“I’m gonna take a deep breath.
Gonna hold my head up.
Gonna put my shoulders back,
And look you straight in the eye.
I’m gonna flirt with somebody
When they walk by.
I’m gonna sing out . . .
On this day, three years ago, someone who I thought was a friend did something awful. About a month after I moved to Raleigh, before July 23rd I found myself newly single because my ex couldn’t take the drama anymore associated with my job. Then on the evening of July 23rd, 2013, I found out on Facebook fan page that I was now unemployed after a month long of silence and dealing with a gag order placed on me, taking the brunt of some God awful online bullying, and thousands of miles away from any support system I had. I thought my life was completely ruined. I was sitting alone in an apartment full of boxes and I couldn’t stop crying. After taking phone calls from people checking on me, I had to pick myself off the floor. Music had always been a form of therapy, and the first song I found myself listened to was “I’m Here” from The Color Purple. In the midst of my tears, I told myself that I would get through this and be a stronger person from the experience. I was at my lowest point. My mother came into town within a day to help me through it. I cried every day over the whole ordeal for a good 6 months. I gained weight. I nearly gave up on myself.
Well, it’s taken about three years, but I’m finally okay. After losing that job, getting publicly mocked and slandered on Twitter by grown adults, becoming nearly homeless, and having people who SWORE to be my friend turn their backs on me, it ended up being the best damn thing that ever happened to me. It was in that moment that I made the decision to continue to work on my book, and take it one day at a time. Things were so bad that I considered suicide. But for my mother’s sake, I made a promise to just take it one day at a time and find an outlet to work through the feelings of pain, betrayal, confusion, and self-loathing. Had I not worked on that book, The Haunted Actor, I wouldn’t have become a published author with The Haunting of the Tenth Avenue Theater. I wouldn’t have met the incredible people from the con scene, and I wouldn’t have met the incredible women who make up my team in NC. I lost a lot on July 23, 2013, but I have gained so much since then. I never thought I could live off of full-time writing, but it has happened. I never thought I could find love again, but it has happened. I never thought I would be living off of my passion for theatre, but it has happened.
“I believe I have inside of me
Everything that i need to live a bountiful life.
With all the love alive in me
I’ll stand as tall as the tallest tree.
And I’m thankful for everyday that I’m given,
Both the easy and hard ones I’m livin'”
Was the journey easy? No. I lost my mother about a year and a half ago. My mother was my biggest cheerleader, and I still feel the void every day. It’s not getting any easier, I’ve become more accustomed to the loss and getting used to it.
On Saturday night, July 23rd, 2016, I got to see The Color Purple on Broadway. It feels like this chapter of my life has come full circle, and now I’m celebrating. As I watched Danielle Brooks rock it as Sofia, Cynthia Ervio sing her heart out and receive standing ovations, and Heather Headley (a Broadway legend) sing within a few feet from me, I thought about a lyric from the show, “Look what God has done…” and savored every minute of it. Then, tonight, I’ll be seeing Hamilton, which has become a show that has meant so much to me. Hamilton has really hit it home for me that we have a limited time here, and I need to do something big to positively impact the world around me. Whether it’s telling the stories of people around me through writing and acting, or helping those less fortunate through volunteer work and donating to charity, the story I want to leave behind holds love, truth, friendship, and family.
For the first time in three years, I can afford to go on not just one, but several vacations. I’m back on track with my student loans, if not better than before. My income is better than it ever has been before. My team is doing great, and overall, things are so wonderful. Had I not had that devastating moment three years ago, I wouldn’t have the incredible blessings that I have today. I’ve learned a lot, cried a lot, bled a lot…well, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve made so many new friends and have a family here in NC. From my team members; Beth, Amy, Maeve, Amanda, to the theatre community, they have all blessed my life so much.
If you’re going through an awful time right now, while it may not seem like it, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve also learned that the people who try to work against you finally get their comeuppance. You may not like the timing, but it eventually happens. The universe has a way of evening things out to restore balance.
“But most of all
I’m thankful for
Loving who i really am.
Yes, I’m beautiful,
And I’m here”