Thursday, October 18, 2012


(Music can capture my feelings in ways words alone can never fully express.)

I spoke to mum today. I am happy to report she is doing much much better. This has been the most stressful time of my life, par none. I cannot imagine what she was feeling.

Michael (bro), Andrea (sis), Mum, Me and Cecil (bro)
I never allowed myself to truly think of what life would be like without mum but this situation forced me to face it head on. I learned a great deal about myself and the importance of my family. I always loved my mum and siblings but the depth of those family ties are so much more palpable. In some strange way, I feel as if my sense of self has been altered. What this new self will be like remains to be seen.

For the first time today I could hear mum sound like herself. She still has pain but I truly believe her stronger nature has returned and she is firmly on the road to recovery. I have been calling her every day at least once a day. Today I caught her just before she was preparing to move from her hospital to a physical therapy center. No, she is not going home yet. However, if she is strong enough to start therapy that can only be a good sign. It turns out she has a compound fracture, re-injuring her spine. Her physical therapy will clearly be no joke but I have faith she will make it through. I told her she better channel her inner Wonder Woman and get her exercise on! She laughed and promised to give it her all. She may be 85 but my mum is a fighter.

I will not lie. I have been an emotional wreck through all of this. I decided to simply feel whatever came up and focus on the "knowingness" that good news was inevitable.

Today I took my first real deep breath. Life teaches you lessons whether you are prepared for it or not. I am so grateful I have more time to appreciate and celebrate the cherished gift of family that is very easy to take for granted as we go about the challenges of daily living.   

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bought Ticket: Flying Home For Christmas!

Barring global catastrophe as predicted for December 21, 2012, I will be heading home to Philadelphia for Christmas.

Crises have a way of putting things into perspective. Wednesday evening, when my mum was going through the worst period of her recovery, her heavy medication got her feeling reflective. She was so appreciative of the love she felt pouring in from her children, family and friends that she started reviewing her life and role as a mother. She expressed how proud she was of us as her children and how she was happy knowing she did a good job raising caring people. I tried listening quietly but in truth I was muffling an overwhelming flood of tears. It is a bit mind crushing to be sitting 3,000 miles from your family as your mum starts talking as if she were on her death bed. Mum then began talking about how much she has been thinking of her own father who had passed before I was born. It was the most heart wrenching conversation of my entire life. Luckily my sister was in the room with her to remind mum that she was not dying and that she needed to focus on getting better.

I hung up the phone and spent the rest of the night reflecting upon my life. I felt something primal taking hold. I was aware of being the first American born child in an immigrant family. I felt the unspoken obligation to carry my family name forward with pride and integrity. I felt this family obligation to live my best life because they immigrated here to have a better life and whatever I do will reflect on the family. I personally felt an obligation to work harder at succeeding as an actor. Living so far away pursuing this dream career that is difficult to break into at best, as a son puts a greater responsibility onto my siblings to make up the slack for my absence especially now as mum is in her 80's. None of these things were spoken to me. I guess they come from my own sense of what I feel is a family's obligation to itself. I think in all actuality, I realized I had certain dreams of success that would allow me to take care of my mum or bring her as my date to an awards ceremony, or something anything that allowed me to thank her in a BIG way for all she has done for me.

Thank goodness, my mum is recovering and  will hopefully be sent home to recover on Wednesday. I am looking at this situation as a wake up call. It is so important to life fully, spend time with those you love and life with as few regrets as possible.

Thursday, I bought myself airline tickets through I am so looking forward to going home!! I let mum know and she was excited. It has been two years and weekly phone calls can't replace a good hug.

This has been an incredibly emotional time. I am completely exhausted. Yet... I am so happy I have more time to spend with my mum.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Little Classic Philly Soul: "I'll Always Love My Mama" by The Intruders

This song reminds me of my childhood. I would flip on the radio to WDAS-FM and all became right with the world.  This is Classic Philly Soul, so you know I heard this all the time growing up in the "City of Brotherly Love".

It is funny how crises, no matter how small,  have the unique ability of reminding you what is truly important.

Hurry Up And Wait...

A youthful Mum back in Guyana.
Spoke to Mum this morning. She sounds a bit tired but in good spirits. They started running "tests" this morning. "Tests". How ambiguous can you get? I am not the best when it comes to waiting especially when it comes to anything concerning my mum!

She is a strong, strong woman but it is a challenge to hear her sound so tired. She never fails, though, to make me laugh. She was whispering a complaint about the "bloody woman in the bed next to her keeping her up all night". She then proceeded to apologize for cussing. I thought if "bloody" is the worse thing she can think of to cuss about someone, she doesn't need to worry too much.

