Slave, I was practically doing spins in my chair because I had to turn my head so much.
Whatever your spiritual choices, it must and has to change you. It has to deepen whatever is strong within you and bring to light your challenges. I believe that is the purpose of bringing the Divine into your life, your soul, your being is to change you and always for the better.
Just came for an audition that has really done a number on my being...the role was for a blk woman who has a plethora of health problems and her style of communication is a little on the retro side..."Lawd Have Mercy a smaat white boy'', you get the picture. I have no problem with doing a dialect, there is no shame in it, we all have our country cousins. The disturbing element is that it was written by a white woman and it was based in 2013 in the New York City??? In addition I just received notice that an audition that in my heart ,I knew I was made for, had received a call back for...I didn't book but yet here I was sitting at a table for three white auditors doing mammy chat . Outside the audition room, going over the sides, I nearly broke into tears. I had no desire to be there, I couldn't find the email to cancel and the theatre community is too small to just blow off people, it can come back to bite you in the buttackas!
Sitting there in the room, I couldn't bring myself to read in that dialect and that didn't create the best of impressions. It was just an unpleasant experience on both sides of the table.
Walking out of the room, the actor after me had such a pleasant, gentle disposition that I could picture her in the role and she seemed ready and willing. I wish her lucked and left the building.
Now, at my survival job trying to keep myself together, I am faced with the same demons that have plagued me more and more over the past couple of years. How much longer can I continue to stomach these disappointment, failures and heart wrenching experiences. The older we get the deeper those scars penetrate and the weariness just sets in.
I have no resolve and no "positve quips" to make it all better, it is, what it is and there is nothing but to get a Soy Chai Latte from Starbucks after work, and take a walk along the Pier.
I am fortunate, to have a survival gig, that allows me to be late 2hrs because I was at an audition, I am fortunate to know alot of actors who you can share your experience with, I am fortunate to be live in walking distance of the Pier which is a place of reflection and I am fortunate to have a passion that I care so deeply about.
I am aware of the blessings BUT this ache hurts and its real and no amount of deflection will make it disappear, only that real break, that moment when I know the breakthrough has finally appeared...
It has been 50 years since the death of the America's sex goddess, Marilyn Monroe. I have always had a special place in my spirit for Marilyn Monroe because when I was growing up she was the only celebrity who I knew, who had a mother with a mental illness and who thrived. She was an inspiration to me of sorts even with her well-publicized setbacks. When I went to college, I had several of her pictures of her on my wall but no one knew why, I didnt share my family painful experience of mental illness and the damaging effects it has on a family's structure. I assumed people believed I wanted to look like her or I had some great admiration for her. Having a strong sense of pride, while I thought Marilyn was a beautiful woman I had no desire to look like her, though I have emulated some her flirtations, they are effective.
We also shared some other histories in our background, that I won't go into on this post but they gave me a unique understanding of what obstacles she faced and conqured in those short 36 years. The other nite while buying groceries in Fort Greene, I saw a magazine highlighting her death and all her scandals. There is a whole industry created on the "tragedy" that is Marilyn Monroe and she is consistently depicted as this breathless idiot, who couldn't take a step without swallowing a pill for confidence.
I never met Marilyn, would have loved to be but she died long before I was born and all I have to know her by are letters, journal entries, endless documentaries and those beautiful pictures that have stood the test of time.
Knowing and understanding a little of her background, one thing is very clear to me, she was no one's idiot and most definitely no one's victim. You do not survive, a children's home (esp in the 20-30's) prior to children's advocacy, while having no family to support you, being a pretty female w/little education and become one of the biggest stars of all time; without a will of steel. I cant even imagine the situations she endured during her childhood, the sexual misconduct that she had to withstand, the inner fortitude it took to be rejected over and over with no means of emotional support to get to that pinnacle. She was one of the first women to have her own production company, Egg Productions, and she lifted weights when women were not supposed to. She dictated her image, her roles, her leading men and she did not die penniless. When she was fired from her last film, for her own misbehavior she sued, won and recieved a pay hike. She took a small role in All About Eve and translated into her own empire. Her challenges with her husbands is they assumed she was coquettish sex goddess, and she was an ambitious shark who wanted her career and intelligence to be honored as well as her body. As the wife of Arthur Miller, he thought she would be her career on hold for him, he was jealous of her production company but as a woman who had always taken care of herself there was no way she would defer her dreams-not even for him. Marilyn Monroe was a woman ahead of her time, she layed the groundwork for Madonna, Janet, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and on. She illustrated that you can be sexual and ambitious all in the same being. She understood that sexuality is a performance and she was a master at it but it was still just that, a skill not her being. As a woman she struggled to find the person/and or industry that could accept that but they just werent ready. #marilynmonroe #feminism #acting
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.