We laughed and I promised to tape the episodes "General Hospital" and tell her what is happening in Port Charles. The lady loves her soaps. She considered getting a tv set in the room but felt it was simply a waste of good money. Mum will always be mum! :)

Mum living it up in Philly
Writing about this helps me a great deal. I have been going out of my bloody mind worrying about what I the unknown. I quickly realized there is no value in traveling that road. It is just a challenge. Once again the downside of living 3,000 some odd miles away from my family is my very active imagination kicks in because I'm here and they are there. So... I write... post pics of mum and slowly I feel better.

Positive vibes. That's what it is all about.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mum In The Hospital and I am Stuck Here.

I started to write about a completely different subject than this. However, I just got a text from my niece that my 85 year old mum is in the hospital. She got dizzy and fell down pretty hard in our family home. She was apparently on the floor for about 3 hours before my sister arrived. My sister called last night to check on mum and she didn't answer. Mum heard her voice on the phone and crawled to the phone and was able to call my sister who lives across town.

Luckily my mum is doing well. When my sister got there she told my mum she called for an ambulance. Mum immediately asked for lip stick and a nice head wrap to cover her hair so she looked presentable when the ambulance arrived. 

Thank God, mum didn't sustain any damage from the fall. She is sore and having trouble walking so she has to stay in the hospital until they figure out why she is having dizzy spells. They think it might be something called "syncopy". I have no idea what it is. Nevertheless she is being held for tests.

My mum was a nurse at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital for years so she is handling things better than her children. My brother Cecil is gonna be relentless now about her moving in with him in Dover, Delaware. She prefers remaining in our family home in Philly and even this mishap will not derail her determination to remain independent. As long as she can get around she will not be moving no matter what we say. I respect that.

It is a very overwhelmingly powerless feeling to be across the country when a family crisis surfaces. I sense that they are talking to me straight and not trying to spare my feelings so I am trying not to worry. It is just frustrating not being there. The fact that I have next to no money makes hopping on a plane impossible. I will however, do everything I can to get the money for a plane trip home for Christmas.

I don't like thinking of life without mum so I will not engage in "fear" thinking now. She is the strongest woman I know. I know she will be fine. It is just difficult to imagine your parents aren't immortal. I just need to remain positive, send positive vibes my mum's way and I know she will be back on her feet in no time!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Keeping Big Bird Safe...

Of all the things that resonated for me with all of the "substance" of the first Presidential Debate is the risk to de-funding PBS if Romney becomes President.

Yes, I know there are bigger issues at stake. However, I feel like there is something that has to be said for placing a value as a nation on the encouragement of education, culture, unbiased news coverage, Charlie Rose, Masterpiece Theater, Nova, Frontline, Sesame Street and unparalleled documentaries that will be lost to even one city in this country.

I think politics is important but have we really drifted so far apart as a people that we can't come together on some agreement of what is a "sacred cow" and should be supported? How are there banking institutions deemed too big to fail but "Sesame Street" that instills values and educational inspiration to our nation's children not worth keeping available to all?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Bigger The Obstacle, The Bigger The Opportunity

I have a very good friend who is a very big pain in the butt! He has a habit of amusing himself by pushing at peoples' buttons under the quiese of "humor". He does it with everyone. Add in the fact he is a bit A.D.D., the combination can make him appear like an insensitive jerk who drives you CRAZY in a seemingly unending fashion. In my current state of nicotine detoxification, I quickly reached my saturation level with his humor.

Last night we had it out. What started out as a rational discussion got heated like two lions engaged in a "verbal" battle for dominance. We put it all out there. Eventually, we agreed to disagree and decided to start fresh..

I let his apartment because I was meeting another friend who was gonna help me with an audition I had this afternoon. I was in such a state, I could not get myself focused so my head was in the game professionally.

When I got home I was still fuming that my close friend felt I am always overreacting while I felt he needed to learn when to stop pushing people's buttons when it is clearly bothering them. They are called "buttons" for a reason, push them enough and you are playing with fire.. This has been the one issue we continued to have with one another for years.

Frustrated that I allowed this situation to affect my rehearsal, I decided to take a step back and address why I was still angry after agreeing to a fresh start. I don't believe in accidents or coincidence. Clearly this was all happening over and over for a reason.

I decided to say okay... if I AM overreacting, what is the lesson the Universe is trying to tell me? What am I resisting learning that my friend is unknowingly providing me the opportunity to see about myself? I was suddenly reminded of my "light bulb" moment of a few weeks ago!

I took things out of the personal and saw that I was not "living my beliefs". If I believe that you create your life through your thinking and the only thing you have control over is how you think about something, than I am actually giving over my power to the whims of others.

No one can affect your joy unless you let them. I can't change him. I can only change me. I was trying to make him stop "pushing my buttons". I should be focusing on why I am choosing to let his words trigger me rather than see his actions as a reflection of his issues. not mine.  This is easier said than done, but it is completely do-able.

The Universe gave me a gift and I am taking it.

I am not saying I accept or condone my friend's choices but those are his to make. My choice is to keep my head focused on my path, not anyone else's. When my buttons got pushed, I got stuck in trying to be right rather than happy.

I decided to choose HAPPY. 

It was like a cure for toxic poisoning. My mind stopped obsessing and I was finally able to seriously work on my audition piece.

The audition itself, another journey to a new casting director over at the Paramount Studios lot, was fun and better than I could have hoped for.

My priorities are now getting in order. Another veil of nicotine avoidance removed. I was stuffing my emotions down with nicotine, blinding me to a lesson I still needed to address that will not only help me as a person and an artist..  

This road I am on is filled with many obstacles and potential roadblocks. Personally. Professionally.. Mentally. Today, I have cleared years worth of baggage from my "trunk of emotional debris". Dare I say, I have a lighter load and a better sense of my own power to direct my course?

In a manner of speaking, I have stopped being a passenger and became the driver of my life.

I guess there is value in living your belief system. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Making Progress One Tuesday At A Time

One of the best investments I have made is involving myself with an acting group. We meet every Tuesday and work on scenes from a particular film, one semester at a time with the intent to improve our skills. I have been a part of this group for a little over three years.

Learning through the experience of performing on a job is invaluable. However, having a space where you can take creative risks and dare to fail without risking your job is what makes my Tuesday night investment worth it.

Last night, I felt like I had a mini break thru. I felt that magic feeling of connecting with the character and I felt a degree of focus I hadn't felt before. I jumped of the creative cliff without a net and lived to see another day! These are the moments I live for. There is nothing more fulfilling than feeling "creative connection" with a character in a viseral way.

It is important to celebrate all of life's victories in whatever form they take.

Life is great!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Focusing On My Craft

Tonight is my regular Tuesday night acting class. We are working on a scene from "Things We Lost In The Fire". I am playing "Jerry" the recovering heroine addict played by Benicio Del Toro.

I am sure working on this scene had some influence in encouraging me to quit smoking. This is a good thing, I suppose. However, the reality of dealing with the physical/mental dimensions of withdrawal seem somewhat more intensified as I use my current feelings in connecting myself with the role. I guess this is my version of a "Method" approach to bringing the character to life.

Ahh... the things one does to improve one's craft. Going through nicotine withdrawal is, I am certain, better than trying heroine! Haha! I will never be that "method" in my work.

I have been sipping gallons of green tea to help detox. It is definitely a mental challenge to stay focused but I see it as making lemonade out of lemons! 

With a little luck, my work tonight will be focused enough to allow for creative growth!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Season Five/Final Season of "Fringe" Begins

The fifth and FINAL Season of the Fox series "Fringe" has arrived.

I missed the first episode but I will have the chance to catch up on that next Saturday when it is available on This is my favorite show. I wish I could have performed on it but alas.... Such is life! :)

I find the stories very creative, engaging and fun to see where it will go. John Noble is a revelation in his role as "Walter Bishop"  It is sad to imagine this series coming to an end but I will watch every episode to enjoy the ride while I can.

Finding My New Normal

I guess in retrospect it is a bit stupid to think at these early stages of living smoke-free that I would get by with only one post on the subject. I am discovering just how much I have used smoking as a tool to suppress my feelings. Ultimately, all I am doing is building myself an emotional prison.

Yes, smoking has helped take the edge off of a lousy audition but it has also been how I have allowed myself to accept toxic relationships. Now, it is almost impossible to put up with anything requiring a degree of patience on my part. Perhaps, in time, my patience will improve. At present, I have no patience whatsoever. I am attempting to give situations a "grace period" in terms of making major decisions at this time because I have yet to find my "new normal". The only thing I know for sure is that I would rather deal with my feelings as they come up rather than let them eat me up while I pretend things are fine. The question is how do I get to that place of balance?

I may need to stay in hibernation for a bit longer.

On Friday, I had a friend call me and let's just say he chose the wrong day to be an asshole to me. I was so overwhelmingly "PISSED OFF"! I expressed myself fully. It was not pretty. I would say I was overreacting but this friend enjoys pushing my buttons. I finally decided that I no longer have any interest in accepting toxic behavior from anyone I call my friend at anytime. If this friend gets it, than we can stay friends. If not then life goes on. I may be feeling things more intensely at the moment but this fact does not change. 

"You teach people how they treat you."